Honoring A Composer Whose Life Was Twisted by Nazi Germany

The Custer Institute Observatory in Southold will play host to an innovative solo viola concert of works by a Jewish composer whose work was dramatically altered by Nazi Germany, “The Raphael Project,” on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. 

Violist Gregory K. Williams, the principal violist of the Berkshire Opera Festival, and Assistant Principal Violist of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra will perform.

Günter Raphael (1903-1960) was a skillful German-Jewish composer, organist, violinist, violist and educator who rose to prominence during the height of the Weimar Republic. 

Raphael held a prominent post at the Hochschule in Leipzig and his works were championed by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Busch Quartet. Raphael’s career was forever altered by the rise of the Nazi Party when he was removed from his posts in 1934 and his works banned from public performance. While hidden from the authorities, Raphael was able to continue to compose, regaining in part his former prominence in West Germany after the end of World War II.

This concert will feature three of Raphael’s unaccompanied viola sonatas, as well as works by composers Gilad Hochman, and Anthony Green.

Dr. Williams, the violist, has performed thought the United States and in the Netherlands, Germany, and the Czech Republic. 

He is on the viola faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and also serves on the faculty of the Mountain Springs Chamber Music Festival in Draper, Utah. He has been part of the string faculties of Saint Francis Preparatory School, P.S. 115 (Queens), Kellenberg Memorial High School, the Ross School, and at the NYSSSA School of Orchestral Studies in Saratoga Springs.

Stargazing (weather permitting) will follow the concert. Custer Institute is at 1115 Main Bayview Road in Southold.

Suggested Donation: $15 Adults, $12 Observatory Member, $10 Children under 16.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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