Posting Date: April 13, 2011
KSU professor to present Holocaust memorial concert in Prague
Laurence Sherr will also research and lecture while in Prague
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KENNESAW, Ga.—On June 28, Laurence Sherr, Kenensaw State University composer-in-residence and associate professor of music, will present a Holocaust memorial concert titled "A Holocaust Remembrance: Czech and American Chamber Music of Two Generations" at the Church of St. Lawrence in Prague, Czech Republic. The concert, partially funded through the Tommy and Beth Holder Award and grants from the KSU Institute for Global Initiatives and Office of Diversity & Inclusion, is a result of Sherr's ongoing research into music produced during the Holocaust and Holocaust memorial music.
The program for the performance will include works by three Czech composers who were interred in the Terezín ghetto: Viktor Ullmann, Gideon Klein and Ilse Weber.
Sherr's mother is the sole Holocaust survivor from her family. After extensive research into music made during the Holocaust and his own family history, Sherr has made the creation of Holocaust memorial compositions a central focus of his recent work, including the compositions "Flame Language" and "Elegy and Vision," both of which will be performed in Prague. "Flame Language" is inspired by the poem "The candle that I have lit for you," written by Nelly Sachs, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate.
Through his recent work and research, Sherr developed and taught a course on "Music and the Holocaust" at KSU. Once the decision was made to keep the course as a permanent offering, Sherr desired to travel to Prague to conduct additional research, particulary of the music produced in Terezín. Sherr explains, "The Terezín ghetto is one of the most well-known places where music occured in the Holocaust. The original idea was to go and be a researcher. Then the idea came to not only research but to perform the music I'm researching as well."
In addition to the June 28 concert, Sherr will also be participating in a concert of contemporary music on June 16 and a performance and lecture event at the Jewish Museum in Prague on June 20. This event will feature a live performance of Sherr's "Elegy and Vision."
For the performances, Sherr is working with pianist Patricia Goodson, Czech artistic director for the "Holocaust Remembrance" concert and a member of the piano faculty for New York University in Prague, along with Petr Nouzovský, cello, and Kristýna Valoušková, mezzo-soprano.
Sherr explains that the scope of his activities in Prague exceeds a few performances. "This will be a way for me to contribute culturally to the audience in Prague, but it’s more than that. This will also affect generations of learners to come. We plan to record the event and produce archival recordings. When I teach the Holocaust course in the future or give a guest lecture, I can pull up this material from this concert."
Additionally, the effects of the music, according to Sherr, go beyond educational purposes. "Music can be used to address loss, sadness and oppression. It can provide hope and healing in a different way than words can."
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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education, business and nursing. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 22,500 from 142 countries.
The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts departments.