Participant Biographies


Nicholas Alexander Brown, conductor,  is the music director and founder of the Irving Fine Society Singers and Ensemble, and Boston Unhinged Chamber Players. He is honored to take part in these historic performances which are re-launching the music and legacy of Edwin Geist, and his place in 20th Century music. Nicholas is the Assistant Conductor of the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra and a conductor with Boston Opera Collaborative. He has conducted ensembles such as the Valley Forge Military Academy & College Regimental Band and Regimental Choir, Newton South High School Symphonic Band, Orchestra, and Choruses, and the New England Conservatory Youth Repertory Orchestra, performing at NEC's Jordan Hall. His conducting teachers and mentors include Jeffrey Rink, Dr. James Olesen, Neal Hampton, and Stephen Czarkowski. Also a French horn player, Nicholas serves in the Massachusetts Army National Guard as a member of the 215th Army Band. He also sings in the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the official chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, having performed under James Levine, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and Keith Lockhart. Nicholas is a member of the Conductor's Guild, serving on the 2009 Annual Conference Planning Committee.

Klaus Harer (born 1961) holds a doctorate in Slavic Studies and Musicology. Dr.  Harer is the Deputy Director of the German Cultural Forum Eastern Europe ( in Potsdam, Germany.  On behalf of the Cultural Forum Harer produced and wrote the text for the  award-winning CD and brochure "Edwin Geist 1902-1942. Chamber Music and Songs" (Potsdamer Bibliothek oestliches Europa, 2007). He has been influential in giving Edwin Geist’s music the recognition he deserves and  has encouraged performances by contributing to and organizing concerts in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, and now the USA

Reinhard Kaiser is an award-winning author of numerous works of fiction and non fiction, and a translator, who lives in Frankfurt, Germany. Unerhoerthe Rettung, Die Suche nach Edwin Geist (Incredible Rescue. The Search for Edwin Geist) was the result of years of committed research to recreate the tragic life and love of Edwin Geist and his wife Lyda. In his quest, he traveled through Germany, Lithuania and Switzerland, interviewed the few eyewitnesses still alive, and compiled a book that summarizes the documentation and works known in 2004. The book actually tells the story of two incredible rescues: first that of Lyda's rescue in the midst of the Nazi terror that allowed the couple at least a few more months of living together; second, the posthumous recovery of Geist's artistic legacy. The previous book "Dies Kind Soll Leben" (This Child Must Live)  in collaboration with Margarete Hoffman, won the Geschwister Scholl prize and also contains much of the story of Edwin and Lyda. However, it was Paper Kisses. A True Love Story, his book about the romance of a Jewish German geologist and a Swedish woman during the Nazi era that was the inspiration for the book on Edwin Geist. This book is available in English on and the others on More information on Reinhard Kaiser and his work please click links, Book Link, Magazine Article

Verena Rein, renown soprano based in Berlin,  has performed opera, concerts, and recitals nationally and internationally. She has been featured on radio, television and recordings that include the award-winning CD of the chamber music of Edwin Geist. She has performed at several outstanding international festivals and is a teacher - among others at "Universität der Künste Berlin" (University of Arts)- who has previously held a chair at the Shenandoah University in Winchester,  VA., USA. As a member of Musica Reanimata, an organization devoted to remembering the works of victims of the Nazi regimes and integrating them into present-day musical culture Verena became interested and  devoted to performing the music of Edwin Geist and has included it in her repertoire.,

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum musicologist Bret Werb has programmed the museum's long-running chamber music series and produced four CDs of ghetto, camp, and partisan songs for the museum–INCLUDING AN ALBUM OF YIDDISH SONGS FROM THE KOVNO GHETTO.  A contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, Werb earned an MA in ethnomusicology at UCLA with a thesis on the Yiddish theater composer Joseph Rumshinsky.   Werb currently curates the online exhibition "Music of the Holocaust" (, showcasing the music collection at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.  A new recording, Ballads and Broadsides, featuring historic recordings from the museum's collection of Polish prisoners' songs from the Nazi camps, was released earlier this year.  (HOLD UP CD!) He has lectured widely, most recently on the music-culture of Jewish Displaced Persons delivering the keynote address on "Music, Oppression and Exile: The Impact of Nazism on Musical Development in the 20th Century" at the international conference, University of London, and on the Ben Hecht-Kurt Weill "rescue pageant" We Will Never Die,pre-concert talk, "Music in Exile" series, Cadogan Hall, London..
He has a particular interest in discovering the music, story and legacy of 20th century composers such as Edwin Geist and writes:"Though trapped by the horrific events that transpired at the hands of the Third Reich, Geist managed to write music that fit in with the international neo-classical movement. Had it not been for his murder by the Nazis, he would have certainly found a place in history as one of the foremost composers of the 20th century."


Rosian Zerner is the niece of Edwin and Lyda Geist and was interned with them in the Kovno Ghetto during the Nazi  regime in Lithuania. She survived the Holocaust while they both died. As a way of honoring the memory of their lives through Edwin's music, she has initiated this USA premiere and other performances. Rosian Zerner traveled to Lithuania to attend the 100th Anniversary celebration of Edwin's birth co-sponsored by Lithuania and Germany, and to Germany to view his places of residence and original manuscripts. She has devoted more than ten years to gathering genealogical research and documentationa about her family and Edwin and Lyda  and as a commitment to her family and other victims of the Holocaust has volunteered for survivor organizations and to speak about the Holocaust at commemorations, universities, rallies and other venues, She has advocated on behalf of Holocaust survivors on local and national issues and projects, and is active in Holocaust survivor organizations, as well as in German-Jewish Dialogue groups. Her mother, also a survivor of the Kovno Ghetto, was the Konzertmeister of the Lithuanian Opera and her aunt was a member of the Mary Wigman Dance Company, the original modern dance company. An art history graduate of Barnard College, Rosian Zerner lives in Newton and has two sons and four grandchildren.