Juilliard in World War II

A few months ago, we asked readers about their ties with the military and got a great response. In this issue, we look at Juilliard’s World War II connections 70 years after the war ended (Germany surrendered in May; Japan in August). Hundreds of students and alums (and presumably some faculty members) served in the military then or helped the war effort by entertaining troops. You can read about some of their experiences—recounted then and now—in this issue.

Jerome Wigler Reminisces

Jerome Wigler (Diploma ’41, violin) landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as a Medical Corps medic, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, was wounded in Belgium, and received a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars. Read more about his time in the war—and as the longest-serving musician in the Philadelphia Orchestra.​

Holocaust Memorial Concert

To mark the 70th anniversary of Germany’s surrender, David Lisker (M.M. ’10, violin) has organized a concert called Echoes of Hope at Merkin Hall on May 9. The program will feature the music of nine Jewish composers, eight of whom perished in concentration camps. The real tragedy of the war is “not simply the murder of countless people,” Lisker told The Journal, “but that so many bright talents were not allowed the opportunity to realize their potential, depriving humanity of whatever might have been. I firmly believe that if some of these composers had survived the Holocaust, they would be regarded among the greatest composers of the 20th century.” That said, Lisker designed the program “not to depress the audience, but rather to inspire them and give them a chance to appreciate each composer solely for his contributions independent of the fact that he was in the Holocaust.”

The composers are Erwin Schulhoff, Gideon Klein, Hans Krasa, Robert Dauber, Viktor Ullmann, Carlo Taube, Ilse Weber, Pavel Haas, and Mieczyslaw Weinberg. The musicians, in addition to Lisker, are Regi Papa (M.M. ’10, violin), violist Cong Wu, Michael Katz (M.M. ’11, cello), pianist Renana Gutman, and soprano Meredith Lustig (BM ’09, MM ’11, voice).

Tuskegee airman

Susan Jackson

World War II veterans and Juilliard alums LeRoy Battle and Milton Fink both fought segregation in the armed ...More
VVV News

Susan Jackson

Excerpts from Juilliard's wartime newsletter reveal the experiences of Juilliard's students and alumni on the front lines of ...More
Juilliard at West Point in 1941

Juilliard Archives

Juilliard musicians played several concerts at West Point during World War II.More
Lake Placid Club
Juilliard alum Milton Fink reminisces about trying to integrate the military and frozen sousaphone valves at FDR's funeral.More