KAREL SVENK, Terezin cabaret composer
Our concert opens with music by legendary Terezín cabaret composer Karel Svenk, performed by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. TMF director Mark Ludwig discovered this piece, and composer David Post wrote the arrangement we’ve performed in concert halls and classrooms over many years. Its title is “Why Does the Black Man Sit in the Back of the Bus?” It is amazing that in the midst of the horrors of Terezin, Svenk was moved to write about oppression and suffering in such a distant setting.
Svenk was a leading figure in Terezin's cultural life, best remembered for his secret camp anthem, the "Terezin March," and his cabaret revues, including the satire "The Last Cyclist," censored by the Nazis. Svenk was sent to Auschwitz and died on a subsequent transport to Mauthausen.
Svenk's "The Last Cyclist," has recently been reconstructed and reimagined by Naomi Patz, with incidental music commissioned by Terezin Music Foundation from composer Stephen Feigenbaum.
Listen to the rendition performed at our 2013 Gala by Yo-Yo Ma and Terezin survivor George Horner here.