Anne Frank’s words bought to life by musical interpretation


A moving musical interpretation of the life of Anne Frank will be the centrepiece of an evening of chamber and solo works being hosted by Birmingham Conservatoire later this month.

The concert, titled ‘The Magic of the Harp' will mark Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) and will showcase Principal Harp Tutor, Catherine White (pictured), leading the British professional premiere of I Remember, the emotionally powerful setting of extracts from ‘The Diary of Anne Frank', by American Composer Michael Cohen.

Scored for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello and harp, I Remember is one of two major works featured in the concert, which also includes Debussy's intriguing late masterpiece Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. Harp solos by Fauré, Grandjany and Flothuis complete the engaging programme.

Commenting on the significance of I Remember, Catherine White said: "When I first began devising this programme highlighting the harp in solo and chamber music, I knew immediately that I wanted to include I Remember. This chamber work has a very powerful and moving effect, and deserves wider recognition.

"I heard it performed in America more than ten years ago, and still remember vividly the impact it had not only on myself, but the entire audience. Written in the mid-90's, it is in a very accessible style, which allows the words of the young diarist to speak directly to the listener. The work is divided into seven linked sections, each setting a different aspect, mood or message, which together form a substantial work."

Bringing together music, art and language, the performance will be accompanied by an exhibition of paintings by Anne Frank by British batik artist Greg Ticker, running at the Conservatoire from 22 January to 3 February.

The American librettist for I Remember, Enid Futterman, will also be in attendance to give a short talk on the work before its performance.


For more information, please contact: Birmingham City University Media Relations Office.
Tel: 0121 331 6738
Out-of-hours: 07967 271 532

Reviewers wishing to book press tickets should contact:
Birmingham Conservatoire Concert Office
Tel: 0121 331 5909

Note to editors:
1) Event details

The Magic of the Harp - 28 January 2009, 19:45
Recital Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire, B3 3HG
£6 (£4), Tickets available on the door 60 minutes prior to the performance

Harp: Catherine White
Mezzo-Soprano: Suzanna Purkis
Flute: Diane Clark
Viola: Robin Ireland
Cello: John Todd

Grandjany Fantasie on a Theme of Haydn
Flothius Pour le Tombeau d'Orphée
Michael Cohen ‘I Remember' (UK professional premiere)
Miyagi Haru No Umi (The Sea in Spring)
Hasselmans Chanson de Mai
Fauré Impromptu
Debussy Sonata for flute, viola and harp

2) Artist Biographies

  • Catherine White studied at the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School and has toured widely, gaining extensive orchestral experience. She has entertained notables ranging from Frank Sinatra to the Prince of Wales. Catherine is Principal Harp Tutor at the Conservatoire
  • Conservatoire graduate Suzanna Purkis enjoys a varied performance career combining solo and chamber engagements with opera. Strongly committed to new music, Suzanna has performed works by Pierre Boulez, Gerald Barry, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Philip Cashian in the presence of each composer.
  • Diane Clark is Principal Flute of the Orchestra of the Swan, Birmingham Opera Company and Mid-Wales Opera Ensemble, as well as performing with other ensembles including the CBSO and BCMG. A busy chamber musician, she also enjoys theatre work including with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
  • Robin Ireland was a founder member of Domus, the innovative chamber ensemble who toured with their own portable concert hall, and from 1985 to 2005, was the violist with the Lindsay String Quartet. He teaches viola at the Conservatoire.
  • John Todd was the cellist in the Coull String Quartet from 1985 to 2000. Prior to that he combined solo work with membership of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, where he was co-principal cellist. He has been the Conservatoire's Head of Strings since 2003.
  • Based in the USA, Enid Futterman is an author, lyricist, librettist and photographer. In addition to I Remember, she has worked with composer Michael Cohen to create I Am Anne Frank, also based on the diary of Anne Frank. Other works include Bittersweet Journey and Portrait of Jennie.
  • Greg Tricker is one of only a few British batik artists - the traditional Indonesian technique of dyes, wax and cloth. His style combines the warmth of pure colour with a deceptive simplicity and intense subject matter, making his work profoundly moving and accessible.

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