Music of Remembrance to Present ‘Return to Amasia’ Recalling the Armenian Genocide

By Chris Ruel

Music of Remembrance (MOR), a music organization dedicated to remembering the Holocaust through music, will present “Return to Amasia” on February 28 at 5:00 P.M. PST. The concert will be available for one week following the premiere.

The online presentation features the world premiere of a new work by composer Eric Hachikian, the grandson of survivors of the Armenian genocide. Ottoman authorities murdered or expelled 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Turkey and surrounding regions during and after World war I. Hachikian’s composition presents a musical and visual account of his journey to the city of Amasia in search of his ancestral roots.

Also on the program are three works by composers who fled the Nazi regime. Michel Michelet, born Mikhail Isaakovich Levin in Kiev, became a pioneering film composer in France during the 1930s. Michelet left the country after the Nazi invasion and worked in Hollywood, where he wrote the scores for several important film noirs. Paul Ben Haim, born Paul Frankenburger in Munich, influenced the musical life of the burgeoning Israeli state after emigrating to Palestine at the onset of Nazi rule. And Géza Frid, a native Hungarian, fled his home country and lived in the Netherlands during the 1920s, where he established himself as a composer and pianist. Frid was also a member of the Dutch underground.

Seattle Symphony musicians Mikhail Schmidt and Natasha Bazhanov (violin), Susan Gulkis Assadi (viola), Sarah Rommel (cello), Jessica Choe (piano), and Valerie Muzzolini Gordon (harp) bring the composers’ journeys to life.