Kurt Weill Festival

Kurt Weill Festival: A Story of Immigration

Kurt Weill was the leading German opera composer of his generation before fleeing Hitler – and becoming a Broadway star. His saga has never been more timely or inspirational. We invite you to join the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the University at Buffalo this season as we explore his works, his life, and his times.

View the Kurt Weill Festival event brochure

Upcoming Events


Monday, April 8: “Sounds: Avant-Garde, Modernism, and Fascism,” 8:30 AM -5:00 PM, 250 Baird Recital Hall, University at Buffalo – North Campus

The point of departure for this symposium is the intersection of political upheaval, cultural criticism, and aesthetic experimentation, one specific to the first decades of the twentieth century but with undeniable echoes in today’s world. The symposium will explore music and sound, performance and spectatorship, in a variety of different geographical and national contexts, while seeking to foster interdisciplinary conversations across several fields of intellectual endeavor: literature, visual arts, architecture, dance, theater and stage design, film, and – most of all – music.
The symposium will feature guest speakers Kim Kowalke (Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music and Professor of Music and Chair of the College Music Department of the University of Rochester), Jacques Lezra (Professor and Chair in the Department of Hispanic Studies at University of California – Riverside) and Peter Szendy (David Herlihy Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature at Brown University). Register free of charge.


Thursday, May 2 – Sunday May 5: The Threepenny Opera, Drama Theater, UB Center for the Arts
7:30 PM on May 2 and 3; 2 PM and 7:30 PM on May 4; 2 PM on May 5
A milestone of 20th century music theatre, THE THREEPENNY OPERA reaches its 90th anniversary in 2018. This gripping, macabre
masterpiece, a criticism of capitalism and middle-class morality set in a world of corrupt money and unpunished evil, is one of the most produced works of music theatre worldwide. Weill’s celebrated score parodies operatic conventions and embraces the musical styles of jazz, period dance music, and cabaret. The work’s opening number, “The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” became one of the most popular songs of the 20th century. This newly conceived and designed full production with orchestra will be directed and music directed by Nathan R. Matthews.

February 9 – May 12:

Photographic Recall: Italian Rationalist Architecture in Contemporary German Art, UB Anderson Gallery, free of charge
Just as Weill and Brecht set out to redefine “opera,” the photographers of this exhibition explore critical visual languages to question the assumptions about the cultural and political ideologies of the 1920s through 1940s. Just like Weill and Brecht’s works, these images “dramatize,” they “perform” through compositional and formal choices the claims of an authoritarian regime and their repercussions today.
The resulting photographic works are examples of art as a critical medium.

Past Events

Tuesday, Oct. 30: Weill and Blitzstein: String Quartets, 7:30 PM, Kleinhans Music Hall
A quartet of BPO musicians perform Kurt Weill’s String Quartet No. 1 and Marc Blitzstein’s “Italian” String Quartet. This concert is also part of Kleinhans Centerstage, in which the audience sits onstage with the musicians.

Monday, Nov. 19: UB Department of Theatre and Dance Student Cabaret at 7:30 PM and 8:45 PM at Musicalfare Theater, 4380 Main St. Amherst, NY. 

Wednesday, January 16: Artists in Exile, Joseph Horowitz, 7 PM, JCC Holland Family Building, 787 Delaware Ave. Joseph Horowitz explores patriotic musical responses to WWII — specifically, the attack on Pearl Harbor and FDR’s declaration of war — by two Jewish refugee composers: Kurt Weill and Arnold Schoenberg. Through audio and video clips, Horowitz will examine how Weill became a super-patriot while Schoenberg remained ambivalent about his adopted nation.

Friday, March 8: Humanities to the Rescue: An Evening with Molly Crabapple, UB Humanities Institute, venue and ticketing TBD
Through her illustrated journalism, painting, and collaborations with cultural and political influencers such as Jay Z, Matt Taibbi, and Spike Jonze, Molly Crabapple tackles the injustices of our time with an arsenal of weapons comprised of pens, brushes, and words. Her work has taken her to Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, The United Arab Emirates, Spain, Greece, Guantanamo Bay, and recently Port Isabel in South Texas where she encountered numerous challenges from ICE officials.

Thursday, March 28: Degenerate Music: Weill, Eisler and Schoenberg, 7:30 PM, Baird Recital Hall
Featuring Tiffany Du Mouchelle, soprano; Jonathan Golove, cello; Eric Huebner, piano; and special guest Kathrein Allenberg, violin.
The program includes Weill’s Cello Sonata and Seven Pieces from The Threepenny Opera; Eisler’s Duo Op. 7 and “14 Way of Describing Rain;” and cabaret songs of Weill and Schoenberg.