Michael R Caplan
Schoenberg’s Return
An Annual Commemoration of the Composer’s 1933 “Re-entry into the Community of Israel”


2nd Annual Event

First held in 2021, this commemorative event is a very personal tribute to Arnold Schoenberg's “Re-entry into the Community of Israel” in 1933. The composer's affirmation was witnessed by Rabbi Louis-Germain Lévy and Marc Chagall in Paris, and was intended as a public gesture in the face of the rapidly increasing antisemitism of the time. 

The text uses fragments of Schoenberg's writing, mostly from his opera Moses und Aron but also from other works and letters, along with very brief manipulated musical samples. The reading is followed by a discussion. 

I would like to integrate other performers into this year's version, executing some very simple tasks requiring no previous performance experience. Please contact House of ShAkE if you're interested in participating – thank you!

Register below


Welcome to Schoenberg’s Return, in commemoration of the great composer’s “Re-entry into the Community of Israel”, as he called his July 24th, 1933 reaffirmation of the Jewish faith. Like many Jews of his time, he had earlier converted to Protestantism (his baptism announcement is the first text in the following presentation), but in the face of rapidly growing antisemitism in Germany and Europe generally, he felt compelled to stand with his people. In my own humble, secular, aesthetic way, I’m both celebrating and appropriated his gesture with this little event.


I’m the furthest thing from an expert on Schoenberg, and admittedly often find his music challenging. But as a theatre person and singer who loves the beauty of the human voice, his development of Sprechstimme – “speaking-singing” – was a revelation to me. I have long sought a way to use this material, because putting something into a performance or other project is always my preferred means of learning. 

All that is associated with monotheism and the religions emerging from the Abrahamic source fascinates me and, I believe, underlies the most important conflicts in our increasingly global culture. Schoenberg’s impassioned meditations on questions of language, images, and truth are not only eloquent, but astonishing in their frankness and intellectual courage. 

Now on to Schoenberg’s Return. We’ll have some time to chat afterwards, if anyone wants to stick around. Thank you for being here! 

“Very powerful.”

David Earle

“I made the time to listen to your talk this morning and it touched me deeply. The information you shared and your personal connection to it, as well as how strongly those words resonate with you was very moving. I got chills listening to the recordings … Thank you.” 

Elvira Miletic

“it was amazing! … you integrated readings and music and visuals in such a powerful way, and of course the issues were very close to my heart. … i hope to participate live in the coming programs. congratulations.”

Dahn Hiuni

“This was a beautiful little program you put together.”

Liz Wagner

Jul 24, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. EDT