Events | 100 years of "The Magic Mountain:" Conversation & Concert with Samantha Rose Hill, Paul Holdengräber & David Kaplan

Los Angeles | March 26, 2024

Time: 7 p.m. (PT) | Thomas Mann House Los Angeles | By Invitation Only

Join the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, and the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles to celebrate 100 years of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain!

You can find the video of this event online.

Historical postcard of Dr. Turban's sanatorium in Davos. ETH Library Zurich, Thomas Mann Archive / Photographer: Emil Meerkämper / TMA_2263. ETH Library Zurich, Thomas Mann Archive / Photographer: Emil Meerkämper / TMA_2263.

Published in Germany in 1924, Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain tells the story of Hans Castorp, an ordinary young man who goes to visit his cousin Joachim in a Swiss tuberculosis sanatorium for three weeks and ends up staying for seven years. Set on the precipice of World War One, the novel captures the spirit of prewar Europe and the ailments of the modern world: isolation, mass epidemics, the plight of progress and industrial alienation. Mann’s ever-timely novel offers meditations on love, loss, time, what it means to become a person in the world, and what it means to face death.

To mark the 100th anniversary of Mann’s modernist masterpiece, we cordially invite you to the living room of the writer's home in exile for a conversation on pilgrimage between author and scholar Samantha Rose Hill and curator and interviewer Paul Holdengräber. What does it mean to leave the world of everyday life and undertake a journey? How does travel inform one’s perception of text, artwork, love, loss? In what ways does one’s experience of time change when one finds oneself perpetually caught in between the longing for home and flight of adventure? Can Mann’s work help us to think about our world today, a world defined by a sense of displacement, longing, loneliness, and war? Is it the x-ray we need to help us see more clearly right now?

Before and after the conversation, acclaimed pianist David Kaplan and students from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will perform pieces by Claude Debussy and Franz Schubert on Thomas Mann’s historical piano: Singer Andres Delgado accompanies Kaplan in Die Post, Einsamkeit, and Der Lindenbaum from Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise; and pianists Alexandre Tchaykov and Biguo Xing will play Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d’un faune, a favorite piece of music of Hans Castorp in the novel.

This event is part of a seminar on The Magic Mountain offered by the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research & the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. Led by Samantha Rose Hill, this course reads the entirety of The Magic Mountain alongside short selections from medical journals, critical reviews, Mann’s correspondence, and lectures, while asking: What does it mean to be healthy? How does modernity change our conception of time? How might we think about enchantment in the modern world? Learn more here.


Attendance by invitation only.


Samantha Rose Hill is the author of the critically acclaimed book Hannah Arendt (2021) and the editor and translator of What Remains: The Collected Poems of Hannah Arendt (2017). She is associate faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research in New York City. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, LitHub, OpenDemocracy, and the journals Public Seminar, Contemporary Political Theory, and Theory & Event.



Paul Holdengräber is an interviewer, curator of public curiosity, and was the Founding Executive Director of Onassis Los Angeles (OLA). Prior he was Founder and Director of The New York Public Library’s LIVE from the NYPL cultural series where he interviewed and hosted over 600 events, including interviews with Patti Smith, Wes Anderson, Mike Tyson, Werner Herzog and many more. Before his tenure at the library, he was the Founder and Director of The Institute for Art & Cultures at the LACMA. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University. In 2003, the French Government named him Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and then promoted him in 2012 to the rank of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In 2010, The President of Austria awarded him the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art.

David Kaplan, pianist, has been called “excellent and adventurous” by The New York Times, and praised by the Boston Globe for “grace and fire” at the keyboard. He has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Britten Sinfonia and Das Sinfonie Orchester Berlin. Known for diverse and creative recital programs, he has appeared at the Ravinia Festival, Washington’s National Gallery, Strathmore, and Bargemusic. Kaplan’s New Dances of the League of David, mixing Schumann with 16 new works, was cited in the “Best Classical Music of 2015” by The New York Times.



This event is a collaboration between the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, and the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles


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