As the first contribution to the RISM/Italian Studies in the Community seminars for 2015 Alessandro Carrieri will talk on Memory and resistance of Jewish musicians in Fascist Italy on March 19 at 5.30 pm at Monash Caulfield Campus, Building H, Room HB36.
There are voices of resistance that are little heard but will remain alive forever. This is the case of Italian Jewish musicians and composers in Fascist Italy. The announcement of racial (racist) laws by Benito Mussolini in Trieste on 18 September 1938 covered Jewish composers, notably Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Renzo Massarani, Vittorio Rieti, Aldo Finzi and Leone Sinigaglia. Their situation gradually worsened, they were excluded by theatres, orchestras and music conservatories, and their works were banned as examples of ‘degenerate music’.
In my presentation, I intend to analyse Aldo Finzi’s and Leone Sinigaglia’s musical experiences as acts of cultural and spiritual opposition to the persecution by the Fascist regime. Despite their public silencing, both Finzi and Sinigaglia continued their work as musicians clandestinely as an act of unarmed resistance. The activity of non-violent resistance should not be seen as a passive surrender, but rather as one of the most authentic and profound forms of cultural and political opposition to Fascism.
Their music is a direct testimony of how Jewish musicians were able to resist the Fascist cultural policy through their art. Thus their music becomes a historical document, a visual and auditory memorial of artistic resistance in Italy under Fascism.
Dr Alessandro Carrieri is currently Teaching Associate in Italian Studies and Visiting Fellow at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University. In 2013-14 he was a Research Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Science at the University of Trieste. His latest publications are: Lagermusik e resistenza. Viktor Ullmann e Gideon Klein a Theresienstadt, Silvio Zamorani Editore, Torino, 2013 and ‘The Voice of Resistance in Concentrationary Music’ in Political Perspectives 2013, vol. 7 (2), University of Manchester.