Amherst College to Present Series of Activities Culminating in Performance of “War Requiem” March 8

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

February 26, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College Department of Music will host a series of activities culminating in a rare performance of Benjamin Britten’s powerful “War Requiem” on Saturday, March 8, at 8 p.m. in the school’s Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center. The concert will have reserved seating, with tickets available for reservation beginning Feb. 25.

Prior to the evening performance­, at 2 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium, students enrolled in the college’s Music, Human Rights, and Cultural Rights and Music and War courses of professors Jeffers Engelhardt and Jenny Kallick will present and discuss “The Experience of War” Web site (https://cms.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music) they created for their classes. Following the presentation, the program will continue at around 4 p.m. at Amherst’s Mead Art Museum, where there will be refreshments, a display of artworks used by the classes and live music performed by the Amherst College jazz combo “Offbeat Generation” and various student musicians associated with “The Experience of War.” Both events are free and open to the public.

The Amherst undergraduates, in conjunction with the Amherst Today program, created and selected images for the Web site in order to encourage a conversation about music, war, violence and peace both on campus and beyond. Featured are original artworks from the collection of the Mead Art Museum and sounds, texts and videos with personal commentaries.

The infrequently performed 20th-century masterpiece “War Requiem” was written for the consecration of England’s rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, which had been almost completely destroyed during World War II, and is a deeply felt pacifist manifesto. The piece features a dramatic, liturgical setting of the traditional Latin Mass for the Dead interspersed with settings of anti-war texts by Wilfred Owen, a gifted young soldier-poet who died during the last week of hostilities of World War I.

The Amherst College Choral Society—led by guests Wayne Abercrombie, Cathy Melhorn and Ryan Brandau while director Mallorie Chernin is on leave—will be joined in this special event by the Smith College Glee Club conducted by Jonathan Hirsh, as well as soloists Janna Baty, mezzo-soprano; Scott Murphree, tenor; and Richard Lalli, baritone. The Amherst College Symphony Orchestra performs under the direction of Mark Lane Swanson.

Tickets are available for $6 for the general public and free to Five College students with identification. All tickets are for reserved seating only and may be held for purchase on the night of the performance by emailing amherstwarrequiem@gmail.com.

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