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date: 20 April 2021

Klein, Gideonlocked

  • Beate Schröder-Nauenburg


(b Přerov, Moravia, Dec 6, 1919; d Fürstengrube, nr Katowice, Poland, end of Jan 1945). Moravian composer and pianist. His musical talent was promoted from an early age by the director of the Přerov municipal music school. When he was 12 he moved to Prague to study the piano with Ruzena Kurzova and in 1938 he became the star pupil of Vilém Kurz at the Prague, Conservatory. He enrolled at Karl University, Prague, to study musicology in 1939, also taking lessons in composition for a short time with Alois Hába at the Prague Conservatory. In 1940, however, because of his Jewish origins, he was expelled and denied permission to travel to London, where he had been granted a scholarship to the RAM. Until his deportation to Theresienstadt on 4 December 1941, he worked under the pseudonym Karel Vránek in small, avant-garde theatres in Prague.

During his first few months in Theresienstadt, Klein became an energetic agitator for artistic activities. After the foundation of the Freizeitgestaltung, a ‘recreation organization’ established for propaganda purposes, he arranged many concerts for which he composed, conducted and performed. He repeatedly encouraged his fellow prisoners, who included Pavel Haas, Hans Krása, Sigmund Schul and Viktor Ullmann, to continue composing. On ...

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