March 4, 2005
The concerts will be staged at the
Conceived by Murry
Sidlin, the dean of CUA’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, the concert in
four parts will feature a broad range of musical selections recalling
The concerts will conclude with the April 17 concert/drama performance of Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem,” a 1962 piece commissioned for the reconsecration of a British cathedral destroyed during World War II. It was conceived as a public statement of Britten’s anti-war sentiments, and combines the Latin Mass for the Dead with excerpts from the poetry of World War I casualty Wilfred Owen. In addition to the original score, Sidlin has created dramatic readings and video interpretations to accompany the concert/drama performance.
Selections from previous nights will include Civil War-era folk songs like “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye,” popular WWII-era jitterbug hits like “Over There” and “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company C” and protest music from the Vietnam War era.
“These concerts are all related to the theme of music in service of mankind during great conflict and strife,” Sidlin said. “The music becomes an inspired vision toward a higher human ideal. It has been created by or honors people who have been confronted with the worst of mankind, and reminds us how the arts can represent the best of mankind.”
In addition to the four-part concert, CUA musicologist Grayson Wagstaff has organized a President’s Symposia to accompany the “Waging Peace” performances. Films, lectures and roundtable discussions will be held at CUA from April 11 through April 16. For a complete listing of concert and symposia information, visit the “Waging Peace” Online Press Kit.
This spring’s production at CUA will feature the CUA Orchestra, conducted by Sidlin and Kate
Tamarkin; the CUA Chorus, conducted by Leo Nestor; and the CUA Musical Theatre Company, directed by Jane Pesci-Townsand and N. Thomas Pedersen. Principal singers will include soprano Maureen Francis, baritone Stephen Gaertner, soprano Sharon Christman and tenor Mark Schowalter.
Sidlin is an award-winning conductor whose concert/drama productions of
Bernstein’s “MASS” and “Defiant Requiem” both explored similar themes of the
transcendental and healing power of music in times of war and civil strife. For
10 years the
“Defiant Requiem,” a concert/drama he conceived, researched and wrote to tell the story of a group of prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp, was taped by PBS and aired across the country. The concert/drama recounts how imprisoned conductor Rafael Schächter marshaled and prepared more than 150 of his fellow captives to perform Giuseppi Verdi’s “Requiem” as a secret form of rebellion against the Nazis. The critically acclaimed production was first performed in April 2002, when Sidlin was resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony. The PBS production won the Bronze Plaque at the 51st Columbus International Film & Video Festival and the New York Film Festival’s Gold World Medal, its top award for television programming and promotions.
TICKETS: Symposia events are free; tickets are required for each President’s Concert
performance. Performance tickets for “Waging Peace” are: $25, $15 and $10 per night. For tickets or more information, contact 202-319-5416.
MEDIA: The media is welcome to cover the symposia and concert performances. Contact Chris Harrison or Katie Lee in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600 to arrange for advance interviews or to secure media passes to symposia events or the “Waging Peace” performances.
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