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Returning a Musical Heritage

Organized by: Victoria Kimmel

Victoria's Photo
Victoria's Photo

EVENT DATE Oct 31, 2015


As we approach the 120th anniversary of Weinberger's birth (and the 50th anniversary of his passing), it is remarkable that this composer, once as well known and popular as Richard Strauss, has languished in relative obscurity. True, until now, the vast majority of his musical output was unavailable, but this is only part of the tragedy. Concerted efforts to wipe his existence from all records by political regimes, combined with the lose of his works and the subsequent depression caused by these actions, took it's toll on Weinberger's creative and physical health. Yet, despite these set backs, he continued to produce works of monumental depth and hope.

I have spent the past eight years travelling, interviewing, collecting and editing, any and all things Weinberger. Perhaps I have become obsessed! But then again, how could I not? His story could easily be my story - or your story. It is a struggle of survival in all sense of that phrase. When I am asked to summarize his life, I respond with a cinematic metaphor by saying "Weinberger's life is a little like 'Amadeus' meets 'Schindler's List' ". It is true that Weinberger was called 'The New Mozart' when he was nine years old - already giving concerts of his music as a pianist and conductor. But, unlike the 'Schindler' analogy, while Weinberger did escape to America,(via France, England, and Canada) his family did not, he did suffer in every other way (having his income and possessions taken from him, being persecuted and hunted). Finally, there is a growing interest in Weinberger as an overlooked musical figure, mostly by academics - but only as a subset to larger research projects - research for research's sake.

With this project, we now move into a more 'practical' use of this information. I have collected and edited his letters from over a 50 year period which provide valuable insight to this man's creative state of being as well as his sense of humour. With the help of this information and data from other sources, I am also in process of writing his biography - something that has never been done before. And now, we come to the music - and what music it is!

All of the works to be recorded on this disc has not been heard for nearly 100 years. The simple fact that these materials still exist at all defies all odds. Weinberger's journey, though not unique for many Eastern European Jews of the mid-twentieth century, is an incredible story of courage, defiance and survival. Politically astute, Weinberger foretold of the impending Nazi invasions throughout central Europe. Personally, he had hoped, as many others had done, that somehow it would be prevented. This hope led to his staying in Prague until the last possible moment, but when he did finally flee, it was with only 2 suitcases full of books and clothes and his typewriter. All his possessions were left in his house which was later commandeered for the invading army officers. Many of his possessions were stolen or destroyed outright.

Somehow, five crates of his sketches, manuscripts, letters and personal papers were hidden and saved. In my research of Weinberger, I uncovered these materials, some of which you will hear on this recording. More recordings are to be scheduled, as this one is, dependent upon funding.

But for this project to come true WE NEED YOUR HELP! Such a project involves a very long list of costs and with this crowd funding campaign, we hope to raise the necessary funding to realize it. Our target amount will be used to cover the studio fees for the six recording sessions needed to complete this project. Donations can be made from any country and our goal is to raise the necessary funding until the end of October 2015.

I came up with a few ways to say thank you to the ones who will help make this happen with their generous donations: CDs or the CD to download, autographed memorabilia, books, invitation to a concert by the CNO (in 2016), even dinner with the conductor. The different reward levels are listed below and any and all involvement will be very much appreciated!

We would also be very grateful if you would endorse our campaign by becoming a 'CD ambassador', telling all your friends, colleagues and neighbors about our CD campaign. Help us make this a very successful campaign so we can turn it into a beautiful new CD! Please watch the video above and hear a little of what this CD will be about and why it is so important to bring this music back from the edge of obscurity.


With gratitude,

Tristan Willems


If you wish to donate to a different portion of this campaign, it is always welcome!

Orchestra musician's fees:

Conductor's fees:



$10: Personalized handwritten letter of thanks

$25: Free download of CD from Toccata Classics

$40: One personalized autographed CD

$50: Two personalized autographed CD

$75: Personalized autographed copy of Weinberger article from 'musica reanimata'

$100: Personalized autographed copy of Weinberger article from 'Czech Music Quarterly'

$200: One personalized autographed full score used in the recording sessions

$350: One personalized autographed copy of 'Jaromír Weinberger - Selected Correspondence' from Toccata Press

$500: Two tickets to a 'Prague Proms' concert of Willems conducting the CNO in June 2016 (including dinner with the conductor)

$750: Producer credit on the CD and download

$1000: Executive Producer credit on the CD and download (plus €500 premium included)


Organized by

Victoria Kimmel

This is a direct to organizer fundraiser.

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