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Music, War and Peace in Europe 1922-2022

War is one of the great themes of 20th century music. The project "Music, War and Peace in Europe 1922-2022" wants in the context of the invasion of Ukraine to recall the disastrous consequences of European totalitarianisms as instigators of armed conflicts, genocides such as the Holocaust, and to share with European audiences the idea that continental peace cannot be based on the market alone, but also on strong common values of democracy, the fight against racism and anti-Semitism, freedom and unity. The project will be articulated in 13 events each comprising 3 fields of action:

1) The organization of public concerts aimed at recalling the consequences of the European wars of the 20th and 21st centuries and the fundamental crime of the Holocaust, the dates of which it will commemorate by rediscovering the music of the often forgotten composers who were its victims.

2) The organization of conferences, including an international symposium in Kaunas on the role of music in the context of European wars in the 20th and 21st centuries, bringing together experts from various fields of study (musicology, political science, sociology, philosophy, specialists in memory issues, etc.).

3) The organization of all appropriate additional events: documentary exhibitions, cultural mediation and educational awareness workshops to put into perspective the themes discussed and European values.

Transnational in its organization, the project brings together 27 partners from 15 member countries and 2 non-member countries of the EU: Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It collaborates with museums and Jewish communities in the Baltic countries, memorial museums, universities and many musical institutions (orchestras and festivals). It will reach more than 5,000 European citizens directly and more than 200,000 indirectly. Its events will be recorded, published and available on a dedicated site.

Boris Romantschenko, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, was killed by Russian forces on March 22, 2022, in the bombardment of the building where he lived in Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine. From one totalitarianism to another, the fate of this 96-year-old man, who had survived Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen in particular, tragically belied a certain European naivety, which believed that war had been over since the fall of Nazism. and the Soviet Union. The war in Ukraine is a tragic reminder of how little we learn from history, and how much the work of memory, which we expect to preserve from repeating the errors of the past, must always be put back to work. Disinformation and revisionism are the major weapons of Kremlin propaganda. The power of events is such that it makes us forget the fact that in certain EU Member States with illiberal tendencies, solidarity is used to mask the weakening of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, and the fact that the anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-Europeanism continue to flourish quietly, in a general context of progressive amnesia vis-à-vis the history of the Holocaust. Since 2009, the Voix Étouffées project, in which this project takes place, has traveled the European Union with the support of the Europe for Citizens program using the music of composers who were victims of European totalitarianisms of the 20th century. as a tool for transmitting the memory of the convulsions on which modern Europe was built. The project "Music, War and Peace in Europe 1922-2022" - symbolically taking as temporal landmarks the key dates of contemporary Ukrainian history (1922: attachment to the USSR and loss of the country's independence, 2022: beginning of the Russian invasion) – thus wants to remind that the European wars of the 20th century were all marked by a genocidal will – whether it is the Holocaust in the first place – but also the massacres of Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina, even those of Kosovo, or by war crimes such as those currently taking place in Ukraine. In all of these circumstances, even the most tragic, music played a fundamental role in inspiring resistance and alleviating the suffering of concentration camp prisoners and civilian populations. Its geographical organization is symbolically constitutive of a cultural front against the aggressor, since from Finland to the Black Sea, it brings together all the countries having a common border with Russia or Ukraine, integrating 3 partners associated with Lviv, Kiev and Sarajevo.

By the symbolism of its geographical organization, where all the EU countries having a common border with Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are present, this project is intended to be a cultural front against Russian aggression in Ukraine, a country who today defends democratic European values and the rule of law against the post-Soviet dictatorship.

Provisional schedule:

07/05: Strasbourg - Orchestra Les Métamorphoses

25-26/05: Sarajevo - Concert Protest Songs

06/06: Schönberg Center - Vienna - Orchestra Les Métamorphoses

06/21: Milles Camps - Les Métamorphoses Orchestra

2/07: Rome - I Solisti Aquilani

04/07: Riga - I Solisti Aquilani

07-08/08: Bayreuth - Les Métamorphoses Orchestra

09/19: Jewish Community of Tallinn 

29-30/09: Kaunas Technical University - Colloquium and concert

20/10: Krakow

28/10: Muth/Vienna - Banatul Philharmonic

29/10: Timisoara - Banatul Philharmonic

01/11: Prague - DOX - Centrum for Contemporary Art - Orchestra Les Metamorphoses

8/11: Vilnius – Pax and Bonum Festival: Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Jauna Muzikas Choir

20-21/11: Sibelius Academy/Helsinki – Symposium and concert

29/11: Budapest - Mav Symphonic

30/11: Muth/Vienna - Mav Symphonic

Geographic scope of the project:

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