Mu­si­cal prodigy writes el­egy to late sur­vivor grand­fa­ther

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY NATHALIE ROTH­SCHILD gy. EleEl­egy

SWEDISH MU­SI­CIAN Ja­cob Mühlrad was awarded a ma­jor grant on Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day which will al­low him to com­plete a choral piece about his ma­ter­nal grand­fa­ther’s story of sur­viv­ing the Auschwitz and Ber­genBelsen con­cen­tra­tion camps.

Mr Mühlrad, 25, has com­posed the mu­sic and writ­ten the text for the piece, which has the work­ing ti­tle

It is an imag­i­nary di­a­logue be­tween the com­poser and his late grand­fa­ther, Michael Bli­man, in which Mr Mühlrad poses the ques­tions that he never had the chance to ask his grand­fa­ther be­fore his death.

“They are sim­ple ques­tions but I am re­ally ask­ing about his dark­est mo­ments, about how he sur­vived,” Mr Mühlrad told Swedish Tele­vi­sion.

Mr Mühlrad’ s p i e c e , a work-in-progress, also in­cludes quotes from the author Elie Wiesel as well as ex­tracts from the mourner’s kad­dish prayer. A three-anda-half minute taster was per­formed at the awards cer­e­mony held at the Royal Dra­matic the­atre on Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day, Jan­uary 27. Mr Mühlrad ac­cepted the grant from Swe­den’s Queen Sil­via in the pres­ence of sev­eral Swedish MPs and po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers. Mr Mühlrad shot to fame even be­fore com­plet­ing his stud­ies at the Stock­holm Mu­sic Academy and only re­cently learned to read mu­sic, de­fy­ing the se­vere dyslexia that had con­trib­uted to him achiev­ing poor grades in school. In just a few years, his com­po­si­tions have been per­formed in sev­eral ma­jor con­cert halls, in­clud­ing New York’s Carnegie Hall last year. In ad­di­tion, he is the youngest com­poser ever to have had a piece com­mis­sioned for a bal­let at Stock­holm’s Royal Opera. He has also stud­ied at the Royal Col­lege of Mu­sic in Lon­don. The £27,000 grant was awarded by a foun­da­tion set up by Mi­cael Bin­de­feld, an event or­gan­iser who sup­ports Shoah com­mem­o­ra­tion projects. Ac­cord­ing to the foun­da­tion, Mr Mühlrad “weaves to­gether a sur­vivor’s story and the fol­low­ing gen­er­a­tions’ in­her­ited wounds through the power of mu­sic and in a piece that car­ries the mem­ory of the Holo­caust into our time”. When com­pleted, will be per­formed at Stockh o l m’s B e r wal d Hall. The premier is sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 14.


Trib­ute: Mühlrad

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