2017 - 2018 Season

Voices of Witness: A Musical Tribute to Japanese and Japanese American Wartime Experience

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Fall Concert
November 5, 2017 | 7 p.m.
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall, Seattle
 
World Premieres by composers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Keiko Fujiie:
 
Snow Falls
Composer: Ryuichi Sakamoto | Commissioned by Music of Remembrance
Ryuichi Sakamoto has had a unique impact for decades in Japan and around the world as a composer, musician, film actor and peace activist. One of his 2017-18 MOR commissions, “Snow Falls,” is a musical setting of Kiyoko Nagase’s moving poem of that name. The musical arrangement for actress, violin and piano draws on melodies from Mr. Sakamoto’s film “Nagasaki: Memories of My Son.”  Japanese actress Naho Shioya will deliver the poem both in Japanese and in an English translation by Empress Michiko.
 
 
Wilderness Mute
Composer: Keiko Fujiie | Commissioned by Music of Remembrance
Japanese composer Keiko Fujiie's song cycle Wilderness Mute will draw on words of witnesses and survivors of the atomic blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to make an eloquent statement about the urgency of preventing nuclear war. The work will be scored for soprano, baritone, violin, clarinet, cello, and double bass. Ms. Fujiie, a long-time Nagasaki resident and one of Japan’s most noted and frequently-performed composers, has been honored twice with the NHK Symphony Orchestra’s coveted Otaka Prize.
 
 
Spring Concerts
May 20, 2018 | 5 p.m.
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall, Seattle
 
May 24, 2018 | 7:30 p.m.
Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
 
World Premieres by composers Christophe Chagnard and Ryuichi Sakamoto:
 
Gaman
Composer: Christophe Chagnard | Commissioned by Music of Remembrance
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, more than 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry – a majority of them American citizens – were forced to detention camps scattered across the western United States. French-American composer Christophe Chagnard, now in Seattle, will explore this painful chapter of history through the stories of individuals, families and artists based on their personal accounts, journals, letters and art works. Chagnard's multi-media work Gaman will tell much of this story through the imagery and words of two artists: Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964) and Kamekichi Tokita (1897–1948). Both emigrated to the United states and by the 1930s had become prominent artists with paintings included in major exhibitions. During the war, they were forced with their families to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho, one of 10 geographically scattered detention camps where 120,000 people were incarcerated. Fujii and Tokita kept deeply expressive diaries that, along with their drawings and paintings from Minidoka, serve as powerful documentation of the Japanese American wartime experience. The composition will combine traditional Japanese and classical Western instruments along with a narrator/singer, all combined with visual media projections.

The spring concerts will also feature composer Ryuichi Sakamoto's second new MOR commission (title to be announced). The work will be scored for string quartet, piano and voices. Sakamoto plans it as a participatory work, in which members of the public will join the performers on stage to honor the names of people who perished in World War II – balanced equally between Japanese and non-Japanese victims of the conflict.

Read the 2017-18 season press release here.

About Music of Remembrance
MOR, founded in 1998 by Mina Miller, performs and commissions works about the experience of those who have been the targets of persecution and exclusion.  “Music of Remembrance’s roots are in the music that commemorates the Holocaust and the voices it silenced,” Miller said. “Those events have profound resonance for our world today. We’ve failed to learn from history if we choose not to speak and act on behalf of people whose rights and dignity are threatened anywhere and at any time.” In addition to rediscovering and performing music from the Holocaust, MOR has commissioned and premiered more than 20 new works by some of today’s leading composers, telling stories of tragedy, courage and inspiration.