Music of Remembrance to Present New Multimedia Work at San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Music of Remembrance (MOR) presents a newly commissioned multi-media work by American composer Mary Kouyoumdjian to be performed at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St.,SF, on May 24, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Mirror of Memory features San Francisco Opera mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook. Tickets: $45 - $60 (at

The program includes Kouyoumdjian's to open myself, to scream, the story of Austrian-Romani artist Ceija Stojka, who survived three concentration camps to become a noted painter and writer. This electroacoustic work combines live chamber music with electronic recording and incorporates compelling imagery by the Syrian-Armenian artist Kevork Mourad.

The Mirror of Memory program also features Songs of the Vilna Ghetto performed by mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook. During World War II, Vilna's Jews held out to defend a unique heritage, and within the ghetto's walls poetry and music took on special importance. Cook will also perform contemporary American composer Lori Laitman's song cycle The Seed of Dream, based on poetry by Vilna Ghetto survivor and resistance fighter Abraham Sutzkever.

MOR commissions and performs work that highlights the resilience of persecuted peoples. This concert marks MOR's third visit in as many years to the Bay Area. In 2015 and 2016, the organization brought two new operas commissioned from Tom Cipullo (After Life) and Jake Heggie (Out of Darkness), respectively. After Life was recently named the winner of the National Opera Association's prestigious Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition.

"Music of Remembrance's roots are in the music that commemorates the Holocaust and the voices it silenced," says MOR's Artistic Director Mina Miller, "Those events have profound resonance for our world today. We've failed to learn from history if we choose not to speak and act on behalf of people whose rights and dignity are threatened in our own time."

Music of Remembrance's programs focus on the resilience of people excluded or persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. In addition to rediscovering and performing music from the Holocaust, MOR has commissioned and premiered more than 20 new works by some of today's leading composers, telling stories of tragedy and inspiration.

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Artwork by Ceija Stojka, courtesy of Marcus Meier.

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