2017 - 2018 Season

20th Season | 2017-18
Voices of Witness: A Musical Tribute to Japanese and Japanese-American Wartime Experience


Fall Concert: Snow Falls

November 5, 2017 | 7 p.m.
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall, Seattle

Featuring two world premieres:

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.  Set to the haunting poem “Snow Falls” by Kiyoke Nagase, this arrangement for actress, violin and piano draws on melodies from Ryuichi Sakamoto’s film music for “Nagasaki: Memories of My Son.” 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

This 20-minute song cycle for soprano, baritone, violin, clarinet, cello and double bass creates an eloquent musical setting for texts by Japanese poets from Hiroshima and Nagasaki in English translation. Fujiie, a Nagasaki native and one of Japan’s most note and frequently-performed composer, has been honored twice with the NHK Symphony Orchestra’s coveted Otaka Prize.

The fall concert program also features guest artist Robert Orth in Paul Schoenfield’s Sparks of Glory, four portraits of Holocaust defiance taken from the true accounts of heroes too modest to recognize their own heroism. Also, little-known pieces created by French, British and Dutch composers in prison and concentration camps.


Art from Ashes: International Holocaust Remembrance Day Concert

Music of Remembrance (MOR) presents a free community concert at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall to honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Admission is free, but tickets are required for this free, general seating concert. Click here to order free tickets, or call 206-365-7770. Seating is general admission. Please note that due to a limited amount of seats, there is a limit of 2 tickets per order.

On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, was liberated by the Soviet army. On Monday, January 29, 2018, Music of Remembrance (MOR) presents a community-wide free concert to honor this important moment in history, and joins forces with organizations around the world to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

This concert is presented with generous support from Jack and Adina Almo


Spring Concert: Gaman: to persevere

May 20, 2018 | 5 p.m.
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Tickets: $45 - $60 | Click here to order

Featuring a world premiere by composer Christophe Chagnard:
Gaman: to persevere | 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, explores 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 tells 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 combines traditional Japanese and classical Western instruments along with a narrator/singer, all combined with visual media projections.

The May 20th concert features chamber music by Erwin Schulhoff, showcasing an audacious talent whose life ended in a Nazi concentration camp. The program also includes songs from the Terezín concentration camp, inspiring with their remarkable resilience of spirit.


San Francisco Concert: Voices of Witness

May 24, 2018 | 7:30 p.m.
Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Tickets: $45 - $60 | Click here to order

For the fourth consecutive year, MOR brings its music and its mission to the Bay Area. In this varied program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, you’ll marvel at the youthful dynamism of Five Pieces for String Quartet by Erwin Schulhoff, an audacious talent whose life ended in a Nazi concentration camp. You’ll discover the Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes by Miecyslaw Weinberg, a fascinating composer who holds the unfortunate distinction of persecution at both Nazi and Soviet hands. And beloved cantor Roslyn Barak will stir you with her soulful interpretations of songs written and first sung by prisoners in Terezín.
Reflecting on the Holocaust’s legacy, we also recall the stories of others who have been victims of exclusion, persecution and war. Our San Francisco concert features two new MOR commissions, inspired by Japanese and Japanese American wartime experience:


Erwin Schulhoff: Five Pieces for String Quartet (1923)

Songs from Terezín

Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, op. 47, no. 3 (1949)


Ryuichi Sakamoto: Snow Falls (2017)
An arrangement based on “Nagasaki: Memories of My Son”
Commissioned by Music of Remembrance
Bay Area Premiere

Christophe Chagnard: Gaman (2018)
Commissioned by Music of Remembrance
Bay Area Premiere


Featured Artists:

Roslyn Barak, soprano

Ann Moss, soprano

Robert Orth, actor & baritone

Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Natasha Bazhanov, violin;

Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello; Jonathan Green, double bass;

Jessica Choe and Mina Miller, piano



Post-Concert Reception:

Mingle with the artists and enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres as we celebrate the Bay Area premiere of MOR's new music commissions. Reception tickets are $100 (a portion of each ticket represents a tax deductible donation to MOR). Please note that reception tickets do not include admission to the concert. Concert and/or reception tickets may be purchased using the order forms above. The reception will take place in the SF Conservatory of Music's Osher Salon immediately following the concert, and will last from approximately 9:30 - 11 p.m.


The Powell Family Foundation



season brochure cover
This image, the cover art for MOR's 17-18 season, juxtaposes images of a young Jewish boy playing his violin for alms in the Warsaw Ghetto, a young Japanese American girl guarding her family's baggage as they prepared to be sent to an incarceration camp, and the blossoms of a ginkgo tree. In Hiroshima, some ginkgo trees near the center of the atomic blast withstood the inferno because of their resilience and deep roots, sprouting new leaves within days. These "survivor trees" have come to represent the endurance of hope and need for reconciliation.
Snow Falls premiere
Fall Concert 2017, World Premiere of Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Snow Falls"; Takumi Taguchi, violin; Mina Miller, piano; Naho Shioya, actress
Fall Concert image
Fall Concert 2017 - Songs by William Hilsley - Mina Miller, piano; Erich Parce, baritone
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello
Fall Concert 2017: "Wilderness Mute" world premiere
Fall Concert 2017: "Wilderness Mute" world premiere - left to right: Robert Orth, baritone; Julia Tai, conductor; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello; Ann Moss, soprano; Jonathan Green, double bass; Laura DeLuca, clarinet
Christophe Chagnard, composer
Christophe Chagnard, composer
Ryuichi Sakamoto, composer
Ryuichi Sakamoto, composer