exterior of Dickson Hall
News and Announcements

Sept. 22: Songs of the Holocaust

Posted in: CHSS News, Religion

Rachel Joselson and Rene Lecuona

Get complete details with the calendar announcement

Rachel Joselson, Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA), an internationally renowned opera singer and an associate professor at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, will perform selections from her CD recording “Songs of the Holocaust” at Montclair State University, 1 Normal Ave., on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Leshowitz Recital Hall, in the John J. Cali School of Music building.  This event is free and open to the public.

The concert is being sponsored by the Jewish American Studies program, which is housed in Montclair State’s Department of Religion, chaired by Dorothy Rogers, PhD.  Albany Records released the recording earlier this year.  Rene Lecuona DMA, professor and co-chair of the piano area at the University of Iowa, will accompany Joselson on piano.

Songs of the Holocaust is a collection of works composed by European musicians who were imprisoned during World War II at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, located in the Nazi-occupied city of Terezín, Czechoslovakia.  The camp was promoted as a “spa town” for elderly German Jews, but in reality it served as a transit station for deportations to ghettos and Nazi concentration campus.  In the three and a half years the camp was open, 33,000 women, men and children died at Theresienstadt.  An unusually high number of acclaimed composers (Adolf Strauss, Viktor Ullman, Carlo Taube, Ilse Weber, Gideon Klein, and James Simon) were deported there, and during their time in the camp they wrote many classic vocal and instrumental pieces. [https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005424]

Born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, Joselson earned her MA at Indiana University and her DMA degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick.  She lived in Europe for 12 years, studying under Mario and Rina del Monaco in Lancenigo, Italy and performing in the roles of Rosina, Dorabella, Cherubino, Adalgisa, and Idamante in Germany.  She also developed a  repertoire as a soprano soloist at the Hamburg State Opera.  After returning to the United States in the late 1990s, the Metropolitan Opera engaged Joselson in a production of Kurt Weill’s “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.”  Her first solo CD, “The Songs of Arthur Honegger and Jacques Leguerney,” with pianist Lecuona, was released in 2003 by Albany Records.

Rene Lecuona has performed throughout Latin America and the United States as well as in Italy, Germany, France, and Scotland.  Her playing has been featured on numerous CDs, including a recording of the music of Margaret Brouwer, which won the Contemporary Art Music Burton Award. Lecuona earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance and was awarded a Performer’s Certificate at the Eastman School of Music. She received undergraduate and master’s degrees at Indiana University and co-directs the Piano Festival of the Americas, an intensive summer course (University of Iowa, 2015 and Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia, 2016).

Montclair State University has offered a major in the academic study of Religion since 1980. Originally part of a joint philosophy and religion unit, the Department of Religion became an independent entity in 2015. It has immense strengths in the study of world religions and features faculty who do leading edge research on the impact of religion on culture, society, and politics – both at home and around the globe. Students majoring in Religion at Montclair State go on to careers in education, the helping professions, business, law, and the arts. The Jewish American Studies program (JAST) offers students the opportunity to take courses that focus on Jewish life, culture, and influence in the U.S.

This event is one of several lectures and presentations to be co-sponsored by the Department of Religion and JAST in the coming months.