San Francisco Classical Voice
April 17 2015

By Janos Gereben,

April 17, 2015

April 24 is considered the first day of the Armenian genocide in 1915,
when during the final days of the Ottoman Empire, an estimated one
million people were slaughtered.

Political/historical debates continue as long as Turkey -- successor
state to the empire -- refuses to acknowledge the thoroughly documented
events, but most of the world mourns the enormous loss of innocent
lives and observes the anniversary.

The major musical event in San Francisco will be "Witness and Rebirth:
an Armenian Journey" at the Palace of Fine Arts, beginning at 5 p.m.

on April 26.

Fresno, with its large population of ethnic Armenians, will be
represented at the event. Theodore Kuchar's Fresno Philharmonic,
Fresno Master Chorale, and Fresno State Concert Choir, directed by
Anna Hamre, will perform the world premiere of Cantata for Living
Martyrs by Grammy-nominated composer Serouj Kradjian.

Kuchar, who is leading the Philharmonic for the 13th season, is also
music director of the Janacek Philharmonic in the Czech Republic,
the Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela, and the Reno Chamber Orchestra
in Nevada. He previously served as music director of the Ukrainian
National Orchestra in Kiev and the Boulder Philharmonic in Colorado.

Soloists are famed Armenian-American mezzo-soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian
and baritone Eugene Brancoveanu (not from Armenia, but long active
in Fresno in addition to San Francisco and elsewhere). Also on the
program: the late Soviet-Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian's Violin
Concerto, with Catherine Manoukian as soloist.

Other events:

* A free concert at San Francisco's Union Square, beginning at 5 p.m.

on April 21, with Sebu Simonian of the indie-pop band Capital Cities,
Anna and Anaïs Duo (Anna Garano and Anaïs Alexandra Tekerian), and
visual artist Kevork Mourad. The concert is presented by the Armenian
Genocide Centennial Committee.

* "Memory of Trees," at the SOMarts Cultural Center through April
22 (gallery hoursnoon to 7 p.m.), features the work of photographer
Kathryn Cook as she traces the memory of the Armenian Genocide across
Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Armenia, Israel, and France.

* The Armenian National Philharmonic's touring "Concert of Remembrance"
will be performed at 7:30 p.m. May 12, at Los Angeles' Walt Disney
Concert Hall. Conducted by Eduard Topchjan, the program includes
Khachaturian's Spartacus Suite from his acclaimed ballet,
Tigran Mansurian's Violin Concerto, with Anush Nikoghosyan as soloist,
and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5.