Each year, the Jewish Studies Program offers the Gideon Klein Award to a student from any major to create an original work, prepare a performance or complete research related to music or musicians of the Holocaust. The award honors the memory of Gideon Klein, pianist and composer, who was imprisoned in Terezin and other concentration camps until his death in 1945. Klein inspired other musicians to share and compose their music with others during the most challenging of circumstances. The award was established at Northeastern in 1997 by Professor Bill Giessen in memory of his mother Gustel Cormann Giessen. This year Zachary Richmond received the Gideon Klein Award for his project on the use of jazz music during the Holocaust.
After studying the use of jazz music during the Holocaust in Professor Francesca Inglese’ Music and the Racial Imagination class, he wanted to explore the topic and his heritage further. The grant will allow the fourth year Music Industry major to explore how qualities associated with jazz music align with free identity and how the Nazi’s used jazz music to alleviate fears from those not associated with the concentration camps. The Nazi’s would often use jazz music to manipulate public perception of what living in the concentration camps was really like. Through his research, Zachary hopes to provide the Northeastern community with a unique perspective into life in the concentration camps.
“I’ve gotten everything I wanted out of Northeastern, and this grant will help me further explore my academic side,” added Zachary.
In addition to Zack’s current research, he has also completed a co-op at The Harry Fox Agency in New York and an internship with the Universal Picture Film’s Music Department. When not on co-op Zack is an active member of many music organizations on campus, most notably the Fusion Ensemble. Zack has loved his time with the ensemble because the music challenges him both physically and mentally and has made connections with a diverse group of peers and faculty.
As an avid drummer since fourth grade, Zack knew he wanted to continue his love of drumming in college, but wanted to explore other disciplines as well. The Music Industry program exposes students to all aspects of music from songwriting, recording, production, technology label operations, promotion, marketing, management, finance, economics, legal issues, licensing, and intellectual property. This was perfect for Zack and he has been able to build off his skills and passion for the profession in his co-ops.
Zack has immersed himself in the full Northeastern experience – from co-op experiences and research opportunities to rigorous academics, he has truly done it all. With just one semester before his graduation, Zack reflected on his time at Northeastern and shared this advice to current and prospective students: “Invest yourself in the work and enjoy the academic side and apply yourself. Professors want to help and develop their students and you should definitely take advantage of that,” concluded Zack.