The Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit’s Lenore Marwil Detroit Jewish Film Festival and SAJE (Seminars for Adult Jewish Enrichment) program, in collaboration with Michigan State University College of Music, proudly present The Lost Rhapsody: A World War II Survival Story and Musical Legacy 

This uplifting World Premiere event begins with a screening of David Hoffert’s acclaimed documentary film, The Rhapsody, about composer and Holocaust survivor Leo Spellman who, at the age of 98, set out on a riveting and emotional journey towards artistic liberation.

The event at will include a pre-talk at 2:15 featuring Amy Simon, William and Audrey Farber Family Endowed Chair in Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History, MSU’s Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, James Madison College, and Department of History.

Immediately following the film will be a live performance of Leo Spellman’s 24-minute symphonic masterpiece, “Rhapsody 1939-1945.” MSU Symphony, conducted by Octavio Más- Arocas, Associate Professor of Music, Director of Orchestras, at Michigan State University, will perform the piece that was lost and forgotten for more than 50 years.

The program concludes with a talkback with the film’s producers, Paul and Brenda Hoffert, moderated by Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, CEO of The Zekelman Holocaust Center.

Unfolding like a thriller, The Rhapsody chronicles composer and Holocaust survivor Leo Spellman’s secret wartime diary and long-lost orchestral masterpiece in a framework that brings his remarkable tale of survival to life. His eighteen months in hiding, fueled by fear, heroic resistance, and raw guts, are portrayed through bold artwork and animation narrated by award- winning actor Stephen Fry. The documentary features concert performances in Canada and Poland, rare archival footage, and an uplifting finale that recognizes Spellman's legacy in the Polish town where he narrowly escaped death.

This remarkable program is made possible through a “Making Music Happen” grant from The Center for Arts and Culture at JCC Association, in collaboration with The J’s SAJE Program, Michael & Elaine Serling and The MSU Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, the Belle S. Harris and Julius N. Harris Endowed Distinguished Visiting Artists Fund in the College of Music at MSU, and The Zekelman Holocaust Center.


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