Music of Remembrance Shines a Light on the Armenian Genocide

SEATTLE, WA—On February 28, 2021 at 5:00 p.m., Music of Remembrance (MOR) presents Return to Amasia, an online concert that includes the world premiere of a new work recalling the Armenian genocide in a powerfully personal way.

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. Composer Eric 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 ancestral roots.

The program’s three other works are also products of their composers’ own odysseys. Michel Michelet, born Mikhail Isaakovich Levin in Kiev, became a pioneering cinema composer in France in the 1930s. After the German invasion he took his work to Hollywood, where his notable movie credits include several important films noirs. Paul Ben Haim, born Paul Frankenburger in Munich, emigrated to Palestine shortly after the onset of Nazi rule and helped shape the musical life of the emerging Israeli state. Géza Frid, escaping poverty and rising antisemitism in his native Hungary, settled in the Netherlands in the late 1920s and established himself as a composer and pianist. During the German occupation he miraculously escaped capture and deportation, and as part of the Dutch underground he helped forge identity cards and participated in an artists' resistance movement.

Michelet, Ben Haim and Frid are among those who survived, and they resumed distinguished musical lives for decades after the war. Their stories, like that of composer Eric Hachikian and the family he lovingly remembers, are testimony to the resilience of the creative spirit. In our concert, their music is brought to life by Music of Remembrance’s stellar performers, all drawn from the ranks of the Seattle Symphony: violinists Mikhail Shmidt and Natasha Bazhanov, violist Susan Gulkis Assadi, cellist Sarah Rommel, pianist Jessica Choe and harpist Valerie Muzzolini Gordon.

The concert will begin streaming at 5:00 p.m. (Pacific) on February 28, and remain available online for one week. Single concert passes for $30 are available at Season passes for $100 provide unlimited access to all four Music of Remembrance concerts for six months.


About Music of Remembrance: MOR remembers the Holocaust through music and honors the resilience of all people excluded or persecuted for their faith, nationality, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. In addition to rediscovering and performing music from the Holocaust, MOR has commissioned and premiered more than 30 new works by some of today’s leading composers, telling stories of perseverance, courage and inspiration.

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