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Musical Dialogues: An Exploration of Hope

On April 16 Easter Sunday at 3:00 P.M. the concert Musical Dialogues: An Exploration of Hope is presented at the Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

The concert is included in a performance and research project organized by associate professor Randi Margrethe Eidsaa, anthropologist Arve Konnestad and pianist Mariam Kharatyan from the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway. The singer Adema Pljevljak-Krehic and pianist Maja Ackar from Academy of Music Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina participate in the concert and play an important role in the project. The name Musical Dialogues is inspired from the Nansen Dialogue Center in Sarajevo. The Nansen centers in Bosnia-Herzegovina support intercultural and interethnic dialogue processes at local, national and international levels with the aim of contributing to peaceful conflict transformation.

Entrance is free of charge – more info here.

The ensemble also includes Vincent Kok, a master student in flute performance, the first concertmaster of KSO, violinist Adam Grüchot and flute professor Jørn Schau.

The concert is organized in cooperation with the Norwegian Embassy in Washington DC. The ensemble will present music from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Armenia and Norway, and the Four Prayers by Ned Rorem, an American composer whose ancestors came from the Western region of Norway.

Part of the ensemble performing on Easter Sunday

The names of Norwegian humanitarians Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) and Bodil Bjørn (1871-1960) are deeply engraved in Armenians hearts for their effort to save thousands of Armenian lives during and post-Genocide period. After World War I, Fridtjof Nansen (Nobel Peace Laureate) proposed to the League of Nations Nansen Passport, giving the possibility for about 320 000 Armenians to move freely to their preferred country. Norwegian composer Konrad M. Øhrn (1950) dedicated his Suite to Nansen, as a token of gratitude to his enormous efforts for the greater good of the humanity. Øhrn's musical work wish to express the idea that regardless of the powers of destruction, there will always be hope thanks to people like Nansen. The performance of Øhrn's work is a world premiere, and it will be performed by Kharatyan, Grüchot and Kok.

Pljevljak-Krehic and Ackar will perform a world premiere of the song On Another's Sorrow, composed by Stig Nordhagen, based on a poem by William Blake and dedicated to Biørn. Bodil Biørn has saved thousands of lives of orphans and women during the Armenian Genocide in Western Armenia, as well as she documented the Genocide through her historical Photos and personal diary.

Furthermore Mariam Kharatyan presents compositions by Armenian composers Komitas (1869-1935) and Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978), both piano works and chamber music compositions featuring violinist Adam Grüchot. From 2015 Kharatyan’s project is admitted to the Norwegian Artistic Research Program, and it is highlighting inspirational sources, the different aspects and contexts of the interpretation of A. Khachaturian's and Komitas’ several significant compositions written for piano.

Pljevljak-Krehic (left) and Ackar (right) perform classical music from Bosnia, solo pieces for piano by Bajac and Major, and songs by Prebanda and Rihtman.

The concert mirrors an exploration of hope: firstly, selected pieces of the repertoire were created during challenging political and social historical periods and secondly, new music has been composed in remembrance of Nansen and Biorn. Finally, music as a young student’s hope during the siege of Sarajevo from 1992 – 1996, is highlighted in a participant’s narrative.

The National Gallery of Art