Hebrew Union College honors International Holocaust Remembrance Day through music

CINCINNATI - As a part of its Concerts on Clifton series and in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Hebrew Union College hosted a special concert on Sunday that featured chamber works by victims of Nazi oppression.

The event featured internationally renowned pianist James Tocco and accompanying musicians performing works that were deemed "degenerate" music by the Nazi regime. The concert was held in the Scheuer Chapel on HUC's Clifton campus, according to a press release from the college.

Tocco performed Erwin Schulhoff's "5 Études de Jazz," Shostakovich's "Piano Quintet in G Minor" and Viktor Ullman's "Quartet No. 3," accompanied by cellist Daniel Culnan, violinists Rebecca Culnan and Chika Kinderman, and violist Yael Senamaud.

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The day is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet Troops in 1945.

The U.N. resolution (60/7) urges all member nations to honor the memory of the 6 million European Jews, 2 million Gypsies (Roma and Sinti), 15,000 homosexual people and millions of others killed during the Nazi regime, according to the college's press release. The resolution also encourages the "development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide. It also condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief."

HUC also held a leadership conference for the Women of Reform Judaism this weekend.

Below is information on the pieces that were performed during the program and information about the performers provided by Hebrew Union College.


String Quartet No. 3, opus 46 (c. 1943) by Viktor Ullmann (1898-194)
The piece is a lyrical, sumptuous work with a wistful quality, influenced by the Second Viennese School. Ullmann composed this piece during his imprisonment at Theresienstadt concentration camp. He died shortly after at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Although this work survives, the number of lost or missing compositions makes clear the full extent of the loss caused by persecution and war.

5 Etudes de jazz for piano solo (c. 1910-1920) by Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942)
The composer was one of the earliest and most successful exponents of art music drawing on jazz. He drew inspiration from the various cultural movements of his time, including Dada, Expressionism and Socialist Realism. His works have rarely been noted or performed. He died in the Wülzburg (Bavaria) concentration camp.

Piano Quintet in G Minor, opus 57 (c. 1940) by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
This piece is Shostakovich's best-known chamber work and is structured in five movements. Written for and performed by the Beethoven Quartet, it was premiered by them with Shostakovich himself on piano at the Moscow Conservatory in 1940. In 1941 it was awarded the Stalin Prize.

About the Performers

James Tocco has a worldwide career as a soloist with orchestra, a recitalist and a chamber music performer. His repertoire of over fifty works with orchestra includes virtually the entire standard piano concerto repertoire.

James has toured the globe with performances in the United States, Canada, much of Europe and South America, the Soviet Union, Japan, Australia, South Africa and the Middle East. He has made solo appearances with many of the major orchestras of the world in Berlin, Munich, London, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Yael Senamaud arrived in Cincinnati in 2007. Since then, she has played with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, concert:nova, the Constella Trio and ProMusica in Columbus. She currently serves as principal violist in the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Constella Trio. Yael graduated from the National Conservatory in Paris and holds a Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

Rebecca McMullan Culnan is an associate concertmaster and a violinist for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She joined the orchestra in 1978 and currently holds the Tom & Dee Steg Chair. Rebecca is originally from Mobile, Alabama. She received a degree in music from Memphis State University and then studied at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Chika Kinderman is native of Yokahama, Japan. She has been a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 1997. Prior to that, she was Assistant Principal Second Violin at North Carolina Symphony. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. She also received her Performers Diploma from Indiana University.

Daniel Culnan is currently associate principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and has been a member of the ensemble since 1982. A critically acclaimed cellist, Daniel regularly performs chamber music throughout the region as well as nationally in various capacities. He holds degrees in cello performance from the University of Colorado and the Juilliard School of Music. Daniel is also an accomplished collaborative pianist, having served on the Juilliard faculty as a staff accompanist.

Print this article Back to Top