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Chicago Concert of Polish and Jewish Music to Commemorate Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Today

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A Concert for Peace and Reconciliation commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, featuring both Jewish and Polish Music, will take place today, April 6, at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation at 1100 East Hyde Park Boulevard on the south side of Chicago. Admission to the concert is free. A free reception follows the performance.

The concert, which begins at 8:00 pm, is produced by the Lira Ensemble which specializes in Polish music, song and dance. The performance includes members of Chicago a cappella.

Two works will be performed. The first piece is by Max Janowski, one of the major composers of Jewish liturgical music of the 20th century, who was based at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation for decades. This program continues the celebration of Janowski's centenary. The Janowski piece for mixed chorus is sung in Hebrew.

The second piece is the Holocaust Memorial Cantata commissioned by the Lira Ensemble from Polish composer Marta Ptaszynska, head of music composition of the University of Chicago. This is a cantata sung in English, Polish, Hebrew and Yiddish. The text is a poem by Leslie Woolf Hedley's "Chant for All the People on Earth" which begins "Not to forget, not to ever forget so long as you live ..."

The Holocaust Memorial Cantata will be conducted by Lira's resident conductor, Mina Zikri, who was born in Cairo and often serves as guest conductor of the Cairo Symphony in Egypt. The Janowski work will be conducted by Jonathan Miller, founder and artistic director of Chicago a cappella. He will also serve as soloist in the Ptaszynska work. The concert will be narrated by Lucyna Migala, co-founder and artistic director of Lira.

This April, the symphonic version of the Cantata will be part of the official commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in Warsaw, Poland in a performance funded by the Ministry of Culture of Poland and Israel. It is most appropriate that the original chamber version be performed in Chicago, also in April of 2013.

The Lira Ensemble is the nation's only professional performing arts company specializing in Polish music, song and dance, which has made six concert tours of Poland. Lira consists of a symphony orchestra, singers and dancers. Chicago a cappella, founded in 1993, is an ensemble of professional singers who champion the works of living composers, has toured the US and Mexico and have produced eight recordings.

Pictured: Mina Zikri, resident conductor of the Lira Ensemble


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