On Friday evening at 6:00 pm on August 14, 2009, visual artist Jim Schantz will create an improvisational painting inspired by the Hawthorne String Quartet’s live performance of Hans Krása’s String Quartet (1921).
Marking the 50th anniversary of Martinu’s death, the Hawthorne String Quartet will perform Bohuslav Martinu’s Sixth String Quartet. The all-Czech program will also include Gideon Klein’s Fantasy and Fugue for String Quartet, composed in 1943 during his incarceration in the Terezín concentration camp. Both Klein and Krása perished in the Holocaust. The concert will take place at Ozawa Hall.
Mark Ludwig who is a Fulbright scholar of Holocaust Music and director of the Terezín Chamber Music Foundation (TCMF) conceived the collaboration between the quartet and Jim Schantz. The project entitled REMEMBRANCE & BEYOND: A LEGACY IN MUSIC & PAINTING, celebrates the extraordinary creative spirit and legacy of Hans Krása. This unique artistic collaborative draws inspiration from the life and music of composer Hans Krása. Before his incarceration in the Terezín concentration camp, Krása was among the most promising voices of his musical generation. Tragically, he, like so many gifted artists and composers imprisoned in Terezín, perished in the Holocaust. REMEMBRANCE & BEYOND is a transformative memorial to these extraordinary artists.
Upon the 1921 premiere of Hans Krása String Quartet in Paris, critics hailed the young Krása as a composer in the “company of Schoenberg and Bartok.” Holocaust music scholar Mark Ludwig discovered that Krása envisioned that this composition would be performed while an artist actively painted in response before an audience. This choreography of music and color surely has its experimental roots in the Surrealist movement.
Recently, Mark Ludwig reflected on this project: “The Quartet (1921) and Krasa’s vision for this composition symbolize the great promise of this lost generation. The act of painting live provides audience members with a thrilling perspective into the connections between the visual arts and music; and the opportunity of experiencing the promise of creativity in process.”
“This unique and engaging work by Hans Krása,” said Schantz of the String Quartet, “has an inner energy that speaks of the intense creative spirit of the composer….Each time I paint to this piece, I believe there is a transformative experience. The composition is powerful, compelling and contains a message of hope and promise. It is my hope that the paintings that are completed from this series will evoke this promise in a visual form.”
Working in the tradition of the Hudson River School of painting, Jim Schantz is a Berkshire resident whose works have been displayed and featured in exhibition in major museums and private collections around the world, including the Berkshire Museum, the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, the Harrison Gallery in Williamstown and Pucker Gallery in Boston.
Since its inception in 1986, the Hawthorne String Quartet (which consists of Boston Symphony Orchestra members violinists Ronan Lefkowitz and Si-Jing Huang, violist Mark Ludwig, and cellist Sato Knudsen) has performed all over the world, including appearances at such major festivals as Tanglewood, Ravinia and Aspen. Appointed Quartet-In-Residence at Boston College in 1998, HSQ has distinguished itself internationally by championing the works of composers who perished in the Holocaust. In addition to working with Schantz, the quartet has also collaborated with Christopher Hogwood, Ned Rorem, Andre Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Marta Argerich and the Philobolus Dance Company.
The Terezin Chamber Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and advancing the resilience of the human spirit as expressed in and inspired by the music and art created in the Terezin concentration camp. TCMF encourages the commission of chamber music compositions by emerging composers. These commissions will form an ongoing contribution to the chamber music repertoire and serve as agents of inspiration, healing, and transformation for future generations of artists and audiences. Ongoing TCMF commission projects include collaborations with Dawn Upshaw, Prague Spring Festival, Simone Dinnerstein, Michael Ward-Bergeman, and Nico Muhly.