By Mary Kunz Goldman
Tonight, three musicians from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will be in New York City, on stage at Carnegie Hall (pictured above). They are part of an orchestra convened to play Shostakovich for humitarian reasons. The concert, presented by Music For Life International and called "Shostakovich for the Children of Syria," is intended to raise awareness for the thousands of children tragically displaced by the ongoing unspeakable violence in Syria. The net proceeds benefit Doctors Without Borders.
The three BPO musicians involved in the effort are violinist Deborah Greitzer, bassoonist Glenn Einschlag and oboist Brian Greene. Joining them will be musicians from the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the American Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, as well as students and faculty of the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Curtis Institute, and other major music academies.
Shostakovich wrote his Seventh Symphony, subtitled the "Leningrad," while confronting the horrors of World War II. An hour and a quarter long, it bears dramatic witness to the twin evils of Stalin and Hitler.
George Mathew conducts the concert, which takes place at 8 p.m. tonight in the Isaac Stern Auditorium, the main performance space of Carnegie Hall. Mathew was quoted as saying, "Dmitri Shostakovich's searing Seventh Symphony 'Leningrad' was written during its own composer's experience as an internal refugee while surviving the twin ordeals of Stalin's oppression and the urban catastrophe, which was the Nazi army's 900-day siege of Leningrad. There are uncanny resonances between the context of Shostakovich's monumental symphony and the Syrian Civil War, now past the tragically kindred milestone of 1000 days."
"I am very proud of our three musicians who have been chosen to perform in this concert," BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta said in a statement. "Music has the power to give voice to the voiceless, and to shake people out of their day-to-day routines and make them think about larger issues."
MFLI takes its name from the Music for Life concert led by Leonard Bernstein in 1987 at Carnegie Hall. The concert is timed to take place one week before the Geneva II conference on Syria convened by the United Nations on Jan 22 in Geneva, Switzerland.
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