MOR's Free Chamber Music Series Returns for a 6th Season

 

October’s “Art & Defiance” Finds Spirit of Picasso’s Guernica in Music

SEATTLE, WA—July 22, 2010— Music of Remembrance (MOR) announces the sixth season of its free Sparks of Glory concerts-with-commentary at varied locations around Seattle. Since 2005, this unique series has introduced thousands of people to the musical legacy of the Holocaust. For this  coming season, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, MOR returns to the downtown Seattle Art Museum (1300 First Avenue) and the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood (4649 Sunnyside Avenue North), with three 90-minute programs: Art & Defiance on October 16, 2010; The Seed of Dream on March 14, 2011; and Voices of Witness on April 9, 2011.

 
The repertoire for these Sparks of Glory concerts-with-commentary is drawn from MOR’s Benaroya Hall programs, performed by some of Seattle’s leading musicians. The events also feature MOR Artistic Director Mina Miller (an internationally-recognized authority on music and the Holocaust) discussing the works and their composers, and offering social and historical contexts for the pieces. At SAM, Miller links these programs in fascinating ways to the Museum’s current exhibits.
 
On Saturday, October 16, at 2:00 p.m., Seattle Art Museum’s Plestcheeff Auditorium is the setting for MOR’s Art & Defiance, which uses examples from SAM’s Picasso exhibition to examine the power of art and music to speak against oppression. Mina Miller says:
 
"Pablo Picasso’s life and his art reflect his passionate engagement with the events and forces that transformed the world during his lifetime. The SAM exhibition includes Picasso’s sketches for his iconic painting Guernica, which remains one of the most powerfully eloquent statements about the senseless barbarity of war and its destruction of innocent civilians. In our concert, you’ll hear works that demonstrate how music, too, can represent compelling moral stances. We’ll feature contemporary American composer Paul Schoenfield’s Sparks of Glory, which brilliantly portrays real stories of heroic acts of bravery in the face of the Holocaust’s horrors."
 
The program also includes Erwin Schulhoff’s Duo for violin and cello, and Ernest Bloch’s Nigun. Schulhoff, like Picasso, was an audacious innovator, and was deeply influenced by the disillusionment in European artistic circles following World War I. A Jew and outspoken political dissident, he perished in a Nazi labor camp. Bloch, a Swiss-American composer, left Europe permanently in the 1930s in reaction to the growing tide of Nazi persecution, and would play an important role in America’s musical life until his death in Oregon in 1959.
 
Guest artists are Erich Parce as narrator for Sparks of Glory, and young violinist Marié Rossano, the 2008 winner of MOR’s David Tonkonogui Memorial Award.
 
On Monday, March 14, at 6:00 p.m., MOR presents The Seed of Dream at the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. American composer Lori Laitman is acclaimed for “her exceptional gifts for embracing a poetic text and giving it new and deeper life through music” (Journal of Singing). For the MOR-commissioned song cycle The Seed of Dream, Laitman drew on five poems that Yiddish poet and resistance fighter Abraham Sutzkever wrote in the Vilna Ghetto in Nazi-occupied Lithuania. “It is hard to resist the harsh irony of ‘A Load of Shoes,’ Laitman’s fast, klezmer-tinted waltz to the poet’s observation of piles of ownerless shoes” (Opera News). Baritone Erich Parce will sing.
 
From the Holocaust era, Hungarian composer Laszlo Weiner’s Duo for violin and viola sparkles with life (in stark counterpoint to the composer’s murder in a labor camp), as does the String Quartet No. 3 by Pavel Haas, Janáček’s best student and a leader in the extraordinary musical life of the Terezín concentration camp.
 
On Saturday, April 9, at 2:00 p.m. at the Seattle Art Museum, the Sparks of Glory season concludes with Voices of Witness, illustrating the genre-spanning musical legacy of Terezín. Prisoners at the Terezín concentration camp were destined for transport to death camps in the East – if they didn’t succumb first to hunger or disease. Yet, amazingly, Terezín was a hotbed of artistic creativity, from satirical and often subversive cabaret songs to chamber music, choral works and even opera. The program includes varied works by five composers who were part of Terezín’s astonishing musical life. It also includes the first string quartet of Erwin Schulhoff, an audaciously original voice whose fascinating career was brought to an abrupt end in a Bavarian slave labor camp. Portland Opera mezzo soprano Angela Niederloh is a guest vocalist.
 
MOR’s education and outreach series, created to bring chamber music to Seattle’s varied communities, is supported this season, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
 
Sparks of Glory Musical Witness Series
Hosted by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) & the Good Shepherd Center (GSC)
FREE TO THE PUBLIC*
 
Art & Defiance
October 16, 2010 2:00 p.m.
Seattle Art Museum
 
Erwin Schulhoff: Duo (1925)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello
 
Ernest Bloch: Nigun (1923)
Marie Rossano, violin (2008 DTMA winner); Mina Miller, piano
 
Paul Schoenfield: Sparks of Glory (1995)
Erich Parce, narrator
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Walter Gray, cello; Mark Salman, piano
 
The Seed of Dream
March 14, 2011 6:00 p.m.
Good Shepherd Center
 
Laszlo Weiner: Duo (1939)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola
 
Lori Laitman: The Seed of Dream (2004) Music of Remembrance Commission
Erich Parce, baritone
Walter Gray, cello; Mina Miller, piano
 
Pavel Haas: String Quartet No. 3 (1938)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Elisa Barston, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello
 
Voices of Witness
April 9, 2011 2:00 p.m.
Seattle Art Museum
 
Carlo Taube: Ein Judische Kind (Terezin, 1942)
Ilse Weber: I Wander Through Theresienstadt (Terezin, 1943)
Gideon Klein: Wiegenlied (Terezin, 1943)
Angela Niederloh, mezzo soprano
Mina Miller, piano
 
Hans Krása: Theme with Variations (1935)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Leonid Keylin, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Mara Finkelstein, cello
 
Viktor Ullmann: Brezulinka (Terezin, 1944)
Angela Niederloh, mezzo soprano
Mina Miller, piano
 
Erwin Schulhoff: String Quartet No. 1 (1924)
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 Glory has 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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