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Carine Alders MA

PhD candidate

Area(s) of interest: Dutch History, Music & Theatre History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2022-2023

The forgotten legacy of composers in the Netherlands persecuted by the Nazis

University of Amsterdam
Supervisor(s): Prof. Dr. Julia Kursell, Prof. Dr. Rob van der Laarse and Dr. Philomeen Lelieveldt
Aanstelling: vanaf sept. 2020

World War II has caused a disruption in Dutch music history. Lives of composers and musicians were brutally cut short or took a dramatic turn. This includes both composers of Dutch nationality – Jewish and those refusing to abide by the laws of the Nazis – as well as refugees from Germany and other anti-Semitic regimes. Careers have been broken or side-lined because composers had to go into hiding, were forced to leave their country, became traumatized or were murdered. Music was looted, got lost or was destroyed. Moreover, the way the Dutch have dealt with their musical heritage and the memory of lost composers after the war has influenced their take on Dutch music history. For many years, no one looked back and composers murdered by the Nazi’s were forgotten. On top of this, the modernistic perspective dominating the view on the recent past left its mark on Dutch music historiography. Music written by pre-war composers has long been labelled as conservative and old fashioned.

The list of composers who lived and worked in the Netherlands, who were suppressed by the Nazi’s and subsequently forgotten now includes at least sixty names. Their place in history has been erased retroactively; they are not mentioned in post-war publications.

This research project aims to fill the gap in history with biographical information on the interrupted lives and careers of composers who lived and worked in the Netherlands and with information on the networks and organizations they were part of. On the basis of recent theories on biography, heritage of conflict and war, exile, identity and social networks, I will develop a theoretical framework to interpret and analyse biographical and network data in order to reconstruct the missing part of Dutch music history.