A Catholic composer who was murdered at Auschwitz

A Catholic composer who was murdered at Auschwitz


norman lebrecht

April 12, 2018

On Holocaust memorial day, JoAnn Falletta, has been telling the story of Marcel Tyberg, a devout Croatian Catholic who was murdered by the Nazis and remained unknown until one of his students delivered his music to the Buffalo music director.

One day, maybe a couple of years after I became music director;  I remember it was a terribly rainy day in Buffalo, and I got off the stage after rehearsal and standing at the door of my dressing room was this older gentleman, just drenched, wearing a raincoat, dripping water, carrying a shopping bag. I had never met him before.

It was Dr. Enrico Mihich [the son of Milan Mihich].
He said, “I have to speak to you. It’s very important.” He was the kind of person, when he said it was very important, you listened to him.

We went into my dressing room.  He told me that story. He said, I know this is wonderful music. It’s great music.  It needs to be played.  I’ve tried with every music director and they haven’t been able to do it.

I looked at the music and I knew why they said no. It was almost illegible. The score had been handwritten, the pages were frayed, pieces were missing. It was almost impossible to read this European handwriting.

Read on here.




  • Larry says:

    A wonderful story and brava to Maestra Falletta for rescuing this music.

  • John Borstlap says:

    I’m sure the real reason other MD’s ‘have not been able’ to perform it, is that it concerned something they did not know already beforehand.

  • Byrwec Ellison says:

    So sorry to read of the death of Enrico Mihich (custodian of Marcel Tyberg’s music). I reached out to Dr. Mihich a year before he died to learn how to get hold of scores and performance materials for the Tyberg symphonies, which really do have a strong tie to Bruckner and Mahler on evidence of the Falletta/Buffalo recordings. He said the Tyberg Project was then in negotiation with Boosey & Hawkes (Berlin) to publish his music, though to date, it hasn’t appeared in Boosey’s online catalogue or on the Zinfonia music publisher portal. The Buffalo Philharmonic performances won’t be the last word on Marcel Tyberg, I’m sure. JoAnn Falletta deserves high praise for saying yes to Dr. Mihich’s entreaty and for her dedication in resurrecting Tyberg’s (almost) lost music.

  • Richard Sparks says:

    And a recording of the Tyberg masses: