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Orchestra remembers conflict with music

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Orchestra remembers conflict with music

One of the most atrocious acts of World War Two, and a dark day in New Zealand history, will both be commemorated in a major concert in Wellington this month.

On 29 September 1941, 34,000 Jewish civilians were murdered by Nazi forces at Babi Yar, a ravine in Kiev, Ukraine. This year on that date-the 70th anniversary of the massacre-the New Zealand School of Music Orchestra will present a concert including Requiem 'The Holocaust', a work written by Boris Pigovat in remembrance of his grandparents and aunt who were victims of the massacre.

The orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Young, will also perform Schelomo by Ernest Bloch, Remember Parihaka by Anthony Ritchie and Luminous by John Psathas-all of which reflect on tragic events.

"Music, as a response to conflict and trauma, has the power to express what cannot easily be put into words," says New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) Director Elizabeth Hudson.

"The four works in this concert were created in response to four very different situations from the past, but through their performance we will bring them into our present, and remember and honour the victims. Regardless of whether whole societies are involved, or a personal tragedy is invoked, music encourages us to share and reflect on our own relationship to these histories in a very special way."

Requiem 'The Holocaust' was written for solo viola and orchestra, and NZSM Associate Director Professor Donald Maurice will take the solo role.

Schelomo (Solomon), an evocative work for solo cello and orchestra with poignant Hebrew motifs, was written by Ernest Bloch in response to the horrors of World War One. The soloist will be the Israeli-born cellist Inbal Megiddo, NZSM's newly appointed cello lecturer in her first major public concert in this country.

A New Zealand context to the theme of music's response to tragedy will be provided by Anthony Ritchie's Remember Parihaka which was inspired by the conflict between Taranaki M?ori and British soldiers in the 1800s; and John Psathas's Luminous, written in memory of a friend who was overwhelmed by the cultural dislocation she experienced immigrating to this country from China.

The concert will be hosted by Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon Christopher Finlayson, and will also be attended by Israeli Ambassador His Excellency Shemi Tzur.

The New Zealand School of Music Orchestra presents a concert on the 70th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre: 7.30pm, Thursday 29 September in the Wellington Town Hall.

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