Music of Remembrance's Mission

Music of Remembrance fills a unique role throughout the world by remembering the Holocaust through music. With concert performances, educational programs, recordings, and commissions of new works by some of today’s leading composers, MOR honors those of all backgrounds who found the strength to create even in the face of persecution, and those who had the courage to speak out against cruelty. We tell stories that communicate urgent moral lessons for today with a scope that extends beyond the Holocaust itself to the experience of others who have been excluded or persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.

“I am honored to be associated with an organization that puts action behind a very important idea. Words and music matter. They have the power to change hearts, which is harder than changing minds.” – Laura Strickling, soprano in MOR commission The Parting

“Being part of MOR has made me more compassionate for other people who are oppressed or struggling in this day.” – violinist Zoe Lonsinger

“Music of Remembrance does what our most beloved cultural institutions always aspire to do when they preserve the voices of the past, or when they commission and midwife brand new works based on timeless themes. They educate us and inspire us. And oh how they inspire in concerts filled with beauty, passion, meaning, justice, heartbreak, comfort, and joy.” – composer Tom Cipullo

“Music of Remembrance has highlighted the reality that in the end we really are like a grove of aspen trees. We all share a common root network and if one tree is sick we all feel the effects. We’re not just learning about what happened. We’re learning about how we can grow as human beings.” –librettist Gene Scheer

Upcoming Events

Aug 01, 2021 - 5:30 PM

Intonations Ensemble

This July, Music of Remembrance (MOR) will stream a special all-new production of Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer.

Past Programs

Concert - Art From Ashes

MOR String Trio

On January 27, 1945 the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Soviet Army. Continuing its long-standing tradition, Music of Remembrance honors this anniversary with its Art From Ashes program, an annual concert marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Concert - For a Look or a Touch

Nazi concentration camp badges

Starting Saturday, June 26, Music of Remembrance will stream a special all-new production of For a Look or a Touch by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. The performance was originally scheduled as part of live concerts at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall and San Francisco’s Presidio Theatre. Because of continuing pandemic restrictions, we have instead created a compelling video production for viewing by people around the world on our streaming platform.

Concert - Return to Amasia

Eric Hachikian

Our fourth and final virtual concert of this unique season shines a light on the Armenian genocide with Return to Amasia by American composer Eric Hachikian. During and after World War I, about one and a half million ethnic Armenians in Turkey and adjacent regions were systematically murdered or expelled by the Ottoman authorities. Hachikian is the grandson of survivors from the genocide and Return to Amasia is an intimate musical and visual account of his own journey to that city in in search of his roots. Parts of the music are adapted from Hachikian’s score for Voyage to Amasia, the feature-length documentary film that he produced. You’ll be able to view the complete film when we screen it online around the time of this concert.

Concert - Stormy Seas

Kahal Shalom Synagogue

Iranian-American composer Sahba Aminikia is also a performer and educator with a deep personal commitment to human rights causes. He is the founder and artistic director of the Flying Carpet Festival, a performing arts festival for children in war zones. His new work is based on the beautiful book Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Eleanor Shakespeare. It tells five true stories about young people who braved the peril of setting sail in search of safe shores: from Nazi Germany; from communist Cuba; from war-torn Vietnam; from Taliban-dominated Afghanistan; from an orphanage in Ivory Coast. The work is a testament to hope and courage, and an appeal to our shared humanity.

Concert - To Life!

Mikhail Shmidt, Walter Gray

Gifted Russian-born composer Polina Nazaykinskaya’s Haim (Hebrew for “life”) is a musical tribute to David Arben, a survivor of three concentration and four labor camps as a young boy who was saved by his violin when he was pulled from a crowd of 105 prisoners waiting to be shot or buried alive by the SS. After the war he came to America, penniless and barely speaking a word of English. Eventually he joined the Philadelphia Orchestra for 34 years, more than a dozen as Associate Concertmaster. In Arben’s words, “Music is Life. Music is Hope. Music is Peace.”

Gala - Ginkgos Blossom; Hope Endures

Ginkgo trees near the center of the atomic blasts in Hiroshima survived the inferno because of their resilience and deep roots, sprouting new leaves within days. The survivor trees have come to represent the endurance of hope.

MOR’s roots in our community are deep, our resilience strong. But we need your help to sprout new leaves.

By supporting our work, you’re also supporting our extraordinary performers and sustaining our arts community at this challenging time. 

By supporting our mission, you’re making it possible for us to tell stories of hope and courage that are so needed in today’s world. MOR performs music that matters – now more than ever.

Webinar - INSIGHTS: Building Bridges Across Generations

David Tonkonogui

In this webinar, Artistic Director Mina Miller catches up with DTMA recipients Julian Schwarz (2005), Marié Rossano (2008), Takumi Taguchi (2013), Sophie Denhard (2019), and Zoe Lonsigner (2019). Learn what these young artists are doing inside and outside music, and watch some of their performances.

Webinar - INSIGHTS: Haim

Composer Polina Nazaykinskaya

A Story of Hope and Perseverance

Meet Polina Nazaykinskaya, whose moving work Haim receives its Northwest Premiere on our season-opening concert on November 1. You’ll learn the inspiring story of violinist David Arben, who survived three concentration and four labor camps as a boy and eventually made it to the Philadelphia Orchestra where he served for 34 years, more than a dozen as Associate Concertmaster. Meet violinist Rebecca Jackson, who commissioned and premiered Haim and authored the biography of Arben.

