Chamber Music Society gives voice to composers lost to the Holocaust
Sunday performance will feature pieces written by composers murdered during the Holocaust.
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Five composers – four who were murdered or died during the Holocaust, another who survived the Nazi concentration camps during World War II – will be featured Sunday in a Holocaust Remembrance concert by the Tippecanoe Chamber Music Society.
Among the string trios and quartets for the afternoon at St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Lafayette are those written under Nazi persecution by Hans Krása, Viktor Ullman, Zikmund Schul, Gideon Klein and Simon Laks, assembled for a performance that coincides with the Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference.
Amy Brandfonbrener, artistic director for the Tippecanoe Chamber Music Society, offered this ahead of Sunday’s concert.
Question: How did the theme for this concert come about, tied to composers lost in the Holocaust?
Amy Brandfonbrener: I have friends around the country who have performed a piece here and there, and I was interested in trying to do an entire performance of works.
Question: Tell me how you assembled the pieces for this concert.
Amy Brandfonbrener: I went online to see where the pieces might be obtained and found through Yad Vashem (The World Holocaust Remembrance Center) that there is Terezin Music Memorial Project that has published some of our music, and others I found through more traditional publications of music.
Question: Students at Southwestern Middle School, under a Gedalyah Engel Education Award, had a performance last year with a similar theme. Is there any connection with that?
Amy Brandfonbrener: After I decided to program this concert, I contacted the Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference and am now on the board, so I am aware, after the fact, of last year’s concert at Southwestern Middle School. The Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference has been generous in including us in their advertising for this year’s conference and Rebekah Klein-Pejsova has kindly agreed to speak briefly before the concert.
Question: Have the circumstances the composers faced affected how you have approached these pieces as you prepare?
Amy Brandfonbrener: As far as the composers circumstances affecting our preparation, I think we always try to respectfully honor a composers intent but maybe even more so with this concert. Since there is little performance history, none of us have heard any of these pieces performed before. And usually when one is learning new repertoire, there are either the composers themselves to contact or a rich tradition, including recordings and performances to reference. We have been very careful to not correct what may be mi prints, unless we are very convinced of a mistake in the part, and we are observing every small musical marking since the composer is unavailable to clarify intent.
Question: What other context should the audience know as it settles in for the performance?
Amy Brandfonbrener: I think the audience should enjoy what is some amazing music. Each work has a distinct voice and viewpoint, and while the music itself should be heard and celebrated, one can still be shocked and devastated to hear what the world lost in this small sampling of artistic talent that was ended before its full flowering and time.
IF YOU GO: The Tippecanoe Chamber Music Society performance will feature Amy Brandfonbrener, viola; Regan Eckstein, violin; Margot Marlatt, cello; and Allison Nyquist, violin. The concert will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 16, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 600 Ferry St. in Lafayette. Tickets: $15 for adults, $5 for college students, free for K-12 students. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance at store.tippecanoechambermusic.org.
A RELATED NOTE/EVENT: The Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference will host “Stars Without a Heaven,” a photographic exhibit from Yad Vashem, from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the West Lafayette Public Library to mark Holocaust Remembrance Week. The exhibit features photographs looking at the experiences of children during the Holocaust. Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski and West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis will proclaim the start of Holocaust Remembrance week in the community during a 6 p.m. ceremony at the library, 208 W. Columbia St.
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