Wednesday, 29 April 2015, 7.30 PM
Pianist Teo Gheorghiu and violinist Ilya Gringolts joined with the Human Rights Orchestra and conductor Alessio Allegrini to perform a benefit concert at KKL Lucerne, Switzerland, in support of Maher, a non-governmental organization centered near Pune, India.
Franz Schubert Entr’acte No.3 from Rosamunde, D.797
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37
Teo Gheorghiu, piano
Bruce Adolphe Violin Concerto, “I Will Not Remain Silent”
Ilya Gringolts, violin
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No.4 in B-flat major, Op.60
Maher's mission is to help destitute women, children and men, irrespective of gender, caste, creed, or religion. In 1997 Sister Lucy Kurien opened her first shelter for women victims of domestic violence. Today, Maher (“mother's home” in the Marathi language) serves over 1,100 adults and children in five centers for women, twenty-eight centers for children, and one for men. Maher provides shelter, food, health and counseling services, education and vocational training. For more information, see www.maherashram.org
OUR GUEST SOLOISTS
I WILL NOT REMAIN SILENT
Concerto for violin and orchestra
Reflections by the composer, Bruce Adolphe
At the March on Washington, August 28, 1963, just before Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, Joachim Prinz delivered a powerful message that included these words:
“When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.
A great people which had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality and in the face of mass murder. America must not become a nation of onlookers…”
Today, this message is as important as it was then. The best way to contribute to society is to make your voice heard. Never leave it to others. Discuss, debate, respond, write, march, protest, speak out, vote. In the western industrialized nations, with so many leisure distractions, it is all too easy to be lulled into complacency, to think of “the news” as something to watch without the realization that you can be involved, you can affect change, you can be heard. When running for office, President Obama knew the power of the phrase, “Yes we can.” It is about doing rather than watching; it is about speaking out rather than being silent.
My wife’s family is related to Joachim Prinz (he was the brother-in-law of my father-in-law’s first cousin) and so I learned about this extraordinary man through personal stories rather than through media of any kind. My wife and I were married by Jonathan Prinz, Joachim’s son. We have visited with Lucie Prinz, Joachim’s daughter. When I read Joachim Prinz’s autobiography Joachim Prinz Rebellious Rabbi (edited and with an introduction by Michael A. Meyer) I knew I had to compose some music about him, to bring his life and message to others in the best way I could.
In an oratorio I composed in 2011 titled Reach Out, Raise Hope, Change Society — which is about civil rights and justice around the world — I set to music Prinz’s words, “The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence”. Soon after, I began to ponder how else I might compose music inspired by Prinz. I feel strongly that Prinz’s life, his courage to speak out, and his eloquence should be more widely known so that more people could be inspired by his example.
Born in Germany in 1902, Prinz was a brave, outspoken rabbi in Berlin during the Nazi years who saved thousands of lives and risked his own by warning Jews of the evils to come under Hitler. Escaping to America in 1937, Prinz became a friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a vociferous, inspiring leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Prinz’s participation in the March on Washington was, he always felt, a highlight of his life, the culmination of all the things he had stood for throughout his career both in America and earlier in Germany.
In that speech, he said, “In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybody’s neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic concept. It is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man’s dignity and integrity.” President Obama quoted these words when he spoke from Israel on March 21, 2013. Suddenly, people around the world heard of Joachim Prinz for the first time and were moved by his message. In the 1950s, the Quakers coined the phrase speak truth to power — it is a phrase that describes the life of Joachim Prinz perfectly. One voice that will not be silent.
This concert was sponsored by CONCORDIA Insurances, Switzerland.