7th Season Of Mor’s “Sparks Of Glory” Series Begins Oct. 1

Free concert-with-commentary at SAM contrasts athletic and artistic resistance

SEATTLE, WA—August 11, 2011—Music of Remembrance (MOR) begins the seventh season of its free Sparks of Glory concerts-with-commentary at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) Downtown, 1300 First Avenue on Saturday, October 1, at 2:00 p.m. Since 2005, this free public series has traveled beyond the concert hall to introduce thousands of people to the musical legacy of the Holocaust.

The 2011-12 series, supported by a major gift from the National Endowment for the Arts, includes four concerts-with-commentary: October 1, 2011, and January 28, March 24, and April 21, 2012. Partner venues are the downtown Seattle Art Museum (1300 First Avenue) and the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood (4649 Sunnyside Avenue North).

MOR Artistic Director Miller, an internationally known speaker on musicians’ spiritual resistance during the Holocaust, introduces the musical works and their composers, and provides social and historical contexts for the pieces at the 90-minute Saturday afternoon performances. At the October concert, From the Monkey Mountains, Miller will discuss the SAM exhibit Our National Game, and Jackie Robinson’s courageous example, as a counterpoint to the artistic resistance to the Holocaust that MOR’s music commemorates.

The season’s opening concert-with-commentary features music by Pavel Haas, one of Janáček’s most talented students. In 1925, Haas wrote his String Quartet No. 2 (“From the Monkey Mountains”) as a kind of musical postcard from a favorite vacation spot. The first two movements, “Landscape” and “Coach, Coachman, and Horse,” are marked a leisurely andante, as Haas recalls a sunny afternoon with birds chirping in the trees and a man passing by on a squeaky-wheeled cart. “The Moon and I…” is a slow and mysterious nocturnal meditation. For “Wild Night,” Haas called for fiery playing of folk melodies fused with jazz syncopation.

Haas was deported in 1941 to the Terezín concentration camp, where he continued to create astonishing music. Three years later he perished in Auschwitz. His quartet is paired on the program with a contemporary work inspired by Terezín, the MOR-commissioned Vedem by Lori Laitman. This song cycle version of Laitman’s oratorio tells the true story of a group of teenage boy prisoners in Terezín through six poems they wrote there for the secret magazine they called VEDEM (Czech for “In the Lead”). Vedem is an intimate and inspiring revelation about the boys’ life inside the camp, from the freezing cold and homesickness that beset them, to the dignity and idealism that the boys fought back with.

These free Sparks of Glory concerts-with-commentary are performed by some of Seattle’s leading chamber musicians. The October 1 event showcases Elisa Barston, violin; Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello; Matthew Kocmieroski, percussion; Mina Miller, piano; and Mikhail Shmidt, violin. They are joined in Vedem by Portland Opera mezzo soprano Angela Niederloh and Seattle tenor Ross Hauck.

The Sparks of Glory season continues on January 28, 2012 at the Good Shepherd Center with Between Two Worlds, exploring tensions in Russian-Jewish identity. On March 24, 2012, Not Martyrs, Not Saints at the Good Shepherd Center examines the varied ways in which contemporary composers have responded to the Holocaust. The series season concludes at the Seattle Art Museum on April 21, 2012 with Far Is My Home. Mina Miller will discuss SAM’s Gauguin exhibit, and themes of primitivism and non-European influences in visual art, and the influence of exotic elements in music. MOR’s Sparks of Gloryeducation and outreach series, created to bring chamber music to Seattle’s varied communities, is supported in part this season by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and includes in-school performances and presentations around Washington State.

Sparks of Glory Musical Witness Series
Hosted by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) & the Good Shepherd Center (GSC)
FREE TO THE PUBLIC*

From the Monkey Mountains
October 1, 2011, 2:00 p.m.
Plestcheeff Auditorium, Seattle Art Museum

Lori Laitman: Vedem, (2010) song cycle version (Commissioned by Music of Remembrance)
Angela Niederloh, mezzo soprano; Ross Hauck, tenor; Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mina Miller, piano

Pavel Haas: String Quartet no. 2, Op. 7 (1925)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Elisa Barston, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello; Matthew Kocmieroski, percussion

Between Two Worlds
January 28, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
Good Shepherd Center

Dmitri Shostakovich: From Jewish Folk Poetry, Op. 79 (1948)
Megan Chenovick, soprano; Kathryn Weld, mezzo soprano; Ross Hauk, tenor; Mina Miller, piano

David Beigelman: Dybbuk Dances (1941)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Leonid Keylin, violin

Joel Engel: The Dybbuk Suite, Op. 35 (1922)
Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Leonid Keylin, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Mara Finkelstein, cello; Jonathan Green, double bass, Matthew Kocmieroski, percussion

Not Martyrs, Not Saints
March 24, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
Good Shepherd Center

Simon Sargon: Shemà (1994)
Megan Chenovick, soprano; Zart Dombourian-Eby, flute; Laura DeLuca, clarinet, Mara Finkelstein, cello; Mina Miller, piano

Erwin Schulhoff: Concertino for Flute, Viola and Double bass (1925)
Zart Dombourian-Eby, flute; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Jonathan Green, double bass

Osvaldo Golijov: Lullaby and Doina (2001)
Zart Dombourian-Eby, flute; Laura DeLuca, clarinet, Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Mara Finkelstein, cello; Jonathan Green, double bass

Far Is My Home
April 21, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
Plestcheeff Auditorium, Seattle Art Museum

Gideon Klein: Fantasy and Fugue
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Leonid Keylin, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Mara Finkelstein, cello

Pavel Haas: Four Songs on Chinese Poetry (Terezin,1944)
Erich Parce, baritone; Mina Miller, piano

Erwin Schulhoff: Five Pieces for String Quartet(1923)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Leonid Keylin, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Mara Finkelstein, cello

*This series is made possible, in part, with funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Music of Remembrance
Music of Remembrance (MOR) fills a unique spiritual and cultural role in Seattle and throughout the United States by remembering Holocaust musicians and their art through musical performances, educational programs, musical recordings and commissions of new works. Since its 1998–99 inaugural year, MOR has presented two major concerts annually at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) each fall and Holocaust Remembrance Day each spring. Since 2005–06, MOR’s outreach series Sparks of Gloryhas combined free public concerts with commentary by Artistic Director Mina Miller, reaching beyond the concert hall through performance residencies around Seattle. More information available at www.musicofremembrance.org.

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