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UC Berkeley Press Release

College of Letters & Science launches new series with author and former NPR classical music host Martin Goldsmith

– The inaugural lecture for a free, public series from the University of California, Berkeley's College of Letters & Science will feature Martin Goldsmith, an author and the former host of a classical music public radio program.

Goldsmith will join Ralph Hexter, UC Berkeley dean of arts and humanities and professor of classics and comparative literature, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, at the Durham Studio Theater on campus to discuss Goldsmith's 2002 book, "The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany."

The book recounts the story "of music and courage and persistence and luck" of Goldsmith's parents, German-Jewish musicians who met in the Nazi-sponsored Jewish Cultural Association's orchestra in the 1930s. While Goldsmith's parents escaped the Holocaust in 1941, most of their relatives and friends died with 6 million others in Hitler's death camps.

Jews, who had been summarily dismissed from arts organizations across Germany, founded the Kulturbund, as it was called in German. While providing Jewish musicians and artists venues in which to perform, it was also used by the Nazis for propaganda purposes. The Kulturbund was criticized for encouraging Jews to ignore the desperate circumstances outside their own tight-knit community. Its performances offered Jewish audiences temporary solace and hope that proved false and often fatal.

The director of classical music programming for XM Satellite Radio in Washington, D.C., Goldsmith also is a former host of National Public Radio's "Performance Today." His latest book is "The Beatles Come to America." Before his evening lecture, Goldsmith will visit several classes to talk with students.

As the series unfolds, "The College Presents" will highlight prominent scholars, scientists, thinkers, artists and leaders in many fields on topics of broad appeal. Events will include panel discussions, interviews, performances, lectures or a combination.

"Our goal is for the series to feature influential thinkers addressing issues that are both provocative and relevant to the public," says Hexter, who also serves as the College's executive dean. "'The College Presents' offers the community an opportunity to sample the intellectual vitality, diversity, and excellence of UC Berkeley's liberal arts college."

Selections for the series will rotate among the five divisional deans within the college who are responsible for guiding it in the arts and humanities, social sciences, biological sciences, physical sciences and interdisciplinary studies.

The College of Letters & Science is the largest of 14 colleges and professional schools at UC Berkeley. The college accounts for more than half the campus's faculty, three-quarters of its undergraduate students, and almost half of its Ph.D. students.

The Durham Studio Theater is located in the circle off Frank Schlessinger Way, to the rear of Dwinelle Hall and across from Dwinelle Annex.

More information about the series is online.