Category: Classical

Rafael Schäcter and the “Defiant Requiem”

During World War II the Jewish inmates of the Terezin Concentration Camp (sometimes known as Theresienstadt) under the Nazis found a nonviolent way to resist, to claim their own identity and find a place of freedom amid the horrors of the Holocaust. The key was music. The initiator was Rafael Schäcter, a Czech Jewish composer… Read more »

Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem”

“My subject is War, and the pity of War.  The Poetry is in the pity…All a poet can do today is warn.”  These words by Wilfred Owen are inscribed on the title page of British composer Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem.”  Britten combined the Latin text of the Requiem Mass with nine poems of the World… Read more »

Ameen Mukdad

Amid the ruins of an ancient shrine in the city of Mosul in Iraqi, the violinist Ameen Mukdad played his composition “I am Free.”  That composition was written while Mosul was under the stern rule of the Islamic State which banned music and musical instruments.  Mukdad played in hiding, but eventually his music was discovered… Read more »

Masao Ohki (1901-1971)

Japanese composer Masao Ohki was profoundly moved by The Hiroshima Panels painted by Iri and Toshi Maruki (See the article about the Marukis in our Peace Art Festival).  Inspired by their first six panels which had been completed by 1953 he composed his Fifth Symphony.  The six movements of the symphony follow the themes of the six… Read more »

Yo Yo Ma

(b. 1955) Sesame Street first introduced me to Yo Yo Ma as I was watching it with my kids. When I later saw him with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra I was struck by both his ease in his flawless musicianship and by his humble, simple joy with the music. He continually established eye-contact with the… Read more »