From Thessalonika to Terezin, Voices of the Holocaust resonate at MOR’s Spring Concert

World Premiere of Commission from Israeli Composer Betty Olivero

Pre-concert Interview with Holocaust Survivor Sidney Taussig

SEATTLE, WA—February 15, 2010—Music of Remembrance concludes its thirteenth season with its spring concert, “Voices,” on Monday, May 9, 2011 at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. The evening brings the world premiere of a new MOR-commissioned work by the leading Israeli composer Betty Olivero. It also features the return of the acclaimed American vocal composer Lori Laitman’s Vedem oratorio in an intimate song cycle arrangement. The 7:30 p.m. concert in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall is preceded at 6:45 p.m. by an on-stage interview of Terezín survivor Sidney Taussig.

Betty Olivero’s Kolo’t (“Voices”) weaves excerpts of Ladino ballads and poems around a poignant letter from an anonymous Auschwitz survivor from Thessalonika. The work recalls the vitality of Thessalonika’s once-vibrant Sephardic community, and relates its tragic fate. Mezzo-soprano Angela Niederloh performs with an ensemble of violin, viola, cello, clarinet, harp, and percussion.

Artistic Director Mina Miller will introduce the concert, adding perspective about the Holocaust’s devastating impact on unique cultures. “Nazi persecution in Thessalonika didn’t begin until the summer of 1942,” Miller explains. “Then they destroyed the 450-year-old Sephardic community and did their best to destroy hundreds of years of archives. Nearly 98 percent of the total Jewish population of the city of Thessalonika died during the war, most after deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau.” Those who perished include members of Betty Olivero’s own family. Highlighting Olivero’s music, the program will also include the dazzling klezmer suite from her musical score to the classic 1920 silent film The Golem.

For the song cycle version of Lori Laitman’s compelling Vedem, mezzo-soprano Niederloh is joined by tenor Ross Hauck. The cycle is based on six poems drawn from VEDEM, the clandestine magazine created by a group of teenage boy prisoners in the Terezín concentration camp. Every week for two years between 1942 and 1944, the boys shared their poems, essays and illustrations in a secret journal they named VEDEM. Only about fifteen VEDEM contributors survived the Holocaust, and six are alive today. Sidney Taussig, who as a boy had the foresight and courage to bury about 800 pages of the VEDEM manuscript, will sit for a pre-concert interview with John Sharify.

MOR concludes its season-long emphasis on the music of Pavel Haas with a performance of his String Quartet No. 2. The son of a shoemaker, Haas is considered the most gifted student of Czech composer Leoš Janácěk. In 1941, he was deported to Terezín, where he wrote eight pieces before meeting his death at Auschwitz. BBC Music Magazine has described his second string quartet as “a work of intense drama and visionary effects.”

Spring Concert Ticket Information:
Tickets: $36
Phone Orders: 206-365-7770
Online Orders:

Spring Concert: "Voices"
A concert to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall, Seattle
7:30 p.m., Monday, May 9, 2011
6:45 p.m. Meet Sidney Taussig: Newsman/filmmaker John Sharify interviews Sidney Taussig, who as a 14-year-old prisoner had the courage and foresight to hide and preserve VEDEM’s precious 800 manuscript pages.
Lori Laitman
Vedem (Song Cycle Version) Commissioned by Music of Remembrance – world premiere
Angela Niederloh, mezzo-soprano; Ross Hauck, tenor
Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mina Miller, piano
Pavel Haas
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 7 (From the Monkey Mountains)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Elisa Barston, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello; Matthew Kocmieroski, percussion
Betty Olivero
Kolo’t (“Voices”) World Premiere of MOR Commission
Angela Niederloh, mezzo soprano
Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello; Valerie Muzzolini Gordon, harp; Matthew Kocmieroski, percussion

Zeks Yiddishe Lider un Tantz from The Golem
Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Leonid Keylin, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Mara Finkelstein, cello

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

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