Singing in the Lion’s Mouth: Music as Resistance to Genocide
An International Symposium

Singing in the Lion’s Mouth: Music as Resistance to Genocide
An International Symposium

Sunday, October 11, 2015
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Forum Room, Ronald Tutor Campus Center
University Park Campus

Admission is free. Reservations requested. RSVP beginning Thursday, September 17, at 9 a.m.


Can music resound against violent oppression? To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, a two-day series of events will consider the role of music in resisting violence and raising consciousness.

In an international academic symposium, speakers will discuss how music has been used as a tool of resistance during the Holocaust, the Armenian and Indonesian genocides, Apartheid-era South Africa, and elsewhere.

Schedule of Events:
8 a.m.: Coffee and pastries
9 a.m. to 1:05 p.m.: Panel discussions
1:05 p.m.: Lunch
2 to 5 p.m.: Panel discussions
Concert to follow at 7:30 p.m. at the Alfred Newman Recital Hall

About the Presenters:

Alexandra Birch is a PhD candidate at Arizona State University. She will discuss Jewish themes in the music of Soviet state composer Dmitri Shostakovich as acts of resistance to the anti-Semitism of late Stalinism.

Janie Cole is a visiting professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Dr. Cole will discuss music as a critical force of resistance to violence in the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa, focusing on how the evolution of music paralleled the evolution of the struggle itself.

Tina Frühauf is an adjunct professor at The Graduate Center at CUNY who proposes a nuanced approach to the study of music making during the Holocaust as an act of resistance, proposing that the concept of resistance needs to be defined, contextualized, and its application (re)considered on a case by case basis.

Matt Lawson, a PhD candidate at Edge Hill University in the United Kingdom, researches how music functions on the big screen as a resistance to genocide. (Twitter)

Sandya Maulana, a professor of English at Universitas Padjadjaran in Indonesia, will discuss “Gendjer-gendjer,” a song synonymous with the Indonesian Communist Party, as a continued site of contention about Indonesia’s past and the violence of Suharto’s regime in the late 1960s.

Barbara Milewski is a musicologist who was awarded her PhD from Princeton University and is currently an associate professor of music at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. A Polish music specialist, she has lectured extensively on Chopin and folk music, and music of the concentration camps. Recently she has explored narratives of Polish/Jewish identity in the music of Polish films created during the first half of the twentieth century. Her scholarship has appeared in 19th-century Music, Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 19th-century Music Review, and Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Bret Werb curates the music collection at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Werb will discuss the various strategies ghetto songwriters employed to circumvent censorship, disseminate subversive ideas, and encourage acts of disobedience.

Related Events:
Singing in the Lion’s Mouth—Screenings

Saturday, October 10, 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The Ray Stark Family Theatre, School of Cinematic Arts 108
For more info, click here.

Singing in the Lion’s Mouth—Concert
Sunday, October 11, 7:30 p.m.
Alfred Newman Recital Hall
For more info, click here.

Organized by Wolf Gruner (Jewish Studies and History), Nick Strimple (Music), and the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research in collaboration with the USC Thornton School of Music.