A Musical Remigration: Schoenberg’s “A Survivor from Warsaw” in Postwar Europe


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars


Blair School of Music


For residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during academic year 2009-2010


Musicologists have just begun to study a crucial component in the reconstruction of European cultural life after World War II: the remigration of musicians who had been in exile, returning in person or in the form of their music. This study adapts remigration models focused on the literal return of individuals and groups to better accommodate musical remigration. Because composers are most significantly present in the aural materiality of their music, and Arnold Schoenberg’s name was synonymous with modernism and its persecution across Europe, his symbolic postwar reappearance via performances of that music was a powerful form of remigration. This project examines that phenomenon via the performance and reception history of Schoenberg’s “A Survivor from Warsaw” in seven European contexts between 1950 and 1961.