Kennesaw State University Bailey School of Music to present “Kristallnacht Commemoration”

laurence sherr at piano
Holocaust music expert Dr. Laurence Sherr has composed "Fugitive Footsteps" based on poetry by Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs. 

Features Laurence Sherr’s “Fugitive Footsteps" based on poetry by Holocaust survivor Nelly Sachs

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 2, 2021) — Kennesaw State University’s Dr. Bobbie Bailey School of Music (BSOM), in partnership with KSU Museum of History and Holocaust Education (MHHE) and The Breman Museum, will present “Kristallnacht Commemoration” on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Morgan Concert Hall in the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center. The event includes music, commentary, and a traveling exhibition. 

Dr. Jesús Castro-Balbi, director of the BSOM, said, “Kristallnacht is a very important event in history, and as an educational institution, we seek to ensure that current and future generations understand the meaning of that event. At the Bailey School of Music, we do that through music, and by partnering with entities on- and off-campus to help us tell that story.” 

Baritone Cory Schantz will join conductor Samuel Miller and the KSU Chamber Singers in performing Dr. Laurence Sherr’s “Fugitive Footsteps,” based on poetry by Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs. Pianist Judith Cole, tenor Nathan Munson, clarinetist John Warren, as well as cellist and BSOM director Castro-Balbi, will perform works by composers Sherr, Lori Laitman, and Jake Heggie. 

These composers are also featured in the KSU Museum of History and Holocaust Education exhibit “Words, Music, Memory: (Re)Presenting Voices of the Holocaust.” The exhibit, which will be on display at the event, focuses on poetry and diary excerpts of people who witnessed the Holocaust and whose words live on through preservation, musical composition, and performance. 

The ten-panel traveling exhibit and its accompanying digital Gallery Guide highlight the links along the chain of commemoration that connect the past and the present, and generation to generation. While the panels focus on the words of writers who witnessed the Holocaust, the gallery guide includes biographies of the writers, sketches by the panel illustrators, information about musical and dramatic pieces adapted from the writers' works, and interviews with composers, lyricists, performers, and producers. 

It also provides visitors with opportunities to access performance videos and share their perspectives. Exhibit curator Adina Langer said, “Literature, music, and performance work together to open a window across space and time for generations to connect with one another.”

Speakers include Dr. Catherine Lewis and Adina Langer from the MHHE, Rabbi Joseph Prass from The Breman Museum, and BSOM faculty and Holocaust music expert Sherr. His expertise is manifested through the creation of Holocaust remembrance compositions, the production of Holocaust remembrance events, and through international lecturing, research, and teaching

Sherr said, “Three main composers are covered in the Gallery Guide accompanying the traveling exhibition, and all three composers have works in this concert on November 9th. I hope it will help us remember what happened, so that we may become more aware, understanding, and intelligent global citizens today.” 

Reservations for the November 9 event (in-person and virtual) are available here. View the MHHE Gallery Guide

--Kathie Beckett

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