Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) was an Italian composer, pianist and writer.
On 13 July 1939, Mario and Clara Castelnuovo-Tedesco boarded the S.S. Saturnia in Trieste with their two sons. Ostensibly, this was meant to appear a round trip concert tour with a return to Italy in August. In truth, the family was discreetly emigrating to America as a result of Italy’s recently adopted racial laws. Although the ship’s printed manifesto listed them as “Italian,” someone scratched through that and wrote “Hebrew” after each name.
This voyage marked the defining line that bifurcated the life of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The Castelnuovo-Tedescos returned to Italy several times after the war, but never felt truly Italian again; at the same time, Mario and Clara, who became US citizens in 1948, never became truly American. “Suspended like a cloud between two continents” is how Mario described his life.