Concert - Stormy Seas



“People want to jump overboard. If they can swim for two hours, they can make it to shore.  They would rather drown than go back.  Being sent back is a death sentence.  I am interested in staying alive.” – Ruth, age 18 old, Breslau Germany 1939

Iranian-American composer Sahba Aminikia is also a performer and educator with a deep personal commitment to human rights causes. He is the founder and artistic director of the Flying Carpet Festival, a performing arts festival for children in war zones. His new work is based on the beautiful book Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Eleanor Shakespeare. It tells five true stories about young people who braved the peril of setting sail in search of safe shores: from Nazi Germany; from communist Cuba; from war-torn Vietnam; from Taliban-dominated Afghanistan; from an orphanage in Ivory Coast. The work is a testament to hope and courage, and an appeal to our shared humanity.

Canadian composer Sid Robinovitch draws on Ladino texts in a haunting work that explores the often-overlooked story of Greece’s Sephardic communities in the Holocaust. In Rodas Recordada he sets a ballad that the Spanish poet Guillermo Diaz-Plaja told about his encounters with the Sephardic community of Rhodes before and after its destruction by the Nazis. The moving ballad has revealed an unexpected arch of history reaching from Greece to Seattle. And we illuminate the centuries-long Sephardic journey with Ladino songs of love and loss.

You’ll also experience the chamber works of two Dutch composers who met very different fates. Dick Kattenburg (like Anne Frank, ten years his junior) experienced the war years in hiding until he was betrayed. He was murdered at Auschwitz just shy of his 25th birthday, and only one of his works was performed in his lifetime. Géza Frid, a student of Bartók and Kodály, arrived in the Netherlands from his native Hungary in the late 1920s. In Nazi-occupied Amsterdam he was part of an artists’ resistance and organized clandestine house concerts. He was active in the underground as a forger of coupons and identity cards. Miraculously he escaped detention and deportation, and for years after the war was one of the most-performed composers in the Netherlands. Max Vredenburg helped found Radio Free Netherlands, which broadcast from Paris until the approach of the German army. He fled and eventually set sail to Batavia in what were then the Dutch East Indies – only to find himself in the hands of new enemies when the Japanese soon seized power there. Vredenburg endured three years in harsh prison camps, where he gave occasional clandestine music lectures, and relaunched a distinguished career in Amsterdam after the war.

Featuring MOR’s stellar instrumental ensemble drawn from the Seattle Symphony: Violinists Mikhail Shmidt, violist Susan Gulkis Assadi, cellist Walter Gray, clarinetist Laura DeLuca and pianist Jessica Choe. Guest Artists: Guitarist Michael Partington, and vocalists Tess Altiveros, soprano, Karen Early Evans, mezzo soprano, and José Rubio, baritone.  

Max Vredenburg
Lamento (1952)
Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola, Jessica Choe, piano

Dick Kattenburg
String Trio (1939)
 Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello

A Sephardic Holocaust Journey
Special Thanks to the Isaac Alhadeff Foundation for their generous support of this project

Two Ladino Songs
Adio Kerida
José Rubio, baritone
Alvores lloran por luvias
Karen Early Evans, mezzo soprano
World premiere of arrangement by Sid Robinovitch

Sid Robinovitch
Rodas Recordada (2005)
Special thanks to the Isaac Alhadeff Foundtion for their support
Tess Altiveros, soprano; Karen Early Evans, mezzo soprano; José Rubio, baritone;
Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Walter Gray, cello; Michael Partington, guitar

Géza Frid
String Trio, Op. 1 (1926)
Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola; Walter Gray, cello

Sahba Aminikia
Stormy Seas (2020)

Based on Stormy Seas: Stories Of Young Boat Refugees ©2017 Mary Beth Leatherdale (text); published by Annik Press Ltd.

World Premiere Commissioned by Music of Remembrance
Made possible through the generous support of Marcus Meier
Child performers: Lila Noelle Bahng; Vritika Gupta; Mikayla Sanchez; Mia Habermann; Makayla Burley; Victoria Evans
Laura DeLuca, clarinet; Mikhail Shmidt, violin; Walter Gray, cello; Jessica Choe, piano 
Erich Parce, director

Special Thanks to our 2020-2021 Season Sponsor 
The Powell Family Foundation

Thanks to our Community Parnters
Congregation Ezra Bessaroth
Seattle Sephardic Network
Sephardic Bikur Holim

NEA logoArtsWA logo4Culture logoSOAC logoSteinway logoPowell Family Foundation logo

Kahal Shalom Synagogue
Kahal Shalom Synagogue in Rhodes, Greece
Kahal Shalom Synagogue
Kahal Shalom Synagogue in Rhodes, Greece
MS St Louis
Jewish refugees on MS St. Louis
Cuban refugees
Cuban refugees
Vietnamese refugees
Vietnamese refugees
Afghan refugees
Afghan refugees
Ivory Coast refugees
Ivory Coast refugees