Yo Yo Ma joins today’s Holocaust event

Yo Yo Ma joins today’s Holocaust event


norman lebrecht

April 19, 2020

Message received:

From the homes of great artists to ours, an online film experience for Holocaust Remembrance Day (Monday), from Boston’s Terezín Music Foundation:

New performances sent from home by Yo-Yo Ma, Simone Dinnerstein, and contributed by Andris Nelsons, members of the BSO, violinist Michael Ludwig and other major artists, prayer and song sent from home by Shai Abramson (Chief Cantor of the IDF), and noted Boston clergy, reflections and stories from Holocaust survivors;

The film will reside here, at the “TMF on Yom Hashoah” YouTube channel.

Performance highlights are cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing the “Prayer from Jewish Life” by Swiss-American composer Ernst Bloch, Simone Dinnerstein performing “The Mysterious Barricades” by François Couperin, Nathan Meltzer performing “Eli, Eli (My God, My God)” on
the legendary Ames Stradivarius violin, IDF Chief Cantor Shai Abramson performing the Warsaw Ghetto Song, U.S. Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco reading a TMF- commissioned poem about freedom and Coro Allegro (Boston’s LGBTQ+ and allied classical chorus), performing a TMF-commissioned setting of that poem by composer Pablo Ortiz, acclaimed violinist Michael Ludwig performing a Bach sonata, and soprano Nora Fisher closing the program with “Oseh Shalom,” the Jewish prayer for peace.

In moving first-hand testimony, survivor and noted psychiatrist Dr. Anna Ornstein shares a remarkable story from her time in Auschwitz with her mother, and the late Zuzana Růžičková, famed harpsichordist and survivor of Terezín, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen, reflects on the
power of art and the importance of “inner freedom.” Integrated into the film are paintings by internationally famed artist and Vilna Ghetto survivor Samuel Bak, whose works preserve the memory of the ruination of Jewish life and insist on the power of creativity.



  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    Holocaust remembrance day: two quotes from Primo Levi’s SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ:


    Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition, which is opposed to everything infinite. Our ever-insufficient knowledge of the future opposes it: and this is called, in the one instance, hope, and and in the other, uncertainty of the following day. The certainty of death opposes it: for it places a limit on every joy, but also on every grief. The inevitable material cares oppose it: for as they poison every lasting happiness, they equally assiduously distract us from our misfortunes and make our consciousness of them intermittent and hence supportable.”


    Death begins with the shoes; for most of us, they show themselves to be instruments of torture, which after a few hours of marching cause painful sores which become fatally infected. Whoever has them is forced to walk as if he were dragging a convict’s chain (this explains the strange gait of the army which returns every evening on parade); he arrives last everywhere, and everywhere he receives blows. He cannot escape if they run after him; his feet swell and the more they swell, the more the friction with the wood and the cloth of the shoes becomes insupportable. Then only the hospital is left: but to enter the hospital with a diagnosis of “dicke Füsse” (swollen feet) is extremely dangerous, because it is well known to all, and especially to the SS, that here there is no cure for that complaint.