AJMF: Holocaust Message in the Music

AJMF: Holocaust Message in the Music

By David R. Cohen | david@atljewishtimes.com

Music has the power to make us see and feel the world differently.

KSU Laurence Sherr
Laurence Sherr

For the Jews of Europe in World War II, music was greater than notes and measures. It served as a means for survival, a theme for resistance and medicine for the sick.

In 2015, the music from that period sends a poignant message: Never forget.

The final event of this year’s Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, “Music of Resistance and Survival: A Holocaust Remembrance Concert,” will explore the music and compositions of the Holocaust era with two concerts March 23 at The Temple, 1589 Peachtree St., Midtown.

“The Atlanta Jewish Music Festival is thrilled to include the Holocaust Remembrance Concert as part of our sixth annual spring festival,” festival director Russell Gottschalk said. “This concert will be a fantastic finale to our festival.”

The musical program will include partisan, ghetto, and concentration camp songs; piano music by Felix Mendelssohn and Austrian Jewish composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold; and a new cello sonata based on that music by the composer in residence at Kennesaw State University’s School of Music, Laurence Sherr.

“It’s important for people to understand that artists during the Holocaust were creating music out of necessity,” Sherr said. “This wasn’t music for entertainment, although certainly it could serve that purpose. This was music of identity and, as we have in the title, of resistance and survival. This music helped people to have hope.”

Produced by the KSU School of Music, the event will feature two Holocaust exhibits open for viewing before and after the concerts: “Never Forget: An Introduction to the Holocaust” and “Georgia’s Response to the Holocaust.”

The music tells compelling stories of the Jewish experience in the Holocaust era. From the nearly 30,000 Jewish partisans who fought during World War II to the victims of Nazi occupation who number in the millions, this music is a reminder of a tragic time in Jewish history. The objective of the performance is to connect people with the creators of these stories through music.

“My goal in connecting people to the past is to strive for a better society today,” Sherr said, “so people can be more understanding and tolerant and so that we can address injustice. It’s our way of healing the world or, to use the Jewish phrase, tikkun olam.”

The first of two concerts opens at 9:30 a.m. for students. The second show will open at 7 p.m. for the exhibits, with the concert at 8; it is open to the entire community. Admission is free, but registration is required through musicksu.com.


What: Holocaust Remembrance Concert

Where: The Temple, 1589 Peachtree St., Midtown

When: 7 p.m. Monday, March 23

Tickets: Free with registration

Information: ksuweb.kennesaw.edu/~lsherr/2015HolocaustConcert

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