Gideon Klein: Portrait of a Composer

The extraordinary story of a young man’s determination to make music under Nazi occupation.

The site of a former Leeds synagogue, now a theatre, will be the historic setting for a play with live music to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday 27 January.

Based on eyewitness testimony and letters, ‘Gideon Klein: Portrait of a Composer’ relates the remarkable true story of an outstanding composer and pianist, Gideon Klein, who, despite all the odds, continued to compose and perform music whilst interned in a Nazi prison camp.

Written and devised by David Fligg, in a new dramatisation by Brian Daniels, and directed by Emma Gordon, musicians and actors recreate Gideon’s precocious childhood, the exciting artistic environment of pre-war Prague, and the astonishing musical activities of his imprisonment, prior to his tragic death at the age of 25 in a Nazi slave-labour camp. Interacting with the actors, The Sierra Quartet, a group of talented young musicians from Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music, will perform music by Gideon and others.

Having been performed in the UK, USA and the Czech Republic, this play comes to the Riley Theatre at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, in the centenary year of Gideon’s birth. The theatre is an entirely appropriate venue for this production, as it was once the New Synagogue, at the heart of what was the Jewish community some 70 or more years ago. The performance, generously supported by a Leeds Inspired grant, commences at 7 pm, and will be followed by an interactive talk-back with members of the production team and the audience.