Kurt Weill Festival: A Story of Immigration

An illustration of Kurt Weill with text reading "The Kurt Weill Festival.".

In partnership with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences' Arts Collaboratory presents a celebration of the work of Kurt Weill. From October 2018 to May 2019, the Kurt Weill Fesitval: A Story of Immigration, will explore the music and influence of Weill through a series of lectures, performances, programs, exhibits and—of course—the music of Weill.

Festival Events Schedule

Photographic Recall: Italian Modernist and Facist Architecture in Contemporary German Photography

February 2 - May 12, 2019

Digital still from the video “The Date” 1984, Caterina Borelli.

Just as Weill and Brecht set out to redefine "opera," the photographers of this exhibition explore critical visual languages to question the assumptions about the cultural and political ideologies of the 1920s through the 1940s. Just like Weill and Brecht's works, these images "dramatize" and "perform" through compositional and formal choices the claims of an authoritatian regime and their repercussions today. The resulting photographic works are examples of art as a critical medium.

UB Anderson Gallery

Degenerate Music: Weill, Eisler and Schoenberg

Presented by the UB Department of Music

Thursday, March 28, 7:30 p.m.

Works by Kurt Weill (cello sonata, cabaret songs and seven pieces from The Threepenny Opera) with additional music by Hanns Eisler and Arnold Schoenberg. With Tiffany Du Mouchelle, soprano; Jonathan Golove, cello; Eric Huebner, piano; and, special guest Kathrein Allenberg, violin.

Baird Recital Hall, North Campus
$15-$22 General Public
$12-$17 Seniors; UB Faculty, Staff and Alumni; Non-UB Students
FREE for UB Students

Humanities to the Rescue: "Sounds: Avant-Garde, Modernism and Fascism"

Presented by the UB Humanities Institute

Monday, April 8, 2019
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Organized by: Laura Chiesa for the UB Humanities Institute’s Modernisms Research Workshop (co-coordinator Damien Keane), part of the Humanities Institute’s Humanities to the Rescue programming for 2018-19, which also includes “An Evening with Molly Crabapple” on Friday, March 8, 2019.

The Humanities Institute’s Modernisms Research Workshop will participate in a series of events at UB celebrating composer Kurt Weill with a one-day symposium, free and open to the public. The point of departure for this symposium is the intersection of political upheaval, cultural criticism, and aesthetic experimentation, one specific to the first decades of the twentieth century but with undeniable echoes in today’s world.

In the spirit of the Modernisms Research Workshop, the symposium will explore music and sound, performance and spectatorship, in a variety of different geographical and national contexts, while seeking to foster interdisciplinary conversations across several fields of intellectual endeavor: literature, visual arts, architecture, dance, theater and stage design, film and music.

The symposium will feature guest speakers:

  • Kim Kowalke, Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music and Professor of Music and Chair of the College Music Department of the University of Rochester
  • Jacques Lezra, Professor and Chair in the Department of Hispanic Studies at University of California – Riverside
  • Peter Szendy, David Herlihy Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature at Brown University

250 Baird Hall, North Campus

The Threepenny Opera

Thursday, May 2, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 4, 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 5, 2 p.m.

Text: Three Penny Opera.

Book and Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht
Music by Kurt Weill
English Adaptation by Simon Stephens
Produced by the UB Department of Theatre and Dance

A milestone of 20th century music theatre, The Threepenny Opera reaches its 90th anniversary in 2018. This gripping, macabre masterpiece, a criticism of capitalism and middle-class morality set in a world of corrupt money and unpunished evil, is one of the most produced works of music theatre worldwide. Weill’s celebrated score parodies operatic conventions and embraces the musical styles of jazz, period dance-music and cabaret. The work’s opening number, “The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” became one of the most popular songs of the 20th century. This newly conceived and designed full production with orchestra will be directed and music directed by Nathan R. Matthews.

Drama Theatre, UB Center for the Arts, North Campus
Ticket: $20 General Public
$10 Student/Senior Admission

Previous Kurt Weill Festival Events

The following events occured in the fall of 2018 and winter 2019.

"Change the World, It Needs It!"

A Weill/Blitzstein/ Brecht Cabaret

Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018
7:30 p.m.

Lisa Vroman, soprano
William Sharp, baritone
Shane Schag, pianist

Join these star performers on stage for an intimate and provocatively timely multimedia evening posing the questions "What is art for?" "Can it change the world?" Created by Kim Kowalke and Joe Horowitz; visual track by Peter Bogdanoff.

UB Center for the Arts, North Campus
Mainstage Theater

Weill and Blitzstein: String Quartets

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018
7:30 p.m.

Andrea Cohn and Amy Licata, violin
Janz Castelo, viola
Eva Herer, cello

A quartet of talented musicians of the BPO take on two seminal early pre-war works, Kurt Weill’s String Quartet No. 1, Op. 8 and Marc Blitzstein’s “Italian” String Quartet.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Kurt Weill on Broadway

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019
7 p.m.

Adam Turner, conductor
Lisa Vroman, soprano
Hudson Shad, vocal quartet
Visuals by Peter Bogdanoff

This multi-media program explores Weill’s dramatic saga of immigration – from Hilter’s Germany to Broadway, where his smash hits were Lady in the Dark and One Touch of Venus. Part One begins with Mack the Knife (condemned by the Nazis) and his Paris sensation The Seven Deadly Sins. Part Two is a sparkling and witty Broadway medley including September Song, and Weill himself singing That’s Him.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Humanities to the Rescue: An Evening with Molly Crabapple

Presented by the UB Humanities Institute

Friday, March 8, 2019
8 p.m. – 11 p.m.

An illustration by Molly Crabapple.

Through her illustrated journalism, painting, and collaborations with cultural/political influencers such as Jay Z, Matt Taibbi, and Spike Jonze, Molly Crabapple tackles the injustices of our time with an arsenal of weapons comprised of pens, brushes, and words. Her work has taken her to Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, The United Arab Emirates, Spain, Greece, Guantanamo Bay, and recently Port Isabel in South Texas where she encountered numerous challenges from ICE officials all detailed in a series of tweets posted on July 17 (@mollycrabapple) that are a must-read for all. Her published books include Discordia (with Laurie Penny) on the Greek economic crisis, and the art books Devil in the Details and Week in Hell. Her illustrated memoir, Drawing Blood, received rave reviews in The New York TimesThe EconomistDie Welt, and other prominent newspapers and cultural outlets. Last May, Random House’s One World imprint released Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War; Marwan Hisham’s account of life under ISIS in Syria, co-written and illustrated by Crabapple.

Molly Crabapple is the Humanities Institute’s 2018-19 Eileen Silvers Visiting Professor in the Arts and Humanities. 

147 Diefendorf Hall, South Campus