The current pandemic has forced Music of Remembrance to cancel its major concerts in Seattle on May 17 and San Francisco on May 19. “With our concert stage silent for now,” says Artistic Director Mina Miller, “MOR’s mission of reaching out with music and stories that matter takes on new and special meaning. More than ever, we want to be a source of light as we navigate unknown territory together.” Throughout the spring and summer, MOR will offer a series of weekly online programs that can be viewed by clicking the “Weekly Feature” tab on MOR’s website : www.musicofremembrance.org.
In the following weeks, the series will offer videos of live performances of some of the most impactful works that MOR has commissioned and premiered. The video links will also include program notes about the music, composers and artists.
August 3 – 9: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Marking the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings, this week’s program includes two works that make eloquent pleas about the urgency of preventing nuclear war: August 6th by Shinji Eshima, and Snow Falls by Ryuichi Sakamoto. Also: Sakamoto’s Passage, based on a refugee’s account of his struggle to flee violence in the Middle East.
July 27 – August 2: Sparks of Glory. Composer Paul Schoenfield’s tribute to courageous Holocaust defiance, based on four true stories and their accounts of the heroic deeds of people too modest to recognize their own heroism. Featuring dramatic narration by the incomparable late baritone/actor Robert Orth.
July 20 - 26: After Life. Composer Tom Cipullo and librettist David Mason’s pathbreaking one-act opera imagining a confrontation between the ghosts of Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein over the role of art in a troubled world. The work received the National Opera Association’s prestigious Domenick Argento Chamber Opera Award.
July 13 – 19: The Golem. A suite of six atmospheric songs and dances from Israeli composer Betty Olivero’s klezmer-infused musical score for the classic 1920 silent film “The Golem: How He Came into the World.” The music blurs the lines of memory and fantasy, history and myth in its portrayal of a tale that has fascinated many generations as a complex metaphor for the struggle to survive during times of persecution.
July 6 – 12: Brundibár. MOR’s 2014 production at Seattle Children’s Theater of Hans Krása’s iconic children’s opera, featuring young stars from the Northwest Boychoir and Vocalpoint!. With a very special guest: Ela Stein Weissberger, who as an 11-year old prisoner sang the role of The Cat in all 55 performances of Brundibár in Terezín.
June 29 – July 5: “Hear Our Story Now." Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and journalist John Sharify’s hour-long documentary chronicling the first two decades of MOR’s journey of musical witness and its impact in the world. The film captures stirring musical highlights, and shares the insights of some of the artists, composers, audience members, community members and other people of all ages who are part of this amazing story.
June 22 - 28: Gaman. Composer Christophe Chagnard’s exploration of the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans, revealed through the personal accounts, journals, letters and art works of those who were there. The work’s title refers to a Japanese term for enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.
June 15 - 21: Another Sunrise. Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s intense musical and dramatic portrait of Krystyna Zywulska, whose defiant poems and songs in Auschwitz gave strength to her fellow prisoners, and her struggle with the ghosts of agonizing decisions that she made in order to survive.
June 8 - 14: The Dybbuk. Atmospheric music that Joel Engel wrote a century ago for the iconic Yiddish play, with new choreography that Spectrum Dance Theater’s Donald Byrd created for MOR’s performances. Also, the haunting Dybbuk Dances that composer David Beigelman created in Lodz before the second world war. It was likely that they were performed in the Lodz ghetto where Beigelman was imprisoned.
June 1 - 7: to open myself, to scream. Innovative American composer Mary Kouyoumdjian’s multimedia exploration of the fate of Europe’s Roma revealed through the life and art of Ceija Stojka, who survived three concentration camps to become a noted painter and writer.
May 25 - 31:The Parting by composer Tom Cipullo and librettist David Mason. The engrossing one-act opera pays tribute to the life and art of the great Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti, one of the most important literary witnesses to the Holocaust and one of its tragic victims. The Parting is an emotionally rich musical drama that reminds us what it is about art that outlives us and can enable people to create even in the face of unimaginable adversity.
May 18 - 24: For a Look or a Touch. Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s pathbreaking musical drama illuminating the Nazi persecution of homosexuals through the story of two idealistic young men whose lives and love were torn apart under the Third Reich.
May 11 - 17: Veritas. Shinji Eshima’s soulful musical reflection on the tragic consequences of religious intolerance, in a multimedia work incorporating vivid visual images of sculptor Al Farrow’s works from his “Vandalized Doors” series.
May 4 - 10: Camp Songs. In a new dramatic realization conceived and directed by Erich Parce, American composer Paul Schoenfield’s setting of defiant words that dissident Polish journalist Alexander Kulisiewicz dared to write as a prisoner in Sachsenhausen, with sarcastic humor and bitter irony that lay bare the fury seething beneath the camp’s terrors.
April 27 - May 3: Vedem. American composer Lori Laitman and librettist David Mason’s stirring oratorio based on the stories and words of those very boys from Terezín, describing their lives in the camp and expressing the dreams for a better world.
April 20 - 26: The Boys of Terezín. This 51-minute documentary, produced for MOR by award-winning filmmaker John Sharify, tells the inspiring story of the teenage prisoners who created a secret journal every week for almost two years under the noses of their Nazi captors.