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The Shanghai Jews. Michael Blumenthal, Rachel DeWoskin, and Civitas Ensemble

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Published on Apr 25, 2019

The Shanghai Jews: Risk and Resilience in a Refugee Community. Faculty member and novelist Rachel DeWoskin hosts a keynote by W. Michael Blumenthal, former Secretary of the Treasury and a Holocaust survivor who grew up in Japanese-occupied war-time Shanghai. Blumenthal delivers a keynote on the life of a community of more than 18,000 Jewish refugees who survived WWII in Shanghai, identifying intersections between that past and our present context.

Following his keynote is a concert performed by Civitas Ensemble's violinist Yuan-Qing Yu; cellist Kenneth Olsen; clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom; and pianist Winston Choi, of classical music composed by Jewish refugees and Chinese composers inspired by collaborations with refugees or by the musical legacies of the Shanghai Jews. Yuan-Qing Yu introduces the pieces and composers, telling stories of their connections to Shanghai, the war, and each other. She plays on a plays on a bow stamped with a Star of David and believed to date from WWII and soon to be added to a touring collection described in the documentary "Violins of Hope." The pieces Civitas Ensemble performs here include Alexander Tcherepnin's Selections from Piano Etudes, Ode for Cello and Piano, and Sonata in one moment for clarinet and piano as well as Otto Joachim's L'Eclosion for Solo Piano; Jacob Avshalomoff's Sonatine for clarinet and piano; Wolfgang Fraenkel's Variations and Fantasies on a Theme by Arnold Schoenberg Sang Tong's Fantasia for Cello and Piano Fantasia; and Ding Shan-De's Piano Trio.

W. Michael Blumenthal's keynote was made possible by support from the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies; The Franke Institute; The Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS); the Departments of Anthropology, East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC), and History; the Program on Creative Writing; and a Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The concert by Civitas Ensemble was sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies.

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