“Giving Voice to a Foxtrot from Auschwitz-Birkenau”


Media & Studio Arts Symposium

Time-Based Arts & Technology

Giving Voice to a Foxtrot from Auschwitz-Birkenau, Insights into the Recording Process

February 14, 2019 | 7:45 PM – 8:45 PM

David Greenspan and Patricia Hall

Description: While conducting research at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum last summer, music theory professor Patricia Hall became interested in a manuscript arranged and performed by prisoners in the Auschwitz I men’s orchestra. Heartbreakingly titled The Most Beautiful Time of Life, it’s a foxtrot that was likely performed as dance music for the Auschwitz garrison. It has now been recorded by SMTD’s Contemporary Directions Ensemble for the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Dave Greenspan and Patricia Hall will share insights, experiences and challenges of creating this historic recording, here in the Duderstadt Center Audio Studio.

Presenter Bios:

Patricia Hall (PhD ‘89, Yale University) taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for 25 years before coming to the University of Michigan as chair of the Department of Music Theory (2011-2017). Hall is the author of A View of Berg’s Lulu Through the Autograph Sources (University of California Press, 1997) – winner of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Award – and Berg’s Wozzeck (Oxford University Press, 2011). She is co-editor with Friedemann Sallis of A Handbook to Twentieth-Century Musical Sketches (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and the general editor of The Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship (Oxford University Press, 2017).

David (Dave) Greenspan is the managing producer for the audio studios in the Duderstadt Center at the University of Michigan where he is responsible for the design, maintenance and operation of the audio facilities. Prior to Dave’s appointment to U of M, he was the Technical Director (Presentations) and format Production Director (Recording) at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Dave received his BS degree in Telecommunication and Film from Eastern Michigan University where he worked in the Communication and Theatre Arts department as a TA and WEMU as Recording Engineer and remote broadcast engineer. While at WEMU, Dave was invited to attend the (then) NPR Music Recording Workshop. It was at a NPR workshop where Dave met his mentors: Curt Wittig (Grammy nominated) and Paul Blakemore (Grammy winner). Curt and Paul invited Dave to a second recording session at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Folgers Consort and The 20th Century Consort (the latter two groups having been founded by Christopher Kendall, former Dean of the UM School of Music Theatre & Dance). This amazing internship shaped how Dave ‘paints a picture’ with sound.