Workshop: Death and Thyme (Tod und Thymian): Thomas Bernhard, Austria's Enfant Terrible


When: Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 12:30 - 2:00 pm
Where: UNO Library, Room 431, The University of New Orleans


Günter Bischof,
Director, Center Austria
University of New Orleans

Yotam Haber,
Virginia Kock Endowed Assistant Professor of Music
University of New Orleans


Yotam Haber,
Virginia Kock Endowed Assistant Professor of Music
University of New Orleans

Michael Haider,
Director Austrian Cultural Forum, New York

Peter Höyng,
Associate Professor of German
Emory University, Atlanta

From left: Guenter Bischof, Michael Haider, Yotam Haber, Peter Hoeng, Gregor Thuswaldner.

From left: Guenter Bischof, Michael Haider, Yotam Haber, Peter Hoeng, Gregor Thuswaldner.

Gregor Thuswaldner,
Dean of Arts and Sciences
North Park University, Chicago

Günter Bischof is the Marshall Plan Chair of History and the Director of Center Austria: The Austrian Marshall Plan Center for European Studies. He is the author and (co)editor of many books. His latest book Towards the American Century: Austrians in the United States, accompanying an exhibit of the same name at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, will be published by UNO Press in the spring of 2019.

Yotam Haber’s music, hailed by New Yorker critic Alex Ross as “deeply haunting,” Yotam is the recipient of a 2017 Koussevitzky Commission, a 2013 Fromm Music Foundation commission, the 2007 Rome Prize and a 2005 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. In 2015, Haber’s first monographic album of chamber music, Torus, was hailed by New York’s WQXR as "a snapshot of a soul in flux – moving from life to the afterlife, from Israel to New Orleans – a composer looking for a sound and finding something powerful along the way." He is currently working on his first opera, about the life and work of Thomas Bernhard with librettist Royce Vavrek for the 92Y (2020). Haber is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of New Orleans and Artistic Director Emeritus of MATA. His music is published by RAI Trade.

Michael Haider is the newly appointed director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. Having joined the Austrian Foreign Service in 1999, he became an expert in restitution and Holocaust related issues. His previous assignments include positions in press and culture at the Austrian embassies in Belgrade and Prague. From 2007 to 2011 he was director of the Austrian Cultural Forum Tokyo. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Vienna and enjoys close ties to the Austrian theater scene.

Peter Höyng focuses on German literature and culture since 1750. Höyng’s research centers thematically around four distinct areas: (1) genre-wise, he predominantly explores dramatic texts within its performative contexts; (2) geographically, his research tilts towards cultural creations emanating from Austria; (3) topically, he pursues the works of assimilated German-Jewish figures; and (4) the interaction between literature and classical music as evident in his ongoing research on Beethoven’s intellectual interests. He has published three essays on Thomas Bernhard in the Journal of Austrian Studies and the German Quarterly.

Gregor Thuswaldner is Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Humanities at North Park University in Chicago. In his publications and presentations on Thomas Bernhard, he has explored Bernhard’s critique of Austria, his ambiguous relationship towards Catholicism, as well as Bernhard’s influence on contemporary English-speaking authors.

Thomas Bernhard (Feb. 9, 1931 – Feb. 12, 1989)

Bernhard was an Austrian novelist, playwright and poet. Bernhard's body of work has been called "the most significant literary achievement since World War II." He is widely considered to be one of the most important German-speaking authors of the postwar era. He grew up in the Salzburg region, did an apprenticeship in a grocer’s shop and trained at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Often criticized in Austria as a “Nestbeschmutzer” (somebody dirtying his own nest) for his critical views, Bernhard was highly acclaimed abroad. Nevertheless, while reviled by some Austrians for his outspoken and harsh views of his homeland, including its Nazi past, he was, during his lifetime, also highly acclaimed in Austria, winning a number of major awards. He was seen by many as the pre-eminent writer of the time. He wrote many novels including Wittgenstein's Nephew (1982) and plays – most famous among them Heldenplatz (1988), a play on the Anschluss in 1938 – most translated into English and many other languages.