Timeless themes of ‘War and Peace’ can be found in the Gesher Music Festival’s 7th year | St. Louis Public Radio

Timeless themes of ‘War and Peace’ can be found in the Gesher Music Festival’s 7th year

Aug 11, 2017

The Gesher Music Festival embarked on its seventh year this week celebrating “chamber music with a Jewish twist.” The word “Gesher” means “bridge” in Hebrew and the purpose of the festival is to tie different groups of people together.

“Through this festival and through music, our mission is to build bridges between ideas and generations and musical ideas,” said Dana Hotle, a clarinetist and the festival director. “It is taking the Jewish experience of a point of departure, saying they are themes important to the Jewish community but saying they are themes the whole community can relate to.”

This year’s festival is taking on the theme of “War and Peace,” with main stage concerts themed along the lines of war (in observance of the 100th anniversary of the U.S.’ entry into World War I), peace and transcending borders.

Each of the festival’s performances features a variety of artists performing works by both Jewish and non-Jewish composers.

Peter Myers, a cellist from California but with roots in St. Louis, will perform in every concert. Of the “war” concert, titled “Beyond the Trenches,” he will perform Elgar’s Piano Quintet.

“A lot of people think of Elgar as warm and pastoral” Myers said. “This piece has a lot of darkness and sparse, almost creepy, things, with a very joyful resolution.”

That concert will be narrated by Gesher Artistic Director Sarah Sitzer who will tell stories of the music, which features composers who were in World War I, were affected by the war, or wrote music for people impacted by the war.

The festival’s “Prayer for Peace” concert will broach topics impacting refugees and those fleeing war in today’s world. And “Transcending Borders” will feature all Israeli and Arab composers, reflecting on the idea of building bridges instead of walls.

Listen to the full interview about the upcoming concerts and the meaning behind them:

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What: Gesher Music Festival Presents "Beyond the Trenches"
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