Paul Kling

Paul Kling. Violinist, teacher, born 27 Mar 1928 Opava, Czechoslovakia, died 2 Jan 2005 Victoria BC.

Early Life

He began violin at the age of four and gave his first solo appearance with orchestra at the age of seven in Vienna. A prodigy, his early career was cut short by World War II: as a teenager, he was deported to Theresienstadt (Terezin) concentration camp. Despite this being a labour camp, many prisoners were artists and musicians and a Leisure Time Committee was formed to coordinate musical activities. Kling was somehow able to continue playing and participated in musical activities which included chamber music and a performance of Victor Ullman's opera The Emperor of Atlantis, which received its official premier only in 1975, many years after the composer had perished in Auschwitz. Kling himself was sent to Auschwitz in 1944, and survived.

After the war, Kling pursued his musical career with determination, and made his debut in Prague playing the Brahms violin concerto as a sort notice replacement for an ailing soloist. He later fled Czechoslovakia for Austria, where he remained for the next few years. During this time he was concertmaster of an orchestra in Vienna, performed as soloist, and made several recordings.

Europe and the USA

Kling was recruited as concertmaster of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan (c 1952) and taught at the Tokyo University of Art. He held that position for some years, returning to Vienna in 1955 and continuing to concertize in Europe.

In 1957 he immigrated to the USA and became concertmaster of the Louisville Orchestra (Kentucky). He often performed as soloist with that orchestra including in such contemporary works as the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Op 21 by Easley Blackwood, and the Violin concerto by Frank Martin (composed 1950). During this period he taught at the University of Louisville and at Indiana University.

Canada

Kling moved to British Columbia in 1977 where he taught at the University of Victoria for some 20 years, and was later a Professor Emeritus and Director of the Music School (1980-87). He later taught violin at the University of British Columbia. In 1994, he served on the jury of the Eckhardt- Gramatté Competition for strings.

Among his projects in later life was educating others about music during the Holocaust and sharing information about his experiences in Terezin.

Selected Readings

Opfermann, Charlotte. The Art of Darkness (2002)

Wadler, Aleeza Nemirovsky, Strings in the Shadows: a portrait of three violinists at the Terezin concentration camp (2003)

Muller, Melissa and Reinhard Piechocki. A Garden of Eden in Hell: the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer (2007)