Band director revives music from Holocaust

By J. Adrian Aumen, College of Arts & Sciences

troy-bennefieldPULLMAN, Wash. – Spirited music by a young Jewish composer who died at Auschwitz in 1944 was performed this year for the first time thanks to the research and efforts of Troy Bennefield, Washington State University assistant professor of music and director of the WSU Cougar Marching Band.

At age 25, Dick Kattenburg was a rising young star on the Amsterdam music scene. Bennefield began last summer to research Kattenburg’s life and music, scouring the Internet for clues and traveling to the Netherlands to examine documents housed at the National Archives in The Hague.

There, among dozens of Kattenburg’s handwritten manuscripts and personal correspondence, Bennefield found the pieces of an unfinished composition for woodwind quintet and a second goal for his research: to record a performance of the work and engrave the score for posterity.

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