World War I Commemoration Concerts in Germany and Canada

October 31, 2018

In the coming weeks Alexander Shelley will conduct three major events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

On Saturday, November 3rd, Alexander leads Leipzig’s MDR Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir in a poignant concert in the city’s historic Old St Peter’s Church. The concert, which will be broadcast on the radio on November 4th and televised across Germany on November 11th, includes works by Max Reger, Gustav Holst, Samuel Barber and by 1st World War soldiers Rudi Stephan, Ernest Farrar and Walter Braunfels. Two of these composers, Stephan and Farrar, died on the Eastern and Western front respectively during the war. German baritone Samuel Hasselhorn will sing Walter Braunfels orchestral song ‘Auf din Soldatengrab’, based on the poem by Hermann Hesse. 

On Friday, November 9th, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and Germany’s National Youth Orchestra will perform Benjamin Britten’s epic War Requiem side-by-side in Southam Hall. The two orchestras will be joined by Russian soprano soloist Albina Shagimuratova, Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell and baritone James Westman, as well as the Ottawa Choral Society, Ewashko Singers, Capital Chamber Choir, Ottawa Festival Chorus, Ottawa Chamber Choir and the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir. 

On Sunday, November 11th, Alexander has invited Germany’s National Youth Orchestra and members of Canada’s National Youth Orchestra to perform side-by-side in a memorial concert directly following the National Ceremony of Remembrance at the National War Memorial just a few yards from the National Arts Centre. OrKidstra and combined local youth choirs from De La Salle and Canterbury High Schools, and the Calixa-Lavallée Chamber Choir from the University of Ottawa will also perform in this concert which will feature the world premier of the ‘World Remembers’ song cycle, a series of works for chorus and orchestra based on the words of war poets, mothers, soldiers and citizens from many of the WWI nations, reflecting the experience of multiple nations.