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Mr. Joseph Toltz

Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Fellow
"Musical Testimony in the Holocaust"

Professional Background

Joseph Toltz is a Ph.D. candidate at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the University of Sydney (Australia), and has just submitted his dissertation. He received a Bachelor of Music degree (summa cum laude) and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Sydney. For his Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Fellowship, Mr. Toltz conducted research for his project, “Musical Testimony in the Holocaust.”

Mr. Toltz is the author of several publications, including, “‘Dragged into the Dance’- The Role of Kraftwerk in the Development of Techno-funk: An Exploration of the Relationship between Kraftwerk and Afrika Bambaataa through the Works Planet Rock, Trans-Europe Express and Numbers” in Kraftwerk: Music Non-Stop (2010), “Illness” in Spirited Practices (2007), “Music, an Active Tool of Deception?: The Case of Brundibár in Terezín” in Context (2004), and “Peter Sculthorpe” in Siglo (1995). Mr. Toltz has presented his research at a variety of conferences and panels, including the international conference Music and Morality (University of London 2009); Aftermath (2010) – the first international conference on the Holocaust in Australia; and the 2008 and 2005 National Conferences of the Musicological Society of Australia. In addition, Mr. Toltz has won several awards and scholarships, including the Kath O’Neill Scholarship (2008), the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Community Scholarship (2007) and the Australian Postgraduate Award (2006-2009).

Fellowship Research

During his tenure at the Center, Mr. Toltz researched musical experience and memory in Jewish Holocaust survivors. His research focused on the place of music within testimony. In the 55 interviews he undertook with survivors, focus was placed on musical experiences from childhood background through to times in ghettos, camps, in hiding, under false identity or in partisan groups. Mr. Toltz approached the topic of musical testimony through two specific Museum resources – examining the musical recordings attached to the Boder Collection and assessing the place of music within this early testimonial project; and specifically focused on the musical experiences of Terezín survivors and the extensive archival holdings of the Museum.

Mr. Toltz was in residence at the Mandel Center from December 1, 2010 to May 30, 2011.