Ruth Kisch-Arendt became one of Germany’s foremost performers of lieder—nineteenth–century allegorical poems set to music—through the intense period of anti-Semitism leading up to the Holocaust, then used her talents to highlight great Jewish composers after WWII. An Orthodox Jew, Kisch-Arendt studied music in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, and performed the works of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Wagner to rapt audiences. She was widely praised for bringing emotion and vitality to what could often be very cerebral songs. In the late 1920s she sang at the Niederrheinisch Festival in Cologne, the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, and the Hamburg Centenary Festival. But after the rise of Nazism, Kisch-Arendt joined the Jewish Kulturbund in 1933 and turned her attention to Jewish audiences. She immigrated to New York in 1938 and performed at various music festivals, including the New York Festival of Jewish Art in 1941. In 1945 she broke from her usual repertoire to showcase four centuries of Jewish composers. She followed this in 1948 with debut performances of Frederick Jacobi’s Vocalise and Irwin Heilner’s The Traveler.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Kisch-Arendt." (Viewed on June 25, 2018) <https://jwa.org/people/kisch-arendt-ruth>.