Along with the Mozart Flute Quartet in A major and Serenade by Dohnanyi, SCE will present “Perhaps a Butterfly,” song settings composed by SCE Artistic Director Eliot Bailen based on poems by the children of Terezin 1942-1944. Performers include Rebecca Garfein (mezzo soprano), Julia Bailen (child soprano), Susan Rotholz (flute), Michael Roth (violin), Sarah Adams (viola) and Mr. Bailen (cello).
“Perhaps a Butterfly” was commissioned by Cantor Rebecca Garfein and Congregation Rodoph Sholom of New York City in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938. 144,000 Jews passed through or died at Terezin (Theresienstadt); many of them on their way to Auschwitz. One of those passing through was Settchen Levy Feist, Cantor Garfein’s great grandmother, who ultimately perished at Auschwitz. There was a large and artistically active child population at Terezin. Of the 15,000 children interned there, only 93 survived, but the memory of these children was preserved miraculously by art, stories, and poems carefully hidden in two suitcases by the artist and teacher, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, before her deportation to Auschwitz. Some of the childrens’ writing and artwork was translated and published in the book, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.” The lyrics for these songs belong to several poems from this book.
Mr. Bailen is known throughout the tri-state area for his work writing songs with students as writing partners, especially in “Song to Symphony” residencies and productions at The Sherman School and elsewhere. “In writing these songs,” Mr. Bailen notes, “again I have the privilege and honor of working with children, vibrant and alive when they wrote their words. I tried to imagine them as I wrote the music. It is incredible how the tragedy of their situation is addressed in their poems – with dignity, little self-pity and descriptive skill – a moment to imagine that perhaps, things could have been different.”
Described by audience members at its premiere in May 2010 as uplifting and deeply affecting, Mr. Bailen’s composition features mezzo-soprano Cantor Rebecca Garfein, child soprano Julia Bailen and flutist Susan Rotholz, along with a string trio of Michael Roth (violin), Sarah Adams (viola) and cello (Mr. Bailen). Cantor Garfein, who commissioned the work in memory of her great grandmother, is the Senior Cantor of Congregation Rodoph Sholom in New York City and is the first female Cantor ever to hold this position. She is also an accomplished and sought-after recitalist, soloist and recording artist who has appeared throughout the United States, Israel, and Europe. In 1997, she was invited to participate in the Jewish Cultural Festival in Berlin, Germany and was the first female Cantor to give a solo concert in Berlin, the same city her grandfather had fled. At the 1998 Berlin Jewish Cultural Festival, she became the first female Cantor to preside in a German synagogue, and released a CD of the live recording of the 1997 Berlin concert, Sacred Chants of the Contemporary Synagogue. .Cantor Garfein made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2005 with Mandy Patinkin in a benefit concert for the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater. In 2003, Cantor Garfein made her debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in a concert celebrating the release of Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s book, “Musically Speaking.” She has been a participant in the opera program at DiCapo Opera in New York City and at the Aspen Music Festival.
Child soprano Julia Bailen, a student of singing and acting at NYC’s LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts, has been surrounded by music her whole life. She has performed frequently alongside her parents Eliot Bailen and Susan Rotholz and brothers David and Daniel, known locally for their performances as The Bailen Brothers Band. Julia is also a talented instrumentalist, accompanying herself on guitar and piano. She sang for six years with the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus and was a featured child soloist, in the second act Paris street scene, in The Met: Live in HD worldwide broadcast of “La Bohème.”
Tickets for the concert, which is open to the general public, are $25 per person ($20 for JCCS members) and include a post-concert reception with the musicians. The Jewish Community Center is located at 9 Route 39 South near the center of Sherman. For information and reservations, call the Sherman Chamber Ensemble at 860-355-5930.
Founded in 1983 to bring world-class live classical music performance to Western Connecticut, the Sherman Chamber Ensemble has been described in The New York Times as “about as close as it gets to the Platonic ideal of a chamber music concert.” The April 30th performance at the JCCS is only the beginning of what promises to be an exciting year of music with the Sherman Chamber Ensemble. Also on tap are our signature summer concert series (this year scheduled for July 8th and 9th, August 12th and 13th and September 2nd and 3rd); our annual free community concert and picnic on June 18th; an open air concert of Civil War era music at the Sherman Historical Society’s Cobbler Shop Field on July 10th as part of the regional One Book, One Lake community reading project; Labor Day weekend bluegrass jamborees; the annual “Live at the Lake” coffeehouse; Thanksgiving weekend free jazz matinee performances; a Messiah Sing-A-Long in Kent in early December and much more. Subscription tickets for the 3-concert summer series are now available for $50. Support for this season comes from many generous individual donors, the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, private foundations and local businesses.
For more information, contact the Sherman Chamber Ensemble at P.O. Box 578, Sherman, CT 06784, online at www.shermanchamberensemble.org or by phone at 860-355-5930.