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On Hollywood and Weimar

Songs of European Composers from the Golden Age of Film

Center for Jewish History (map)
15 W. 16th St.
New York, NY 10011
In person
General: Free

The Leo Baeck Institute and the American Society for Jewish Music invite you for a night of live music with Karyn Levitt, Soprano and Jed Distler, Piano. This event is part of Carnegie Hall's 2023-2024 season's series: Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice.

Many of Hollywood’s greatest film scores were written by émigré and exiled composers who fled Nazi Europe for Southern California. From dusty westerns and sweeping romances to the thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock, this program celebrates the blending of the old world and the new to produce the uniquely hybrid sound of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Please note this is an in-person event.

Karyn L.
Karyn Levitt and Jed Distler performing the world premiere at the York Theatre.

On Hollywood and Weimar, created by and starring soprano Karyn Levitt with pianist Jed Distler, celebrates the glorious music of old Hollywood by European composers from the Golden Age of Film. Musical geniuses, like Kurt Weill, Erich Korngold, Miklós Rózsa, Dimitri Tiomkin, and Hanns Eisler — many of whom had escaped to Southern California from Nazi Europe — brought from their respective homelands the highest level of culture, which they poured into the American film industry: they blended the music of the old world and the new, thereby creating and inventing the uniquely hybrid sound of Hollywood films. American music benefited as we became heir to their legacy. From dusty westerns and sweeping romances to the thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock, Karyn Levitt and Jed Distler perform eleven composers’ songs in a theatrically-directed, choreographed, and gorgeously lit musicological journey through some of Hollywood’s most iconic film scores. The songs range in style from Weimar cabaret and operetta to country-western, classical art song, and jazz… from “Falling in Love Again” to “On Green Dolphin Street,” from “San Francisco” to “Spellbound,” from “Rawhide” and “(High Noon) Do Not Forsake Me” to Kurt Weill’s “Song of Ruth,” and more!

(Running time: 75 minutes.)

What started as an idea for a tribute to the remarkable composers who found themselves in exile in California in the first half of the last century turned out to be a run of highly acclaimed and sold-out shows in New York City. Soprano Karyn Levitt and pianist Jed Distler have brought On Hollywood and Weimar the legendary NYC cabaret venue 54 Below, JxJ Jewish Music and Film Festival in Washington, D.C., and at Off-Broadway’s York and Triad Theaters.