Composers in wartime
until 30 January
Muziekcentrum van de Omroep (MCO)
Through stories, letters, photos, manuscripts and (of course!) Music the visitor is introduced to - almost - forgotten composers, of which Leo Smit was one. He fled from Germany in the 1920s and 30s to the "safe" The Netherlands. Many of them soon received composition assignments, often for the radio.
The Netherlands had a flourishing musical life in those years. Composers such as Géza Frid and Rosy Wertheim had an international career, choir conductor and composer Israël Olman was loved by thousands of singers. Max Vredenburg and Hans Lachman composed music for films, and compositions by Henriëtte Bosmans and Leo Smit sounded in the Concertgebouw. The Netherlands was a safe haven where foreign refugees such as Franz Weisz and Hans Krieg built a new life. For many refugees, the radio in Hilversum was a welcome client in difficult times. They composed music for radio plays and arranged music for radio ensembles. The Second World War brought an abrupt end to the sometimes emerging, sometimes glorious musical careers. Jewish radio employees were fired en masse. Among them Dolf Karelsen, who still hopefully composed the Victory March in 1941, but did not survive the war himself. Isja Rossiçan, born in Vilnius, fled to the Netherlands in 1933, where he got a job at VARA. He fled again and became a radio music director after the war.