Webinar - INSIGHTS: Hans Gál

Hans Gál

An Inspirational Life

Join us for a special program featuring the music of Hans Gál, whose charming early piano trio will also be part of the November 1 concert. Gál fled his native Vienna for England, but when the war broke out he became one of the tens of thousands of foreign nationals from Nazi-controlled countries to be interned as “enemy aliens.” Despite that experience he chose to remain in Britain, becoming a vital force in the country’s musical life and continuing to compose for over five decades. In this fascinating conversation you’ll meet the composer’s daughter Eva Fox-Gál and her son Simon Fox, who join us from the UK.

Webinar - INSIGHTS: Out of Oblivion

Portraits of Three Dutch Wartime Composers

Max Vredenburg (1904 - 1976)
Dick Kattenburg (1919 – 1944)
Paul Hermann (1902 – 1944)

They dared to create even in the face of unfathomable persecution
and we honor the precious legacy of their courage

Artistic Director Mina Miller in Conversation with

Carine Alders, music historian
Joyce Bergman, composer Dick Kattenburg’s niece
Paul van Gastel, composer Paul Hermann’s grandson
Mikhail Shmidt, violinist
Susan Gulkis Assadi, violist

Webinar - INSIGHTS: Stormy Seas

MS St Louis

Inspiring musical portraits of child boat refugees

A special program about Music of Remembrance's commission Stormy Seas. Artistic Director Mina Miller talks with composer Sahba Aminikia, author Mary Beth Leatherdale, stage director Erich Parce, and clarinetist Laura DeLuca about the true stories behind the work and the challenges of presenting the work during the pandemic.

Artistic Director Mina Miller in Conversation with
Sahba Aminikia, composer of Stormy Seas
Mary Beth Leatherdale, author of Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees
Erich Parce, stage director
Laura DeLuca, clarinetist 

Webinar - INSIGHTS: The Transformative Journeys of Four Composers

Michel Michelet (1894-1995), Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984)
Geza Frid (1904-1989), Eric Hachikian (b. 1982)

Their music and their stories

Artistic Director Mina Miller in Conversation with
Carine Alders, music historian
Eric Hachikian, composer
Mikhail Shmidt, violinist
Susan Gulkis Assadi, violist

Community Partner Activities

Arben Documentary May 29

Arben

Music in May presents a 45-minute docufilm about violinist David Arben on YouTube 6pm PT May 29. Click here to watch.

Commissions

2022

  • Nicolas Lell Benavides
    Tres Minutos

    Soprano, tenor, baritone, clarinet, violín, cello, double bass, piano

    Chamber opera inspired by a real program that reunites families separated by immigration policies at the U.S. – Mexico border, but only for three minutes.

2021

2020

  • Sahba Aminikia
    Stormy Seas

    5 child singers, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano

    Musical portraits of 5 true stories of child boat refugees. Based on the book of the same name by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Eleanor Shakespeare.

2019

  • Tom Cipullo
    The Parting

    Soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano

    Chamber opera based on the life and work of Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti set on his last night with wife Fanni before his WWII conscription.

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto
    Passage

    Narrator, string quartet

    Narrated poem by Kareem Lotfy with string quartet about an Arab Spring refugee.

  • Shinji Eshima
    Veritas

    Cello, double bass, projection

    Multi-media work with media projections by Kate Duhamel based on Vandalized Doors series by sculptor Al Farrow.

2018

  • Christophe Chagnard
    Gaman

    Soprano, baritone, clarinet/bass clarinet, string quartet, fue (Japanese flute), taiko drum

    Multi-media work based on the diaries of Takuichi Fujii and Kamekichi Tokita from their WWII incarceration at Minidoka Relocation Center.

2017

2016

  • Jake Heggie
    Out of Darkness

    2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, baritone, actor/baritone, flute, clarinet (Bb and A), violín, cello, double bass, piano

    A two-act opera. Act one, “Krystyna,” tells the story of poet Krystyna Zywulska in Auschwitz. Act two, “Gad,” imagines the renunion of homosexuals Gad Beck and Manfred Lewin torn apart under Nazi rule in Berlin.

2015

2014

2013

2012

  • Jake Heggie
    Another Sunrise

    Soprano, clarinet, violin, cello, double bass, piano

    Song cycle based on the life of writer Krystyna Zywulska from an interview in Barbara Engelking's book Holocaust and Memory.

2011

  • Betty Olivero
    Kolo’t (“Voices”)

    Mezzo soprano, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, harp, percussion

    Based on the history of Sephardic settlement at Thessaloniki and an anonymous poem from a resident who survived Auschwitz concentration camp.

2010

2009

2008

2007

  • Jake Heggie
    For a Look or a Touch

    Actor, baritone, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano

    Duet between actor and singer based on the journal of Manfred Lewin written for his lover Gad Beck, who tells his story in Paragraph 175 (film).

2005

2004

2003

  • Lori Laitman
    Fathers

    Baritone, violin, cello, piano

    Musical setting of Holocaust related poems by Anne Ranasinghe and David Vogel that focus on father-child relationships.

2002

  • Paul Schoenfield
    Camp Songs

    Mezzo-soprano, baritone, clarinet, violin, cello, double bass, piano

    Musical setting of five poems written in Sachsenhausen concentration camp compiled by Aleksander Kulisiewicz.

2000

  • David Stock
    A Vanished World

    Flute, viola, harp

    A snapshot of the pre-war world of East European Jewry, living on the edge of the abyss.