Concert: Portraits and Remembrance
Thursday, January 27th, 8 P.M.
Belgrade National Museum
At the festival's opening concert, on January 27, the works of the five finalists of the fifth Competition for young composers "Portraits and Memories" will be presented - on January 27th, commemorating World Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The pieces from this year's edition of the competition are mostly inspired by the story and letters of Hilda Deich, which give a new perspective on the general social situation at her time and her experience in the Sajmište camp. By putting the spotlight on this topic, Rossi Fest continues its cultural mission and makes a significant contribution to the world's cultural heritage in the field of preserving the culture of memory.
The finalists of the Competition, selected by the Artistic Committee of the Festival, come from four countries, and the fantastic Aratos Trio will perform their pieces in the Atrium of the National Museum in Belgrade.
Gavin Sol Goodrich (SAD): Hilda and Mirjana’s Last Encounter
Lazar Marić (Srbija): The cry of Hilda Dajč
Zach Gulaboff Davis (SAD, Makedonija): Unfurl
Lazar Đorđević (Srbija): Letters from Semlin
Braha Bdil (Izrael): Metamorphosis on the Theme of Hava Nagila
Katarina Popović, violina
Mihailo Samoran, klarinet
Vanja Šćepanović, klavir
Hilda Dajč - Jelena Puzić, glumica
Režija – Ana Grigorović
Aratos Trio was formed in 2014. by Katarina Popović (violin), Mihailo Samoran (clarinet) and Vanja Šćepanović (piano). As already individually accomplished professional musicians, trio members have enrolled in artistic doctoral studies at the Faculty of Music, University of Arts in Belgrade (Serbia) being gathered around the idea of promoting the clarinet trio as a full-fledged and, in a way, 'standard' chamber music ensemble, different but equal to the more traditional ensembles such as piano trio or string quartet. The trio has been engaged in the artistic research of clarinet trio repertoire with a special focus on music written in the late 20th and 21st centuries, especially music composed by Serbian authors. Their repertoire includes a number of pieces, including the most important early works written for clarinet trio by composers such as Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinsky, Aram Khachaturian, Gian Carlo Menotti, Darius Milhaud, Alexander Arutiunian, etc., some of which are considered to be the most significant pieces in chamber music history. Next to performing already existing pieces by Ivan Brkljačić, Vladimir Tošić, Milana Stojadinović Milić, Dragana Jovanović, Isidora Žebeljan, Ante Grgin (who dedicated his Trio for clarinet, violin, and piano to Aratos Trio) and other Serbian composers. Aratos Trio is investigating possibilities for the newest additions to the clarinet trio repertoire through collaboration with various contemporary composers. Since its inception, Aratos Trio has presented at least 15 clarinet trio pieces for the first time in front of a Serbian audience, thus positioning itself as a fresh and innovative ensemble on the Serbian classical music scene. The performances of the Aratos Trio were observed in concert podiums throughout Serbia and Italy. In August 2017, Aratos Trio participated at the International Music Festivals Nei Suoni dei Luoghi and Carniarmonie, both in Italy. Recognized as the best ensemble by the director of the festival and famous cellist, Mr. Enrico Bronzi, Aratos Trio was honored to close the Nei Suoni dei Luoghi Festival in Giuseppe Verdi Theatre in Trieste - Italy, in November 2018. Aratos Trio's projects are recognized and supported by SOKOJ and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia.
Gavin Sol Goodrich - Hilda and Mirjana’s Last Encounter
Gavin Sol Goodrich is a composer and concert pianist. Hailing from Washington State, his works have been performed by Ekmeles, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Vibraphone Project Inc. He graduated from Columbia University with honors with degrees in mathematics and music. Under the advisement of Georg Friedrich Haas, his senior thesis focused on writing 15th-century polyphony in microtonal systems. He is currently working in Spain on a Fulbright grant.
Hilda and Mirjana’s Last Encounter
I wrote this work when my mom was dying, after she lost her ability to speak, and all I could do was hold her hand in silence. This trio is my attempt at understanding Mirjana’s thoughts as she met Hilda for the last time, knowing she was meeting a dying loved one and doing her best to comfort her without words. This piece is me trying to glimpse into one of the saddest moments of a stranger’s life and attempting to see through my own grief by connecting with Mirjana’s wordless goodbye.
Lazar Marić - The cry of Hilda Dajč
Lazar Marić (2001) is a composition student at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade. He received his primary musical education at the "Stevan Hristić" music school in Kruševac. After that, he enrolled in the "Stevan Mokranjac" high school of music in Kraljevo in the instrumental department - majoring in piano. He graduates high school as the best student of his generation and he enrolls in composition studies at the Faculty of Music in the class of professor Dragan Latinčić. His pieces were performed at concerts and festivals, such as KoMA'17, KoMA'18, and FESTUM.
