January 1st 1898, Teschen – † October 18th 1944, Auschwitz
Viktor Ullmann was born on the first of January 1898 in Teschen, the modern Cieszyn. His mentor was Alexander von Zemlinsky, under whose direction he was conductor at the New German Theatre of Prague until 1927. In the following season, 1927-28, he was appointed head of the opera company in Aussig an der Elbel.
In 1923 he began a series of successful performances of his works, and his “Schönberg Variations” a piano composition on a theme written by his former Vienna teacher, were highly appraised and caused something of a stir. Five years later, for the orchestral arrangement of this work, he was awarded the Hertzka Prize.
On 8 September 1942 he was deported to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt, then on 16 October 1944 he was deported to the camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where on October 18th 1944 he was killed in the gas chambers.
The work he left in Theresienstadt was almost entirely preserved, and comprises such significant works as the last three piano sonatas, the Third String Quartet, the melodrama based on Rilke’s Cornet poem and the chamber opera The Emperor of Atlantis, or The Refusal of Death, first produced in 1975. It was written on the back of scrap concentration camp records, which were used in the first performance.
The Der Kaiser von Atlantis / Emperor of Atlantis was performed in Vancouver Canada by the City Opera of Vancouver and closed on 11 February 2009, after 5 consecutive nights of sold out performances!!! - - http://cityoperavancouver.com/emperor/the-composer-viktor-ullmann
And more recently in London a similar opera was performed – ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/17/passenger-opera-holocaust-art-horror
and the same paper investigated other music written at Terezín – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/13/terezin-ghetto-jews-holocaust-vulliamy
Please see further the following links to find out more about Viktor Ullmann.
There is not enough information about him and we should share what we have.
Biography of Viktor Ullmann – mini composers bios – OTA-Berlin Constituency Blog – by Filip v d Plas from OTA Berlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License. If you use this article or parts of it, please refer to http://www.ota-berlin.de.