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MOR returns to San Francisco Conservatory of Music with two new commissions inspired by Japanese and Japanese American wartime experience featuring new works by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Christophe Chagnard.

Since 1998 MOR has commissioned over 30 new works that remember the Holocaust and honor those who stood up in the face of injustice and persecution. That legacy continues with MOR’s 20th season, featuring newly-commissioned works inspired by Japanese and Japanese American experience during World War II. These California premieres, alongside a selection of Holocaust-era works, are among the highlights of MOR’s Voices of Witness concert on May 24, 2018, 7:30 p.m. at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Tickets: $45-$60 available at musicofremembrance.org

“MOR was founded nearly 20 years ago to remember the Holocaust through music­­, and we are still deeply committed to that mission” said MOR Founder and Artistic Director Mina Miller. “The Holocaust’s legacy also calls on us to recall all victims of exclusion and persecution. With these new commissions, we share important stories of Japanese wartime experience.”

The May 24 program, marking MOR’s fourth annual concert in the Bay Area, premieres new compositions by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Christophe Chagnard. Sakamoto’s new work, Snow Falls, draws on melodies from his film score for “Nagasaki: Memories of My Son.” It sets the iconic poem of the same title by Kiyoko Nagase, both in the original Japanese and in English translation by Japan’s Empress Michiko. Chagnard’s multimedia work Gaman focuses on the experience of people forced into incarceration camps because of their Japanese ancestry during World War II. The title refers to the struggle to endure the unbearable with patience and dignity. Combining traditional Japanese and classical Western instruments, this work brings a powerful story to life through testimonies of the words and images created by three artists and poets during their captivity in the Minidoka camp.

The program also features Paul Schoenfield’s Sparks of Glory, four passionate portraits of Holocaust defiance taken from the true accounts of heroes too modest to recognize their own heroism. In addition, soprano Roslyn Barak will interpret songs from Terezín that the prisoners wrote and sung under the noses of their Nazi captors.

MOR’s chamber ensemble, drawn from the ranks of the Seattle Symphony, is joined by guest artists baritone/narrator Robert Orth; sopranos Roslyn Barak and Ann Moss; and Ringtaro and Asako Tateishi of Seattle’s School of Taiko. For more information, visit musicofremembrance.org.

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 loss, courage and inspiration.

January 4, 2018
Contact: Mina Miller
(206) 365-7770 | info@musicofremembrance.org