Lecture-concert and Oratorium

On 31 Oct 2024 and 3 Nov 2024

During the National Socialist era, at least 18,000 Jewish refugees were admitted to Shanghai and thus rescued. Nonetheless, they struggled with an imposed ghettoisation, the effects of the war, inflation and shortages. The American composer Aaron Zigman composed an oratorio set against this historical backdrop that tells of the love between two people at the end of the 1930s. ‘Émigré’ is a triumphal, life-affirming work; after its resounding success in Shanghai and New York, it is now being performed in Europe for the first time by the DSO on 3 November 2024. Conducted by Long Yu, the DSO will be supported by a prominent ensemble and the Rundfunkchor Berlin.

Aaron Zigman

is a prominent composer in the USA. He has composed the soundtracks for more than 70 Hollywood movies and TV shows, including ‘The Notebook’, ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ and ‘Sex and the City’. His music combines the Hollywood sound with touches of Puccini and Bernstein. Zigman wrote the piano concerto ‘Tango Manos’ for the pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. His oratorio ‘Émigré’ was composed in 2023 based on a libretto by Mark Campbell and additional texts by Brock Walsh.


There were more than 450 musicians among the Jewish refugees. A lecture-concert dedicated to the cultural life they developed in exile will be held on 31 October 2024 in the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy; it takes place in collaboration with the Jewish Museum Berlin. Sophie Fetthauer, specialist in exile music, illuminates this time period with the composer of ‘Émigré’, Aaron Zigman, in attendance.

A DSO string quartet with Olga Polonsky and Lauriane Vernhes (violin), Francesca Zappa (viola) and Claudia Benker-Schreiber (cello) will play works by Erwin Schulhoff, Pavel Haas, Wolfgang Fraenkel, Otto Joachim, Aaron Avshalomov and Ding Shan-de. The discussion will take place in English.

In Cooperation with

Émigré: Concerts 2024/2025