September 13, 2017
The Dover Quartet will give an hour-long benefit concert in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, September 23 at 4pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center (MLK PAC). Though admission is free, the Dover Quartet and the presenting organization, Tuesday Evening Concert Series (TECS), will be encouraging audience members to make donations, all of which will go to the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation (CACF) in the Heal Charlottesville Fund, which have been providing resources to community members impacted by the tragic events last month.
Karen Pellón, Executive Director of TECS, comments:
“We are still shaken by the invasion of those who brought violence and murder under the pretense of protecting a so-called ‘heritage.’ Our beautiful little city attracts people of many different backgrounds and is an oasis for open-minded, rational discourse on history and culture. The offer by this young, rising ensemble to bring us the healing effects and joy of music and to encourage support for those who have been victims, was so moving to me that I had to make sure we did this.”
Ms. Pellón, a native New Yorker who has worked with the organization for nearly three decades, has an office just a block away from the now infamous violence that overtook the nearby streets, and was horrified by the sights and sounds of white nationalists spewing hatred and wreaking destruction in her beloved adoptive community.
Earlier this year, the Dover Quartet recorded an album featuring string quartets by three composers written during the last three years of World War II. Scheduled for release on October 13 on the Cedille label, Voices of Defiance 1943 1944 1945 takes listeners on a powerful, often harrowing, journey through three searing works by Viktor Ullmann, Dimitri Shostakovich, and Szymon Laks. Two of the three composers on the album were interned in concentration camps, one of them numbering among the millions who perished during the Holocaust. In view of the connections between the repertoire on the album and the events in Charlottesville, the Dover Quartet offered to play some of the music by the featured composers for this benefit concert, not only to support a traumatized community, but also as a reminder that we must all be ever-vigilant in calling out and confronting all forms of hatred.
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, violist for the Dover Quartet, adds:
“We were devastated when we heard the news of the events in Charlottesville last month. When we recorded ‘Voices of Defiance’ we felt that the subject matter, though specific to the events of WWII, was still relevant to humanity across time. We are heartbroken at just how relevant this material is today, and want to come to Charlottesville to share music—what connects us through love, and fuels and heals our souls—with the community of Charlottesville in the hope that it can be of at least some small help to the victims of intolerance, to whom our hearts go out.”
About the Music
Austrian composer Viktor Ullmann (1898–1944) was deported by the Nazis to Theresienstadt in 1942, and remained active in the camp’s music program until he was murdered at Auschwitz two years later. It was in Theresienstadt that he composed his Third String Quartet, a life-affirming work whose vigorous ending belies the circumstances of its creation.
Like Ullman, Polish-Jewish composer and violinist Szymon Laks (1901–83) was deported to Auschwitz, but as head of the prisoners’ orchestra, he became one of the few inmates to survive the Holocaust. Composed after the war in Paris, his Third String Quartet combines Polish motifs with a neoclassical predilection for balance, directness, and clarity.
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–75) is one of the towering figures of 20th-century composition, and the Second String Quartet is one of his longest works. Yet its tone is characteristically elusive, reflecting the game of cat-and-mouse that he was forced to play with the Soviet government throughout his career. Sometimes designated an “enemy of the people,” and at others a model citizen, Shostakovich bore continual witness to the horrors of political repression and the devastation of war.
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Dover Quartet: Benefit Concert for Charlottesville
Saturday, September 23 at 4pm
Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center
1400 Melbourne Road
Admission is Free, but donations to the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation are suggested
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© 21C Media Group, September 2017