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Humanity's heritage

KZ MUSIK is a collection of music created by musicians from many professional and artistic backgrounds and of diverse nationalities, social groups and religions: Jews, Christians, Sinti and Roma as well as other Romanies, Euskaldunak and Basques, Sufis, Quakers, Jehovaists, Communists, the disabled, homosexuals, civil and military prisoners. Between 1933 (when Dachau concentration camp opened) and 1945 (when the war ended and the camps were liberated) the works were composed in prison camps, in transit, in forced labour camps, in concentration camps, in military penitentiaries and POW Camps created by the Third Reich, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Salò, the Vichy regime and other axis countries as well as by Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and other allied countries in Europe, North and Colonial Africa, Asia and Oceania. The Encyclopaedia is the result of musicological work conducted by the Italian pianist and orchestra conductor Francesco Lotoro and is produced by Musikstrasse.

Kz Musik is a 24-volume CD box set; each volume consists of a CD and booklet in two languages (Italian, English) containing a profile of the musicians, their works and the lyrics in the original language for vocal and choral music. The box set also includes a guide to the Encyclopaedia (made in collaboration with the Apulia Mediterranean Department), which contains a description of the camps where the music recorded for KZ MUSIK was written, short notes on the musicians who recorded the CD Encyclopaedia and a complete description of the work.

Music composed in concentration camps is one of the most important legacies of history, obtained from the tragic phenomenon of the deportations and the holocaust. It is musical material of great historical, documentary, scientific and artistic value, it's the real heritage of Humanity.

Making the Encyclopaedia:

22 years of research, 15,000 paper documents of great historical value, 4,000 musical works (mostly unpublished). These numbers give an idea of the workload and research behind the KZ Musik CD Encyclopaedia. Forming the basis for the collection is the philological and musicological work on concentration camp music carried out by Schmerke Kaczerginski, Jo┼ża Karas, Bret Werb, Elena Makarova, Ulrike Migdal, Guido Fackler, Johanna Spector, Aleksander Kulisiewicz, Eleonore Philipp, Robert Kolben, Gabriele Knapp, Milan Kuna, Damien Top, Cyril Robinson, Claude Torres and Blanka Cervinkova. Research involved the U.S.H.M.M. Washington D.C., the Theresienstadt Memorial, the National Library of the Hebrew University, the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Goetheanum in Stuttgart, the Paul Sacher Library in Basel, the Akademie der Kunst in Berlin as well as memorials, museums, archives, national and local public libraries, music conservatories, antiquarian books, music funds, private collections and the recovery of microfilms, audio/videocassette recordings in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, France, Italy, Israel, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Switzerland and Hungary. Recordings for the KZ MUSIK CD Encyclopaedia (which began in 2001 and ended in 2011) took place at the Auditorium of the U. Giordano Conservatory in Foggia, the Teatro G. Curci in Barletta, the Basilica S. Anselmo all'Aventino in Rome and the Trafalgar Recording Studios in Rome.

Francesco Lotoro

Born in Barletta in 1964, former pupil to Kornel Zempleni, Viktor Merzhanov, Tamas Vasary and Aldo Ciccolini, 30 years on from the occupation of Czechoslovakia (1968-1998) Lotoro has performed and recorded all the piano works written on the Prague Spring. Considered the highest authority internationally in the research of concentration camp music, he is the only pianist in the world to have performed the monumental Symphony n.8 for piano by Erwin Schulhoff (Wulzburg), the piano score Don Quixote tanzt Fandango by Viktor Ullmann (Theresienstadt) and the original piano version of Nonet by Rudolf Karel (Pankr├ác, Prague). He wrote the two-act opera Misha e i Lupi, the Jewish Suite Golà for male singer and orchestra and has transcribed for two pianos Musikalisches Opfer, Deutsche Messe and 14 Canoni BWV1087 op. post. by J.S. Bach. He is in charge of the Thesaurus Musicae Concentrationariae at the Emory University in Atlanta, and is also a piano teacher at the U. Giordano Music Conservatory in Foggia.


Francesco Lotoro, mémoire vive de la musique concentrationnaire [...] Invité des Journées européennes de la culture Juive, Francesco Lotoro collecte depouis dix-huit ans toutes les musiques écrites dans les camps de la seconde guerre mondiale. Un projet titanesque qu'il mène seul, sans aucune aide financière. La sacoche remplie de partitions, les yeux cernés par la fatigue, [...] ce juif italien de 44 ans est là pour parler de musique. Ou plutôt d'une musique qui l'obsède depuis maintenant dix-huit ans. Une musique à laquelle il consacre aujourd'hui sa carrière, son argent, sa vie : la musique concentrationnaire (Chine Labbé, LE MONDE, 10.9.2008)

For more than 15 years, working largely alone, Lotoro has been crisscrossing the globe, usually at his own expense, hunting down musical works from museums, archives and antique shops, as well as from survivors or their families [...] Musicians and singers who live in or around his southern Italian town of Barletta, and who share his passion, often spend their Sundays working with him in the recording studio. Experts who are aware of Lotoro's work say it is the first time such a vast effort has been made to assemble and revive in one place a musical treasure trove scattered around the world (THE JERUSALEM POST, 27.3.2007)

[...] scrissero i loro spartiti come un'impresa eroica, anche su brandelli di carta igienica fornita di nascosto da un secondino o sotto l'odioso ricatto dei kapò per intrattenere le serate dei nazisti. Il musicista pugliese Francesco Lotoro ieri sera suonava il piano, dirigeva l'orchestra e, soprattutto, ha raccolto negli ultimi 15 anni in giro per il mondo 4.000 musiche dai campi di concentramento, materiali solo in minima parte riascoltati ieri sera (S. Casalini, LA REPUBBLICA, 29.1.2006)

The idea of collecting music written in internment camps before and during World War II may not occur to everyone. But that has been Francesco Lotoro's quest since 1991 "To allow the musicians to continue to work was also a way to control them better" said the 44-year-old Italian Jew. "At Auschwitz, there were seven orchestras". Lotoro has amassed some 4,000 pieces, all composed between March 1933 [...] and the end of World War II in 1945. But while much is from Nazi camps, Lotoro's collection covers internment camps from both sides of the war [...] (Françoise Michel, AFP, 17.7.2008)

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