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Total Tyberg Premiere features music once thought to be lost

On Tuesday, Buffalo will be host to the world premiere of the Piano Trio in F Major, written some 70 years earlier by composer Marcel Tyberg, who perished in the Holocaust.

The concert, to be held in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall, will be performed by violinist Michael Ludwig, concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic; cellist Roman Mekinulov, principal cellist of the BPO; and Boston-based pianist Ya-Fei Chuang. The program will also include Mendelssohn's Trio in C minor, Op. 66.

Buffalo, it turns out, has become the epicenter of the re-emergence of Tyberg's music, all of which was once presumed to have been lost, so here is a reminder of how this all came about.

When Tyberg died in 1944 at age 51, he was a promising composer living in the Northern Adriatic region around Fiume. His Symphony No. 2 had already been premiered by Rafael Kubelik and the Prague Philharmonic, but Tyberg had become quite introverted. He loved to perform and to compose, but he shied away from publicity. It is bitterly ironic that even though he was only one-sixteenth Jewish, the occupying Nazi authorities still herded him off to Auschwitz.

Tyberg may not have sought the limelight, but he was nevertheless very protective of his life's work. Before his deportation, Tyberg entrusted all his scores to Dr. Milan Mihich, a close family friend. He, in turn, bequeathed this treasure to his son, Dr. Enrico Mihich, who, in 1957, came to Buffalo to found and direct the Cancer Drug Center at Roswell Park Institute.

After earlier unsuccessful attempts to get Tyberg's symphonies, sonatas, songs and chamber music performed and publicized, Dr. Mihich finally found enthusiastic and influential allies in Buffalo Philharmonic Music Director JoAnn Falletta and in Peter Fleischmann, director of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies.

Together they have established a Tyberg Musical Legacy Fund, and the introduction of Tyberg's music to the world is now under way. As information about Tyberg has spread, requests to perform his music have been received from all around the world, but the local brain trust is trying to keep as many Tyberg premieres as possible here in Buffalo.

Since Tyberg is so little known, it is very heartening to find musicians and listeners warming enthusiastically to the sound of his music, rather than just finding its re-emergence to be of historical interest.

The first works to be premiered were Tyberg's two piano sonatas, performed in Temple Beth Zion in March 2006.

Privately, word coming out of the rehearsals for Tuesday's performance of the Piano Trio in F Major suggest that the artists are equally enthralled by the quality of Tyberg's music. It's a three-movement work whose expressive markings are: Allegro maestoso; Adagio non troppo; and Rondo, allegro con fuoco.

Next in line will be Tyberg's 1932 Sextet for two violins, two violas, cello and contrabass, now scheduled for a premiere next fall by BPO musicians.

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PREVIEW

WHAT: A Duo of Trios, featuring world premiere of the Piano Trio in F Major by Marcel Tyberg

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Mary Seaton Room, Kleinhans Music Hall

TICKETS: $20 adults, $10 students

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