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Daniel Muller

The Saxophone and the Third Reich: The Holocaust explored through the lives of Jewish composers of saxophone music

Among the millions of lives claimed by the Holocaust were some of Europe’s foremost composers whose only crime was their Jewish heritage. Many other Jewish musicians were able to escape Europe, but encountered various difficulties reestablishing their careers abroad. Whatever the case, many of Europe’s once celebrated Jewish artists fell into obscurity, but the rediscovery of their work has brought new life to some pieces that were nearly lost entirely. Here pianist Karen Jeng-Lin and I will present a lecture-recital of saxophone repertoire by European-Jewish composers, much of which is relatively unknown to performers and teachers. Each of these pieces has a unique story to tell, each of their creator's lives taking a different path through that horrible time. Among the selections will be Erwin Schulhoff’s Hot Sonata, a jazz-infused gem whose composer was killed just before escaping to Russia; Viktor Ullman’s Slavic Rhapsody, a folksong fantasy written shortly before its creator was sent to the artists' ghetto at Terezin; Hans Gál’s Suite, a light piece by a man who fled to Britain only to be imprisoned there; and Darius Milhaud’s Scaramouche, a staple of the repertoire whose popularity outshined much of its prolific composer’s output. The wide array of influences, styles and aesthetics in this program is a microcosm of the vast diversity of European-Jewish music of the early twentieth century, some of which was almost entirely forgotten, and some of which was forturnate enough to retain a well-deserved spot in the standard repertoire.


Daniel Muller is currently pursuing a Master of Music at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he studies with James Houlik. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory in Berea, Ohio, where his primary teacher was Greg Banaszak. He has also studied jazz with Anthony Fuoco and Mike Tomaro and composition with Clint Needham and Jonn Sokol. Muller has played in masterclasses with Tong Yang, Doug Masek, Olli-Pekka Tuomisalo, and the Army Field Band Saxophone Quartet, and has also taken part in the Mana Saxophone Institute at the National Music Festival in Chestertown, Maryland. Muller originally hails from Cleveland, Ohio, where he actively performs in a wide variety musical settings.