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Landsberg am Lech 1948/2018

Wolf Durmashkin Composition Award

The composition competition is named after Wolf Durmashkin, who was denied a promising career as a conductor. At the age of 30, he was murdered in a German concentration camp in Estonia.

In 2018, Wolfgang Hauck created the Wolf Durmashkin Composition Award (WDCA ) in his memory and developed an extensive supporting program together with the dieKunstBauStelle association and partners.

The award ceremony of the international competition took place during the concert on May 10, 2018 with the world premiere of the winning compositions.

The historic occasion was the concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein in Landsberg am Lech with the local Displaced Persons Orchestra on May 10, 1948.

This was commemorated on May 10, 2018, the 70th anniversary, in Landsberg am Lech.

The competition on the subject of music and the Holocaust is about more than remembering, it is about participation and involvement in the present. Together with the accompanying program, the competition marked a milestone in the history of the town of Landsberg am Lech.

Munich 1938/2024

WDCA 2024

The association “dieKunstBauStelle e.V.” from Landsberg, the Gustav Mahler Private University Klagenfurt and the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich (HMTM) are jointly offering the Wolf Durmashkin Composition Award 2024.

We are looking for composers up to the age of 35 who deal with the Holocaust in a new work for accordion, viola and percussion. A total of up to 3,000 euros in prize money will be awarded. The deadline for entries is August 30, 2024. The premiere of the award-winning works is planned for November 9, 2024 in Munich, in memory of the victims of the November 1938 pogroms.

The international Wolf Durmashkin Composition Award will take place for the second time in 2024 and will focus on “Music and the Holocaust”. The competition is named after the Jewish musician Wolf Durmashkin from Vilnius, who was killed by the National Socialists in a concentration camp in Estonia in 1944.

“The competition attracted international attention when it was held for the first time in 2018,” emphasizes Wolfgang Hauck from dieKunstBauStelle e.V.

Prof. Lydia Grün, President of HMTM, adds: “For us, participation in this competition is an expression of our university’s lively remembrance work and our fundamental responsibility for the basic democratic values of our society. Critical artistic perspectives on our present day emerge from the confrontation with National Socialist crimes. This competition therefore provides an important impetus, also for our students.”

Prof. Jakob Gruchmann, Professor of Composition and Music Theory in Klagenfurt, sees above all the far-reaching potential of the competition for international cooperation. Together with Prof. Jan Müller-Wieland, Professor of Composition at HMTM, he developed the conditions for the competition.

The prizewinners’ concert will take place on November 9, 2024 at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich.

The concert on November 9, 2024 is intended to commemorate the Reichsprogromnacht of 1938. That night was a turning point, a beacon for what was to come, it was a prelude to the Holocaust.

About the WDCA


Wolf Durmashkin

Wolf Durmashkin came from a Jewish-Polish family of musicians from Vilnius, Lithuania. On the one hand, he was committed to traditional Jewish culture, while on the other, the family cultivated the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Grieg and Tchaikovsky. Wolf Durmashkin conducted the Vilnius Symphony Orchestra, was a choirmaster, but also composed and performed together with members of the family at musical activities in the Vilnius ghetto. He was separated from his family and died in 1944, one day before the liberation by the Red Army, in a German  concentration camp in Estonia that had been set on fire by the SS.

The concert was intended to commemorate the largely forgotten DP orchestra, which was initially named after its founding place, St. Ottilien. It consisted of the last survivors of the persecution and extermination of Jews in Lithuania. They came from the ghettos of Kaunas and Vilnius and had also survived the Kaufering/Landsberg subcamps. The ensemble had its first performance on May 27, 1945, exactly one month after the liberation of Landsberg by the Americans. The musicians therefore called it a “liberation concert”.

Since history should be more than just a reconstruction, a composition competition will be announced at the same time, which is explicitly aimed at young musicians under the age of 35.