“A Violin Tribute to the Holocaust” features pieces by Erwin Schulhoff, Robert Dauber, Pavel Haas, Samuel Adler and Mieczyslaw Weinberg starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 8.
A late grandfather’s Holocaust memories inspired choices for an upcoming digital concert featuring violinist Arnaud Sussmann accompanied by pianist Michael Brown. The two will perform enduring music of five composers who also experienced Holocaust atrocities.
“A Violin Tribute to the Holocaust” features pieces by Erwin Schulhoff, Robert Dauber, Pavel Haas, Samuel Adler and Mieczyslaw Weinberg starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 8. The free program will be hosted by the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills with community partners Detroit Public TV, WRCJ and the Center for Jewish Studies at Eastern Michigan University.
Viewers will also be presented with a performer interview session led by Dave Wagner, WRCJ program director and radio host.
“In recent years, I have had an ever-growing desire to pay homage to my grandfather,” said Sussmann, 36, who has presented similar programs titled “Jewish Voices” and recently made a recording with the same title. “The best way I could honor him is by putting together a program featuring composers whose voices were silenced in the Holocaust.”
Schulhoff, Dauber and Haas died in concentration camps. Although Weinberg was able to escape by fleeing east, his family was murdered. Adler, a composer who was Brown’s composition teacher at Julliard, fled Germany after Kristallnacht.
Sussmann is artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach and a part-time teacher at Stony Brook University in New York state. He also serves as co-director of Music@Menlo’s International Program, a chamber music program for college-age musicians.
Before concentrating on the violin, Sussmann learned piano.
“I felt such a strong connection to violin,” he explained. “I loved to practice from an early age. By 14, I started traveling in France, where I grew up, to study in various schools and conservatories, and I moved to New York in 2001, right before turning 17, to study at the Juilliard School with Itzhak Perlman.”
International touring has taken Sussmann to Michigan venues. He appeared with the Grand Rapids Symphony in 2016 and joined many times with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at the St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids, where he will return next season.
Like other performers, Sussmann had to learn new techniques due to the pandemic.
“We’ve all had to pivot and find ways to produce and promote our art forms differently,” he said. “I’ve had to learn about the entire recording process, from setting up microphones to recording software as well as editing.
“It’s been a great learning experience, and I’m thankful I was able to expand my skill set this past year.”
The works planned for his Michigan audience include Schulhoff’s “Suite for Violin and Piano, Op. 1” (1911); Dauber’s “Serenade” (1942); Haas’ “Suite for Oboe and Piano, Op. 17” (arranged for violin and piano) (1939); Adler’s “Lullaby” (based on a Hebrew folk tune) (1984); and Weinberg’s “Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, Op. 47” (1949).
“Michael Brown is a dear friend and wonderful pianist, and we have been colleagues and musical partners for many years,” said Sussmann, married to video producer Pauline Hadad and the father of an infant son. “I asked him a few months ago if he would be willing to join me in recording this program.”
During the conversation, Sussmann welcomes questions about his musical life as well as the concert being performed.
Arnaud Sussmann’s free digital program begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 8. To register, go to holocaustcenter.org/violin. Viewers are asked to consider donations to the Holocaust Center at holocaustcenter.org/support.