Maestro Francesco Lotoro to present Make Art Work lecture to NWSA music students about his Holocaust-era music findings

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Lotoro press release picture.The New World School of the Arts Music Division has engaged Italian composer and pianist Maestro Francesco Lotoro, to address the students of the NWSA Music Division during an upcoming Make Art Work (MAW) session. The dialogue will center around his life-changing findings to which he has dedicated the last three decades of his life – a collection of more than 8,000 music compositions conceived and written in concentration campus during the Holocaust and WW2.

“NWSA students, particularly those registered in the history and theory courses, will be attending this MAW lecture and I can’t imagine a more pertinent lesson to them than these discoveries that enhance the work, relevance, and importance for NWSA’s existence for artistic education in our community,” said Dr. Daniel Andai, Dean of Music at New World School of the Arts.

Francesco Lotoro, who is coming to Miami to visit Holocaust survivors, will hold the lecture on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 9 AM. Miami Dade College Wolfson Auditorium. 300 NE 2nd Avenue, Room 1261, Miami. Free and open to the public.

The compositions – many just snippets while others complete works of music, range from operas, symphonies, folk songs, and Gypsy tunes. Scribbled by imprisoned composers, musicians and singers on found objects such as toilet paper, wrappings and potato sacks were eventually smuggled out. His tedious search for these lost musical treasures led Mr. Lotoro to numerous survivors and their relatives, and to curious searches in unlikely places such as basements and attics during the course of 30 years.

Dr. Andai explained, “the horrific events that led to the creations of thousands of musical compositions from within the confines of the Holocaust is haunting and powerful. Thanks to Maestro Lotoro, our students will learn that so many people resorted to music as a source of hope and inspiration regardless of the tragedy surrounding them. Moreover, since music can be a direct conduit to the human soul, we now have the possibility to get an inside vantagepoint into the minds of those who composed these works and help us learn more about their emotional spirit and moods they were identifying with while composing, perhaps through rhythms, key signatures, articulation markings and meter.”
Having located and preserved the work has been an act of love for Lotoro, who was raised Roman Catholic and as a young adult, converted to Judaism. His goal is not only to arrange the work but, in some cases, complete some of the compositions in order to breathe life into them and “set them free.”

“From a pedagogical standpoint, knowing the context of these works makes studying them fascinating, and makes for endless possibilities when trying to understand the appalling conditions in which they were composing, continued Dr. Andai. “Also, the unknown questions that could only be answered by the few survivors still in existence that also teaches the students about the quality and precious gift of time and our use of it. In between what tasks were these compositions written, or how were annotation errors corrected? Through these works and Maestro Lotoro’s findings, the mind can race to learn more about ourselves and most importantly, that the arts can be found in every part of life, even in death.”

Francesco Lotoro is an Italian pianist, composer and musicologist. After graduating in piano at the "Niccolò Piccinni" Conservatory of Bari, Francesco Lotoro continued his piano studies with Kornél Zempléni and László Almásy at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and became a specialized piano player studying also with Viktor Merzhanov, Tamás Vásáry and Aldo Ciccolini. His activity has been focused on Johann Sebastian Bach: he transcribed The Musical Offering for two pianos, the Brandenburg Concertos, the Deutsche Messe and the Canons on the Goldberg ground, BWV 1087. He also reconstructed, performed and recorded the Christmas Oratorio for soloists, choir and piano by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Make Art Work [MAW] is designed to bring professionals in the art world together with students and the community for a dialogue on the business of art. The series will focus on providing tools, guidance and strategies for success to the next generation of artists and will expand understanding of what it takes to live as an artist in the twenty-first century. Each talk includes a question and answer session, allowing students and the public opportunities for direct communication with leaders in the art world.

A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative and academic development through a curriculum that reflects the rich multicultural state of Florida. With programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art, Dance, Music and Theater, NWSA offers four-year BFA and BM college degrees, as well as the high school diploma. Through its rigorous curriculum and conservatory-style teaching NWSA empowers its students to become leaders in the arts. New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts. It is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.