Lecture: Dr Carrieri on Jewish musicians in Fascist Italy
Memory and resistance of Jewish musicians in Fascist Italy
19th March, 5.30pm
Caulfield campus, Building H, Room HB36
There are voices of resistance that are little heard but will remain alive forever. This is the case of Italian Jewish musicians and composers in Fascist Italy. After the announcement of racial laws by Benito Mussolini in Trieste on 18th September 1938, Jewish composers who continued to work in Italy during the two world wars were affected by racial (racist) laws. Prominent examples include Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Renzo Massarani, Vittorio Rieti, Aldo Finzi and Leone Sinigaglia. The situation for musicians and composers gradually worsened, they were excluded by theatres, orchestras and music conservatories. The works of Jewish composers were banned and they were defined as degenerate music.
In my presentation, I intend to analyse Aldo Finzi’s and Leone Sinigaglia’s musical experiences as an act of cultural and spiritual opposition to the Italian Fascist Regime. In fact, during the persecution of the Jews in Italy, their music was silenced as it was considered to be degenerate. Despite this, both Finzi and Sinigaglia continued their work as musicians clandestinely as an act of unarmed resistance. The activity of non-violent resistance should not be seen as a passive surrendering, but rather as one of the most authentic and profound forms of cultural and political opposition to Fascism.
Their music is a direct testimony of how Jewish musicians were able to resist the Fascist cultural policy through their art. Thus, their music becomes a historical document, a visual and auditory memorial of artistic resistance in Italy under Fascism.
Dr. Alessandro Carrieri is currently Teaching Associate in Italian Studies and Visiting Fellow at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University. In 2013-14 he was a Research Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Science at the University of Trieste. His latest publications are: Lagermusik e resistenza. Viktor Ullmann e Gideon Klein a Theresienstadt, Silvio Zamorani Editore, Torino, 2013 and The Voice of Resistance in Concentrationary Music in «Political Perspectives» 2013, vol. 7 (2), University of Manchester.