Ullman, Viktor

views updated


ULLMAN, VIKTOR (d. 1944), theater conductor and composer. Ullman studied under *Schoenberg in Vienna. Among his compositions were two operas, a piano concerto and much chamber music.

Ullman was arrested by the Nazis, imprisoned in Theresienstadt and murdered at Auschwitz in about 1944. While in Theresienstadt, he wrote an opera entitled The Emperor of Atlantis, but it was never performed since the Nazis realized its anti-Hitler implications and banned its performance. It was thought that the work had perished with the author, but a mutilated copy turned up in London. It had been written on scraps of paper, including the backs of Theresinstadt entrance forms. A young British composer, Kerry Woodward, succeeded in piecing it together, except for six bars which had disappeared; he therefore composed new ones. The text was written by a Czechoslovakian Jew, Peter Kien, who perished in Theresienstadt. The opera, written in German, had its world premiere in Amsterdam in 1975. The American premiere was performed in San Francisco by the Spring Opera on Apr. 21, 1977, in an English version translated by Aaron Kramer.