A production of Papers Please Inc.


                               playing for life


Left to Right: Stanislava Varshavski, Michael Levin, Nora Jean Levin, Diana Shapiro, Kenneth Hoffman

On May 29, 2022 the acclaimed Varshavski-Shapiro piano duo rejoined descendants of the show’s main characters for the first open-air performance and opening performance of the Minnie Untermyer 2022 Concert Series,  Two Pianos: Playing for Life, presented by Papers Please Inc. in the Untermyer Gardens Amphitheater -- a walled garden symbolizing earthly paradise.


With additional classical music selections and enhanced audio-visual capabilities, our multi-media production recreated performances of two Jewish pianists -- Anna (Burstein) Bieler-Suwalski and Halina (Neuman) Schulsinger -- who played for Jewish-only audiences in 1930s Germany under the umbrella of the little-known Jewish Culture League, which provided thousands of dismissed “non-Aryan” performers employment during that dark era.  Weaving vivid  connections between seismic world events, taped family interviews, progressive reform lawyer Samuel Untermyer, its protagonists’ divergent paths during and after WWII, and the parallel stories of pianists Varshavski and Shapiro today, it once more showcased the power of music and the decent acts of good people to defy despair and cultural exclusion.  With human rights once more under brutal attack in the U.S., Ukraine, and around the world, it continues to resonate.

Welcome: Stephen Byrns, President, Untermyer Gardens Conservancy

Introductions; Backstory

Russian Dance from Petrushka

  Igor Stravinsky

Varshavski-Shapiro adaptation)

o 1926:  At the Leipzig Conservatory 

o 1927: A Beethoven Concert on Mt. Scopus 

o April 1933: Germany: Jews not welcome; Jerusalem: A dedication ceremony; New York: A call for a global boycott

o 1934-36: Two-pianos concerts for the Judischĕ Kulturbund

Waltz from Suite for 2 Pianos, Op. 15, No. 1 

        Anton Arensky

Allegro con Spirito from D Major Sonata for 2 pianos, K. 448

      Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

*Romance and Tarantella from Suite No. 2, Op. 17 for 2 pianos 

             Sergei Rachmaninoff

o After 1936:  Destruction and renewal: the power of music 

Mazurka, Op. 63, No. 2 (‘The Fall of Warsaw’)

              Frederic Chopin 

*Variations on a Theme by Paganini 

                                                                                                                     Witold Lutoslawski

o Audience Q & A


*Musical Selection Premiere for this performance

Full Performance and Q&A Untermyer Gardens DVD: $20.00 + shipping