Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates international release of Tyberg recording

Buffalo, NY – The music of Marcel Tyberg was nearly lost forever, but thanks to the determination of one of his students, the dedication of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the support of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies and Naxos Records, the second recording of Tyberg’s works has just been released.

Tyberg was a musician, teacher and composer who lived in Abbazio, Italy, in the early twentieth century. He earned his primary living by taking on students and writing pieces for the local dance band, but his true passion was the composition of symphonies and chamber music. Tyberg had Jewish ancestry, and began to fear for his safety as Italy fell under German control during World War II. He entrusted his scores to his student and friend, Henri Mihich, for safekeeping. His fears came true when he was deported to Auschwitz, where he died in December 1944.

Mihich’s family fled the turmoil in Abbazio for the United States. As an adult, Mihich settled in Buffalo, NY, where he became a doctor at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Over the course of several decades, Mihich tried to interest various BPO music directors and guest conductors in performing Tyberg’s music. By the time JoAnn Falletta took the helm in 1999, Mihich was getting worried that the music would never be performed, but tried one last time and scheduled a meeting with her.

“I discovered a treasure – music that, while honored the past Germanic tradition, pointed the way to a new era. The language was strong, individual and compelling,” said Falletta. It took months of work to arrive at playable versions of the faded, crumbling scores.

The work paid off, though. Naxos agreed to mount a multi-year recording project of Tyberg’s work. The first disc featured Tyberg’ Symphony No. 3 and his piano trio. It was released in 2010 to strong reviews. Requests for the scores began to pour in from groups all over the world that heard the story and were interested in performing Tyberg’s work.

Probably the most exciting request came from the Croatian government. After World War II, Abbazio became part of Croatia and is now known as Opatija. The Croatian government wished to claim Tyberg as their national composer. In November 2012, they held a festival in Rijeka to honor Tyberg. Falletta conducted the Croatian National Symphony in a performance of Tyberg’s Symphony No. 2 in a concert attended by the president of Croatia, among other luminaries.

Tyberg’s Symphony No. 2 is featured on the BPO’s newest Naxos recording, which has a worldwide release date of Aug. 27. Also on the recording is Tyberg’s Piano Sonata No. 2, performed by Van Cliburn Competition finalist Fabio Bidini.

The recording is available for pre-order and for digital download at naxos.com and amazon.com. The CD will be available at the BPO box office and at bpo.org.