Release Date: July 8, 2008
Kennesaw State hosts premiere of Holocaust memorial composition
Contact: Cheryl Anderson Brown, Assistant Director of Public Relations, 770-499-3417 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Composer Laurence Sherr
KENNESAW, Ga.—The Kennesaw State University Orchestra will perform the world premiere of “Flame Language,” a new Holocaust memorial composition by Associate Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence Laurence Sherr, at 8 p.m. on Oct. 22 in the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center. This is Sherr’s third Holocaust-themed composition.
A consortium of vocalists and orchestras from around the country commissioned the piece, which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. Sherr, whose mother was the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust, found inspiration in the poetry of Holocaust-survivor Nelly Sachs. The words for “Flame Language” are taken from the Sachs poem “The candle that I have lit for you” and the music was created to enhance the meaning for the audience. “I want to bring Sachs’ poetry to people,” Sherr explains. “I want them to remember the Holocaust. I also want them to experience the poetry, to think about it and to take something away from the performance.”
In addition to “Flame Language,” Sherr has composed other works thematic of the Holocaust. His first piece on this theme, “Elegy and Vision,” was actually composed in memory of his brother; however, “Elegy and Vision” has been included in many Holocaust remembrance events and concerts. Later, Sherr composed “Fugitive Footsteps,” which was also inspired by a Sachs poem, to honor the survivors of the Holocaust. Before the Oct. 22 event, Sherr will present a pre-concert lecture on his Holocaust commemorations at 7 p.m. in the recital hall of the Music Building.
Sherr spent three years creating “Flame Language.” One of his main challenges was crafting a piece that would work for all the consortium musicians, which includes baritone Daniel Gale of Birmingham, Ala., bass baritone Oral Moses of Marietta; baritone Elliot Z. Levine of New York City; Leo Najar and the Bijou Orchestra of Bay City, Mich.; and Michael Alexander, director of both the Cobb Symphony Orchestra and the KSU Orchestra. “I had to tailor the piece to feature performers with different vocal ranges,” he says. “They all felt the final result was a dramatic and strong work.”
For the premiere performance at Kennesaw State, guest conductor Bridget Reischl of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music will conduct the KSU Orchestra and KSU Professor of Music Oral Moses will perform as soloist. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with a conductor who has the skills and accomplishments of Reischl,” says Sherr. “It’s also a pleasure to work with Moses, who has such a rich and expressive voice and is a fantastic communicator with audiences.”
Additional performances are planned by the other consortium members and will take place in Birmingham, Ala., New York City and in other regions. Information about future performances is available on Sherr’s website at http://ksuweb.kennesaw.edu/~lsherr/holocaust.html.
The Oct. 22 premiere of “Flame Language” will take place at 8 p.m. in the Bailey Performance Center. Tickets are $5. The free pre-concert lecture is at 7 p.m. in the recital hall of the music building. For information or to order tickets, visit www.kennesaw.edu/arts or call the box office at 770-423-6650.
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A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 20,000 from 142 countries. The third-largest university in Georgia, Kennesaw State offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education and business.
The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts programs.