Viktor Ullmann - Audiovisual project

Going Digital against oblivion

Tribute to the murdered composer Viktor Ullmann

Viktor Ullmann

75 years ago, the composer Viktor Ullmann was murdered in Auschwitz. The Siemens Arts Program wants to keep alive the memory of Viktor Ullmann, representing numerous artists who were expelled and murdered by the National Socialists. We hope that Ullmann's music will be (re)discovered by many people all over the world. Therefore, we have started an audiovisual art project with the pianist Annika Treutler and the media artist Alexander Stublić.
My aim is to make Ullmann’s music as highly regarded and as well-known as the work of those of his great contemporaries who were not persecuted. The work deserves it! In his music, Ullmann developed a very special language and a tonality all his own.
Annika Treutler, in tribute to the composer

media art installation by Alexander Stublić

The Siemens Arts Program has launched an audiovisual art project in partnership with pianist Annika Treutler and media artist Alexander Stublić. The project is based on Piano Concerto Opus 25 by the composer Viktor Ullmann, who was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944. The art project features an elaborate new 3D audio recording of the concerto alongside a virtual reality media art installation.

The music was recorded at the RBB concert studio in Berlin in partnership with the Deutschlandfunk Kultur radio network, and performed by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stephan Frucht (Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program).

 

In the media art installation, artist Alexander Stublić brings together genre-transcending audio and video recordings made during the 3D musical production to create dreamlike scenes, some with motifs from places where Viktor Ullmann worked and composed. 

 

The media installation uses virtual reality and immersive sound technology to illustrate Ullman's piano concert and shows new, digital ways of multidimensional music transmission.

Excerpt of the VR installation

Youtube video

Find out more about the VR installation

Visit webpage

Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944) is an Austrian composer, conductor and pianist. Because of the Jewish origin of his parents, Ullmann was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942, where he created a large part of his works. There he composed for example "Der Kaiser von Atlantis" and "Die Weise von Liebe und Tod". On October 18, 1944, Ullmann was killed shortly after his arrival in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

 

Stephan Frucht (artistic Director of Siemens Arts Program) says about the project: "January 27, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust remind us that remembrance can never be complete. At the same time, it is an obligation never to silence those voices that were not allowed to express themselves during their lifetime or that could no longer express themselves. This also includes many Jewish artists who were never able to fully develop their creativity because they were denied the freedom to create art. This fate of many great artists from the visual arts, who were branded "ostracized", was also shared by important musicians and composers, including Hans Krása, Pavel Haas, Gideon Klein and Viktor Ullmann, all of whom fell victim to the Nazi regime."

 

More information about the project will follow here in the coming weeks.

Siemens Arts Program has made a new recording of Viktor Ullmann's Piano Concerto Opus 25 (composed in 1939) together with pianist Annika Treutler. This is the first recording of the work in 3D audio format.

 

The production was realized under the direction of Stephan Frucht (Artistic Director Siemens Arts Program) with the Deutschlandfunk Kultur and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin in the large broadcast hall of the RBB in Berlin. Prof. Thorsten Weigelt (Universität der Künste Berlin) and the 3D-Immersive Audio Specialist Stefan Bock (IAN Munich) were in charge of the recording.

 

The new recording - consisting of an audio CD and Blu-ray - contains not only the Piano Concerto Opus 25 but also Ullmann's Piano Sonatas No. 3 (1940) and No. 7 (1944), which Annika Treutler recorded in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin-Dahlem. The album release is on January 31, 2020 on the label "Berlin Classics" (Edel).

The OPUS KLASSIK 2020 goes to...

Siemens Arts Program production wins OPUS KLASSIK for Best Concert Recording. The award goes to soloist Annika Treutler, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Stephan Frucht.

The audiovisual art project uses cutting-edge technology in a sophisticated production that blazes a new trail in music reproduction. Through the visual, three-dimensional experience of the recording and the scope offered by 21st century technologies, the Siemens Arts Program hopes to bring Ullmann’s music and the story of his cruel fate to a wider audience, including to a younger generation. On October 18, 2020, the anniversary of Viktor Ullmann’s death, the production was awarded the OPUS KLASSIK for its outstanding artistic quality.

 

The OPUS KLASSIK is Germany’s most prestigious classical music award. This new, independent prize is organized by Verein zur Förderung der Klassischen Musik e. V., which aims to promote classical music and especially to recognize the artists who perform it. An expert jury representing the music and media industries selects 47 winners in 25 categories.  

 

Stephan Frucht says:

“We’re so delighted that this project was nominated in several OPUS KLASSIK categories and that we won Best Concert Recording. It would never have been possible without a team effort. Everyone who put so much passion and innovation into the project shares this accolade, as well as the great Viktor Ullmann of course, whose work I hope to showcase on concert stages throughout the world. He has earned it.”

 

Annika Treutler adds:

“I’m over the moon about the OPUS KLASSIK award – above all because it honors Viktor Ullmann’s music. It brings us a step closer to achieving the goal of my #respondinmusic project: to relate history through music by giving a new voice to the composers of the time. Exploring our role as musicians has never been more important than it is today. I’m grateful to the Siemens Arts Program for making it possible to take music to a new level through this recording and the art installation based on the piano concerto.”