On November 23rd, Lyric Theatre in the Meridian Arts Centre in Toronto hosted over 500 guests for a stirring evening of remarkable music compositions that honoured the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab.
The concert was hosted by “The Dawn Initiative,” a group of Baha’i friends who were supported by an Ontario Arts Council grant to invite musical compositions from around the world that reflected on the oneness of humankind. This concept is central to the Baha’i Faith, it served as the primary theme for the commemoration.
The organizers asked: “how can we rise above the oppression and injustice in the world, and instead, celebrate the oneness of humankind?”. They invited composers from around the world to write an original work inspired by the theme “Celebration of the Oneness of Humanity”. They received 109 entries from 35 countries, from which six compositions were chosen and awarded by a jury of internationally renowned musicians.
“Here is a program of music, of beauty, of love, of sacrifice being brought to you by people [from around the world,” commented Jack Lenz, a Canadian composer who has written music for film, television, and theatre.
Mr Lenz continued, “Artists are the eyes and ears of humanity, that they are the way we hear and see beauty, that we hear and see oneness. Its vibrations of air moving on your tympanum and you feeling something that maybe you haven’t felt before, or feeling memories, that motivate us to do something wonderful in this world.”
The compositions performed at the concert were: ”Zenitation” (Siavash Kaveh); ”The World Needs Peace” (Lena Orsa); “I should like to create a world...” (Norbert Palej); ”A Simple Secret” (Kevin Lau); ”Overgrowth” (Sergei Kofman); “Anaktoria” (Christos Hatzis); Craob-Aibneaca” (Aran Corcoran); “Maku” (Parisa Sabet).
Mr. Kofman, a 23-year old composer, attended the concert in person and presented his piece by saying: “In this composition, the instruments make up a garden of sound where they take on various roles within the garden and you will hear them rise, fall and rise again as they struggle to reach for the sun. For me this represents that humankind is also one big garden full of fragility, resilience and the unique traits that make us all who we are.”
Another piece was presented by video by Ms. Orsa, who said: “My piano composition has been inspired by my travel to Grozny city where I talked to people that survived several wars. My music speaks of it, stop the horrors of wars, everything can be solved peacefully. To hear and understand each other, to support each other, to cooperate with each other. War divides, peace and music connects.”