At concerts this weekend, North American orchestras responded to the tragic terrorist attacks that took place on Friday, November 13 with music, heartfelt commentary, and—when appropriate—eloquent moments of silence. Among the orchestras that honored the victims of the attack are:
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra dedicated its Saturday, November 14 performance of the Verdi Requiem to those who lost their lives in the attacks on Paris. Music Director Robert Spano dedicated the concert at the beginning of the evening, and the French and American flags hung from the stage in Symphony Hall.
The Colorado Springs Symphony added Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings to its concerts this weekend, and sent the following statement to concertgoers in an email before the concert: “With heavy hearts, our attention turns to Paris in this time of tragedy. Tonight we join with those around the world in solidarity and pay tribute to those affected by the recent attacks. In lieu of Rossini’s Semiramide Overture the Philharmonic will begin this weekend’s concerts with Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Often it is through the expression of music, art, and creativity that healing can begin.”
In Ottawa, Canada, the National Arts Centre Orchestra performed “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem, at its Saturday-night concert. Conductor Jack Everly stated that he and the orchestra wished to pay tribute to the people who died in Paris. An orchestra spokeswoman reports, “The musicians wanted to do this, and the audience was very moved. People immediately stood and applauded when the music began.”
At the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., visiting conductor Gianandrea Noseda spoke from the stage at the beginning of Saturday evening’s concert to dedicate the NSO’s performance of Alfredo Casella’s Elegia eroica to the people of France. Casella, whose music is being performed this week for the first time by the NSO, lived and worked in Paris for nearly 20 years before returning to Italy in 1915. The Elegia is dedicated to “the memory of a soldier killed in war.”
At the New York Philharmonic, President Matthew VanBesien spoke from the stage prior to the concert on Saturday evening and asked for a moment of silence.
At Philadelphia Orchestra concerts this weekend, CEO Allison Vulgamore addressed the audience from stage, referencing the messages of hope and unity of Hannibal Lokumbe’s work One Land, One River, One People, which was being given its world premiere. On Sunday, she recited Leonard Bernstein’s powerful statement: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” On Saturday and Sunday, Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the orchestra opened the concert with “La Marseillaise.”
At the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, reports Sarah Bryan Miller in Saturday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “As the scope of the horrors in Paris became clear on Friday night, music-lovers and members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra gathered at Powell Symphony Hall. Before lifting his baton, a visibly shaken David Robertson pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and read from it the words of Leonard Bernstein after John F. Kennedy’s assassination: ‘This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.’ ”
Posted November 16, 2015