Viktor Ullmann Festival

Viktor Ullmann Festival


In 2014 in Trieste, Italy, the Musica Libera Association started the Festival Viktor Ullmann to bring to life the music of many composers persecuted by the Nazi and Fascist regimes for their Jewish origin and political, cultural, and artistic commitment.

Since its foundation, the Festival has set itself the ambitious purpose of rediscovering those musical pages, forgotten for too long, to revive the creative genius of their composers and reflect on the Holocaust from a different point of view.

Some of these musicians saved themselves by eventually finding their way into exile outside Europe. But unfortunately, many were captured by the Nazis and Fascists: imprisoned and deported to concentration and extermination camps where they were murdered. Few managed to survive.

The Festival is dedicated to the following:

  • Concentrationary music (music composed in concentration camps and ghettos),
  • Degenerate music (music banned in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy),
  • Exile music.

From the very first concerts, the Festival has distinguished itself for the innovative proposal of unpublished music, excluded from the repertoires of the Italian theater and concert circuits since the promulgation of the racial laws in 1938.

Numerous World, European and Italian premieres have enriched the festival calendars. They resulted in in-depth historical, musicological, and philological research. In addition, the Festival’s curators have engaged in significant relationships with various scholars worldwide and with the descendants of persecuted composers.

World premieres

  • Piccola suite for flute and string orchestra op.45, by Leone Sinigaglia on solo flute Roberto Fabbriciani;
  • Purim Spiel for narrator and orchestra “La regina Ester” by Davide Casali;
  • Symphony No. 4 in F minor by Karl Weigl;
  • Summer Evening Music for string orchestra by Karl Weigl;
  • The opera for orchestra and children’s choir Il Pifferaio di Hamelin (recorded and viewable in streaming) by Karl Weigl;
  • The song That Their Memory Be Blessed for the victims of the Temple L’albero della vita di Pittsburgh for string orchestra by Jerome Margolis;
  • Two symphonic poems Umbria and Il poema del mare by Gino Modigliani;


European premiers

  • Overture for Radio 11” for 4 solo solo singers and orchestra and Salmo 29 op. 12 for baritone solo, women’s choir and orchestra by Pavel Haas
  • Canti for women’s choir and string orchestra by František Domažlický
  • Halil nocturne for flute and orchestra” by Leonard Bernstein, on solo flute Roberto Fabbriciani
  • Jerusalem symphonic poem for chamber orchestra Opus 17 Opera 43 by Mark Lavry
  • Al Naharot Bavel for stringr orchestra Opus 33 by Mark Lavry
  • Jewish Suite for string orchestra Opus 17 by Mark Lavry
  • Ima-Em poema for mezzo soprano, harp and string orchestra Opus 190 by by Mark Lavry
  • Concertino for flute and chamber orchestra Opus 245” by Mark Lavry on solo flute Roberto Fabbriciani


Italian premiers

  • Symphony2 by Marcel Tyber
  • Concerto for flute and string orchestra” by Bruno Bjelinski
  • Symphony for orchestra in C major by Leo Smit
  • Sacred Service by Darius Milhaud
  • Nocturne for string orchestra by Kurt Sonnenfeld
  • Symphony No. 1 in D minor by Alexander von Zemlinsky
  • Symphony No. 2 in D major by Alexander von Zemlinsky
  • Quintet 10 by Pavel Haas
  • Concerto for harp and orchestra op. 334 by Marc Lavry
  • The two Symphonic poems La Ballata and Le dodici fanciulle” by Vito Levi
  • Quartet 2 in E major with viola d’amore by Karl Weigl
  • Rivka’s Fiddle for solo viola by Erika Fox
  • Partita for piano and string orchestra, op. 20 by Vitêzslava Kaprálová
  • Concerto for violin and orchestra in D minor A mia moglie” by Vito Levi
  • Symphony in A minor for grande orchestra Opus 1 by Franz Schreker


Relevant performances

  • Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 5 by Erwin Shulhoff
  • Concert for narrator and orchestra Die Welse von Liebe und Todd des Cornets Christofer Rilke text by Rainer Maria Rilke and music by Viktor Ullmann
  • Liriche on piano and soprano by Vittore Veneziani
  • Silhouettes for piano by Emilio Russi and various compositions by Guido Nacamuli
  • Jazz arrangements of the music of Fritz Weiss


International artists performed during the Festival

  • Flutist Roberto Fabbriciani
  • Pianists Bruno Canino and Luca Buratto
  • Violinists Davide Alogna, Giacobbe Stevanato, and Orsolya Korcsolàn
  • Violist Peter Barsony
  • The Lyskamm Quartet
  • The Pražák Quartet


Orchestras that played for the festival

  • String Orchestra “Abimà”
  • Civica Orchestra di fiati Giuseppe Verdi of Trieste
  • Orchestra della Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi of Trieste
  • Orchestra San Marco
  • Orchestra Regionale Filarmonia Veneta



Significant Festival locations

  • Risiera di San Sabba in Trieste (concentration camp)
  • Synagogue of Trieste and that of Gorizia
  • Jewish Museum Carlo and Vera Wagner in Trieste and the Jewish Museum of Venice


The Viktor Ullmann Festival also produces the CD series Living in Music (15 CDs have already been published), an expression of the concerts performed and artists encountered. It is an excellent medium for disseminating and learning about persecuted music and composers.

Artistic and orchestral direction: Davide Casali
Organizational direction: Luisa Franco
Historical and scientific direction: Alessandro Carrieri
Resident pianist: Pierpaolo Levi
Resident orchestra: Abimà