USAO News Bureau

Waldman, Sinkevych give voice to music of oppressed

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Violin virtuoso Yuval Waldman is set to return to the University of Science and Arts on March 24 as he teams up with pianist Inesa Sinkevych for a concert entitled “The Music of Oppression and Liberation.”

The concert, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in USAO Ballroom, celebrates the work of eastern European composers who were repressed by the Nazi and Communist regimes for ethnic, religious and political reasons. The concert is free.

Waldman has performed across the globe as a soloist with major orchestras in concerts and on radio and television. Following his New York debut on the International Series of Carnegie Hall, Waldman has made appearances across the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel.

“Yuval Waldman is not only a brilliant, internationally acclaimed violinist and conductor,” said Dr. Ingrid Shafer, emerita professor of philosophy and religion, “he is a multi-faceted Renaissance man who understands the liberal arts and a genuine citizen of the world whose not-for-profit Music Bridges International helps people from different cultures become friends through music.

Joining Waldman is pianist Inesa Sinkevych. Sinkevych began her piano studies at the Kharkov Conservatory, later studying at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. In Israel, she was awarded a scholarship by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, enabling her to continue her studies in the United States, first at the Chicago College of Performing Arts (MM degree), and later at the Manhattan School of Music, where she is currently completing her DMA degree. 

The program will include works by Shostakovich, Arthur Lourié and Moisei Vainberg, each persecuted for their style and ideology. Also featured will be pieces by Czech composers Gideon Klein and Hugo Loewenthal, both killed in the concentration camp at Terezin, as well as Jaromir Weinberger who, unlike so many, escaped to the United States.

Shafer will provide a short introduction to the event in sharing some of her personal experiences as a child in Nazi Austria—her parents’ terror during the war of being discovered secretly listening to Churchill on short wave radio, and the absolute rule that nothing she heard in their private room could be shared with others.

“There was the sense of being surrounded by evil, symbolized to me,” Shafer noted, “by the giant black Swastika-spider threatening to pounce from flags on anyone not loyal to the regime. My dream of coming to the United States was born the day American soldiers arrived. The spider was dead.”

But over the decades, according to Shafer, she realized that the potential for totalitarian oppression was not limited to certain times or places.

“It was a hydra rather than a spider, wearing many faces, some seemingly benign. It must be decapitated over and over again by protecting freedom of conscience, thought, and expression.”

While the historical context that shaped many of the composers featured was one filled with horror and fear, Waldman observed that, “despite the oppression and the persecution, the composers continued to compose uncompromising and inspiring music which liberated their spirit.”

The concert is sponsored by the USAO Foundation. For more information, call 574-1362.