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.

Welcome to MiliM 2019

This year is our fourth Literary Festival and we are delighted to present a programme which we hope has something for everyone. Topics include politics, television, the arts, history, modern fiction and another panel discussion chaired by Andrew Edwards of Radio Leeds. Our speakers include Tim Marshall and Professor Griselda Pollock and our ever popular intergenerational Poetry Café is back.

We start the 2019 winter season with Portrait of a Composer, the story of Gideon Klein who died in Auschwitz in 1946; we celebrate his life in the year of the centenary of his birth.

For the second year running we are delighted to welcome a contribution from Canada. Myna Wallins, a poet, is sponsored by the Canadian Government and will be here as part of International Women’s Day celebrations.

Our joint event with the Leeds branch of the Jewish Historical Society has the intriguing title, Big Screen Little Screen, when Professor Susan Vice will discuss the innovative image of British Jewish life as portrayed through the work of Jack Rosenthal and others.

Sponsorship is very important to the Festival and we are very grateful to our event sponsors and supporters whose generosity has allowed us to keep the costs low so that more people can attend more events. Once again thank you to Manning Stainton, our overall Festival Sponsor. The Festival is also supported by Leeds Inspired.

MiliM is joining up with other literary organisations to create the first Leeds LitFest from 6 to 10 March. Full details of our joint events are marked in the programme.

You can book your tickets through the link that can be found next to each event or contact Diane on 0113 268 9102/07946 533 290.

We look forward to seeing you.

The MiliM Team