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Grant number: FEL-258023-18

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Carla J. Shapreau
University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA 94704-5940)

Orpheus Lost: The Nazi-Era Plunder of Music in Europe

Preparation for publication of a book and digital resource about the Nazi confiscation of musical instruments, books, and manuscripts in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Nazi era resulted in the most catastrophic plunder of all things musical this world has known. Rare musical autographs and manuscripts, printed music, books, musical instruments, and musicalia were looted and displaced. Among these objects were the master works of violin maker Antonio Stradivari, the medieval codex by France’s most important 14th-century composer, Guillaume de Machaut, and thousands of musical works that were torn from their owners and the fabric of culture. This NEH Fellowship grant proposal is for support to write a manuscript for the book, Orpheus Lost, under contract with Yale University Press, which will reconstruct the history of these musical hostages of war, the lives tethered to these cultural objects, and why this history matters today.

Project fields:
Cultural History; European History; Music History and Criticism


Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018