The cry of Hilda Dajč
The cry of Hilde Dajč is an instrumental piece inspired by Hilda Dajč letters in which she described the suffering of innocent civilians in a Nazi concentration camp. Through the sound of the clarinet, violin, and piano, as well as in complex compositional and technical procedures, all the suffering, perseverance, and personal struggle of a young Jewish woman are depicted. The description of the struggle of a young Jewish woman is reflected, both in terms of form, as well as on the harmonic-melodic level, which is the result of deep research into the sound possibilities of instruments.
Zach Gulaboff Davis - Unfurl
Described as “beautiful, lyrical” and brimming with “unexpected harmonic shifts,” the music of Macedonian-American composer Zach Gulaboff Davis centers on the expressive and dramatic possibilities of compositional narrative. A 2023 MacDowell Fellow, Zach maintains an active schedule as a composer and collaborator across the globe. Zach has partnered with a plethora of organizations and performers ranging from NASA’s Space Science Telescope Institute, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, to NYC’s Apotheosis Opera, and has completed residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Atlantic Center, Brevard Institute, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Canada’s Arcady Ensemble, most recently serving as the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellow for Composition at Millay Arts.
This work was penned as a homage, honoring the remembrance of World War II while providing a ray of hope and optimism for a brighter future. It is my dream that this work serves not only as a marker of the past but inspires some small spark of hope for a trajectory toward peace. As the work unfolds, listen for changes in texture and character, eventually returning to a climax reminiscent of the opening.
Lazar Đorđević - Letters from Semlin
Lazar Djordjevic was born in 1992 in Kragujevac. The compositions by Lazar Djordjevic were performed several times in the country and abroad. He was a participant in many festivals such as the International Review of Composers in Belgrade, Rossi fest, KOMA festival (for young authors), Festum, etc. For the composition Jednom sam negde čuo... for clarinet, accordion, and string quartet (2016) he received an international award for the best composition at the contest New Serbian Music for the Accordion at the International Festival of Accordions Eufonija. He is a prize-winner from the Stevan Hristic Foundation in 2015 and Josip Slavenski Foundation in 2017. He is the author of the first Serbian concerto for accordion and orchestra, which premiered in 2017. Lazar Đorđević is currently employed as an assistant at the Department of Music Theory at the Faculty of Music Arts in Belgrade.
Letters from Semlin
The piece Letters from Semlin for violin, clarinet, and piano was composed at the end of 2022 and is dedicated to the Aratos Trio and Rossi Fest. The main inspiration for the creation of the work was four letters written by Hilda Deich in December 1941. Letters assigned to friends Nada Novak and Mirjana Petrović are written evidence of the last months of the life of 20-year-old Hilda, who volunteered to work as a nurse in the camp at the Belgrade Sajmište. The musical narrative follows the content of the letters, therefore four larger units can be discerned when it comes to the musical form. The idea of the piece is to present the courage and humanity of young Hilda Deich through musical means and to once again revive the memory of the innocent victims of the Holocaust.
Brcaha Bdil - Metamorphosis on the Theme of Hava Nagila
Composer, conductor, and pianist has a Master's degree in Music Education and Composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.
Bracha was awarded the 2019-2020 ACUM Award, in Israel, won the first prize in the Wolf Durmashkin Composition Award, Germany (2018), and the first prize in the Yardena Alotin Composition Competition, Bar-Ilan University, Israel (2016). Her repertoire includes orchestral music, chamber, vocal and electronic music, as well as music for dance and theater.
Metamorphosis of "Hava Nagila" (Let's Rejoice)
The work seems to follow the caricature of the writings of Hilda Dajč, a Jewish girl, born in Belgrade, who perished in the Holocaust. Her first letter to her friend was optimistic as it was written the day before her exile to Sajmište camp, as well as the presentation of the melody "Hava Nagila" in a dance klezmer style. The following letters, which are addressed to various friends, contain impressions of the difficult camp life, and in accordance with their content - the music also becomes more expressive and dramatic and sometimes sounds like a kind of prayer.
During the war, Hilda Dajč volunteered for nursing services on her own initiative, served as a nurse in the Jewish hospital in Belgrade, and despite the despair and anxiety - continued her activities in the camp as well. Metamorphosis of "Hava Nagila" - as a tribute to Dajč - strives to paint a portrait of memory interwoven with the hope, to perpetuate the Jewish-Hebrew heritage in an optimistic tone. Through the expressive variations, the dance melody alternately floats and rises and even signs the composition. Despite the many attempts at "final solutions" to the destruction of the Jewish nation – it is still alive, exists, and continues to draw its historical portrait.