Gideon Klein: Portrait of a Composer
A theatrical presentation of the life and music of the composer Gideon Klein, written and devised by David Fligg.
On 27 January 1945, the young Czech Jewish composer Gideon Klein was murdered by the SS in an Auschwitz sub-camp. Prior to that, he was imprisoned in the Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp, where he was at the centre of a unique array of musical and cultural activities.
Though his activities there are well documented, little has been known about his life in Prague before the war. Using actors and musicians, Gideon Klein: Portrait of a Composer draws on recently-discovered archival material and personal testimony, much of it never before having been presented in public, to portray, for the first time, his pre-war life. It is an intimate, poignant, and at times humorous account of artistic and Jewish life in Prague immediately before, and during, the German occupation, and of Gideon’s struggles to survive imprisonment.
Portrait of a Composer was premiered in 2016 on Yom Ha’Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) at Hillel, Madison (Wisconsin), as part of the 'Out of the Shadows: Rediscovering Jewish Music and Theatre' festival, and performed in the UK at the 'Out of the Shadows' festival there the following month. In September 2016, as part of the 'Out of the Shadows' festival in the Czech Republic, it was fully staged, directed by Kateřina Iváková, performed by drama students and the Fama Quartet at the Prague Conservatory, where Gideon had studied prior to the war.
As part of the Gideon Klein centenary events in 2019, Portrait of a Composer, in a new dramatisation by Brian Daniels, was performed at Prague's Švandovo divadlo, The Riley Theatre (Leeds), and Berlin's Curt Sachs Hall which was broadcast on German Radio.
Original dramaturgy by Lisa Peschel, and translations by Hana Trojanova.