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A New CD by the ARC Ensemble premieres lost musical treasures by Walter Kaufmann

A New CD by the ARC Ensemble premieres lost musical treasures by Walter Kaufmann

Published on August 27, 2020

ARC Ensemble

A collection of extraordinary works, a unique blend of Indian and Western musical traditions exquisitely performed by the ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory), was released today on the Chandos label.

The “Chamber Works by Walter Kaufmann” is the fourth recording in the Ensemble’s acclaimed Music in Exile series, and the first devoted to this 20th century composer’s works. As a Jewish composer under imminent threat from the Nazis, Kaufmann fled Prague in 1934 and spent the next 12 years in Bombay where he worked for All India Radio and studied Indian music. The works he composed there have remained unperformed for over 80 years.

Nominated for its third Grammy in 2016, the ARC Ensemble is among Canada's most distinguished cultural ambassadors. Performing a wide range of music, its focus remains the research and recovery of music suppressed and marginalized under the 20th century's repressive regimes. A growing number of hitherto unknown masterworks are rejoining the repertoire as a result of the ARC Ensemble's work.

The hallmark of this remarkable music is its striking originality. There are flashes of Debussy, Bartók, and Stravinsky, and hints of Bohemian and klezmer music, but the end result is a world of inventiveness and surprises. It is an extraordinary blend of Eastern and Western traditions, both adventurous and accessible, and no less compelling for the eighty-year delay since its first performance.
Simon Wynberg, ARC Ensemble Artistic Director

Wynberg’s discovery of Walter Kaufman began with Dr. Bret Werb, Curator of Music and Sound Archives at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, who alerted him to the composer. Together they visited the composer’s archives in Bloomington, Indiana and so began an absorbing journey into the life and music of Walter Kaufmann. 

After his time in India, Kaufmann spent nine years in Canada, eight of which (from 1948 to 1956) in Winnipeg, where he was appointed conductor of the newly-formed Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and Director of the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir.

Preview the works featured on the album on Vimeo, or purchase the CD on the Chandos website. 

Learn More about the ARC Ensemble