Founded in 1996, the Leo Smit Foundation is dedicated to the music of Dutch composers who were persecuted during World War II. Many of these composers were Jewish; a number of them did not survive the war. Subsequently, their music was forgotten.
To draw attention to this theme, the Leo Smit Foundation has set up an exhibition entitled ‘Composers in wartime’. This exhibition travels through the country and can be seen in the Nieuwe Kerk in Middelburg until November 3, 2023.
This part of Dutch music history has been told very little. On eight long double-sided printed panels, 20 composers are introduced through the following themes: choirs and orchestras, music schools, film and theatre, Concert Hall, hiding, camps, after the war. Visitors get to know these – almost – forgotten composers by reading stories and letters, looking at photos and manuscripts and listening to the music. This brings the composers (eight of whom did not survive the war) and their work closer.
There is a QR code on the panels, making the music directly available to listen to on a smartphone.
For this project, a collaboration was established between several (Middelburg) organisations: ZB Library of Zeeland, Etty Hillesum House, Music School Zeeland and the New Church. A project for schools is organised by the Etty Hillesum House in relation to the exhibition. Pupils of Muziekschool Zeeland will play pieces from the composers’ repertoire during the opening and/or the meeting at ZB Library of Zeeland.
The Hurgronje Family Fund, at the request of family members Barbara and Hugo Schorer who are involved in the exhibition, made a financial contribution to its creation.