"I am thinking of when we will meet again . . . "
— Composer Pavel Haas, in lyrics to "A Sleepless Night" (Terezín 1944).
Pavel Haas with his wife, Soňa, and daughter, Olga, before his transport to Terezín. He divorced Soňa in order to save them from a similar fate.
Our program opens with the last work Haas completed before he was murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz: a cycle of songs set to Chinese poetry imbued with loneliness and a yearning to return home, to family.
Haas's words feel especially meaningful this year, as we bring our annual fundraiser from our accustomed venue, Boston's Symphony Hall, into the safety of your home.
To address the separation and loss that pervade our current moment, we offer you expressions of unity, empathy, and hope. Watching together, we honor the legacy of the Terezín artists, whose music affirms life.
And we do so on an important date: November 9 is the anniversary of both Kristallnacht and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Destruction, division, isolation, and reunion are on our minds; mending and transcending borders is our overarching theme.
Celebrated artists bring this theme alive for us. Acclaimed pianist GARRICK OHLSSON will perform a solo piano sonata by Beethoven, who answered the isolation of deafness with musical masterpieces. Members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, tenor Francis Rogers, famed saxophonist Philipp Stäudlin, and The Prague Conservatoire's acclaimed Punkt Chorus will perform music by masterful composers lost in the Holocaust: Pavel Haas, Erwin Schulhoff, and Viktor Ullmann, plus the world premiere of a TMF commission by Afghan composer Milad Yousufi, a setting of a luminous poem by Rumi. The Boston Community Gospel Choir and Coro Allegro will lift us with music of hope.
We will hear insights on our times from MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, former U.S. Secretary of State, and ANNA ORNSTEIN, Holocaust survivor and scholar, as they receive our 2020 Terezín Legacy Award. Norman Eisen, former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, will introduce Dr. Albright, and civil rights advocate and Gold Star Parent Khizr Khan will introduce Dr. Ornstein.
Our program, produced and directed by Mark Ludwig, lasts about an hour and a half. We hope it transports you, and that we will meet again soon.