“For five years,” writes Ezra Glinter in Sunday’s (5/17) Jerusalem Post, “[Zane] Zalis has been working on I Believe, which will be premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on May 21 [at Centennial Music Hall in Winnipeg]. Though the piece is scored for a full orchestra and a chorus of almost 200 voices, its style is often closer to musical theater than it is to contemporary classical repertoire. … The Holocaust is about the farthest thing from Zalis’s own life experience. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Zalis comes from a strictly Ukrainian Catholic background. ‘I was raised a Ukrainian boy, with Baba and Gigi in the house, I played the accordion, went to Catholic school. I was raised in traditional ways,’ he told The Jerusalem Post. But despite superficial indications to the contrary, Holocaust survivors who have heard excerpts from the work are unanimous in their verdict: Zalis gets it. … Zalis began working on I Believe in 2004 when he was commissioned to write an overture for the inauguration of the Arthur Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba."

Posted May 21, 2009