Carnegie Hall to Present “A Concert for Sugihara” and U.S. Premiere
On April 19, 2023, the New York City Opera Orchestra and Chorus will honor Chiune Sugihara, who saved thousands of Jewish refugees during WWII
Chiune Sugihara was the Japanese Vice-Consul to Lithuania, who rescued thousands of Jewish refugees during WWII. Alongside Lera Auerbach’s large-scale symphonic work honoring Sugihara’s heroism, the program will also feature Karen Tanaka’s Guardian Angel.
This concert is a commission by Jerusalem’s World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem and the American Society for Yad Vashem. The project was created by renowned American cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper.
Auerbach’s Symphony No. 6, “Vessels of Light,” for solo cello, choir, and orchestra, will be performed by Cooper, the New York City Opera Orchestra and Chorus, and conductor Constantine Orbelian.
Approached by Cooper to write the work, Auerbach has included in her symphony layers of words and music with Yiddish poetry, the art of Japanese Kintsugi, the Shevirat ha-kelim (breaking of the vessels), and the silent words of biblical Psalm 121. The work is dedicated “to Sugihara and all those who risk everything to save others.”
Alongside Honorary Dutch Consul Jan Zwartendijk, Sugihara distributed thousands of life-saving exit visas against government policies to Jews fleeing the Nazi regime. Cooper was inspired to honor Sugihara after discovering her father-in-law was the recipient of one of his visas.
“Chuine Sugihara’s story deeply touched me, and I felt utterly compelled to help bring this incredible story forward,” Cooper said in the press release. “I could not stop thinking about how my husband and children are alive, that they exist, because of this man’s bravery.”
The programming of Tanaka’s Guardian Angel, is symbolic of Sugihara acting as a guardian angel to the refugees. The work is inspired by a passage from the Old Testament in Exodus: “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared."
To attend the concert, click here.
A graduate of the Juilliard School studying with Joel Krosnick, Cooper is currently a visiting professor at the Buchmann Mehta School at Tel Aviv University. She is also vice chair of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and is on the board of the Charney Forum for New Diplomacy. She plays on the 1743 “Ex-Havermeyer” Guadagnini cello.
The world premiere of Auerbach’s Symphony No. 6 took place in November 2022 in Lithuania. Attended by Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan and international dignitaries and diplomatic corps members, the performance launched a worldwide tour.
Upcoming concerts of the piece with Cooper as soloist include the U.S. West Coast premiere with the UCLA Philharmonia and Chamber Singers, the Festival Napa Valley, Sinfonia Varsovia, and Dresdner Philharmonie. In 2024, the work will be performed by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Konzerthaus Orchester.