Project information

The Orchestras of Auschwitz

Memorialising the Jews and musicians imprisoned and forced into orchestras in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Constella OperaBallet give life to hidden musical compositions from the Auschwitz archives in this new work transmitting the history of the Holocaust to the next generation.

December 2017 - December 2018

Charity information: Constella OperaBallet

Constella OperaBallet logo
  • Need


    In Auschwitz, some musician inmates were saved from imminent death or slave labour and forced to form orchestras. In conversation with the Deputy Head of Archives at Auschwitz-Birkenau this year, Constella OperaBallet learned that some of the music composed for the orchestras remains in the Auschwitz archives. These scores have barely been touched, or performed, since the camp was evacuated in 1945. As the number of Holocaust survivors diminishes, stories and memories are increasingly lost.


    Constella OperaBallet seeks to give life to these hidden musical compositions by incorporating them into a new work commissioned in memory of the historian Sir Martin Gilbert, thus transmitting the history of the Holocaust to the next generation.
    This piece will form the genesis of a new opera-ballet with music reconstructed and re-imagined by Leo Geyer (Artistic Director of Constella OperaBallet and conductor with The Royal Ballet) and with libretto written by Ella Marchment and Anna Whyatt.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Give life to forgotten music in a new of remembrance


    » Incorporate scores written in Auschwitz into the new opera-ballet

    What success will look like

    Forgotten music is enfolded into the new musical score.

    Aim 2

    Raise awareness about the Holocaust


    » Performances for the public to attend
    » Create digital content for online engagement

    What success will look like

    2,000 people attend the live performances, and 10,000 engaged online through radio/TV broadcasts, production videos, interviews, photos, press articles and reviews.

    Aim 3

    Challenging prejudice and reducing hatred


    » Free performances for School Children
    » Talks for School Children promoting positive attitudes, personal responsibility and respect for others.

    What success will look like

    4,000 children attend school’s performances and talks

  • Impact


    The forgotten music will be collected, preserved and showcased for future generations to engage with.

    12,000 people will have engaged with the Holocaust, helping to prevent similar acts of hatred to occur again. The profile of the performances and reach of digital content, will provide a springboard for Constella to tour internationally and reach further audiences. Krakow Opera are interested in hosting the European Premiere following the UK premiere.


    Due to the sensitivity of the subject it is important that we treat the stories and music with respect. Any false or distorted presentations could cause a backlash from the Holocaust survivors and historians. To overcome this, we have partned with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Wiener Library and Jewish Music Institute. We have also been in continuous consolation with survivors and Holocaust experts.


    Donors to this project will receive a monthly email report on the project

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £160,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £80,000 Artist Fees Commission fees, filming and performer's fees.
      £10,000 Production Materials Set, Costume, Make-up
      £40,000 Performance Venues Theatre hire
      £10,000 Marketing Employment of PR company and Marketing materials
      £20,000 Travel & Accommodation For Artists when on tour
  • Background


    We will be doing a national tour to all the major cities in the UK.


    Survivors of the Holocaust who will see their stories preserved and showcased to the general public. All audience members (including children), will benefit from Holocaust awareness.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We were founded in 2011 and have given over 60 performances across the UK including broadcasts on radio and television. The Constella company comprises of the some of the UK’s finest artists who work with some of the major opera and ballet companies across the World.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Leo Geyer

    Artistic Director - Composing and Conducting for production

    Ella Marchment

    Director of Productions - Writer and Director for production

    Anna Whyatt

    Project Director & Dramturg - Writer and Dramaturg for production