JUN 15, 2014
SAG-AFTRA honors Actor/Holocaust Survivor Curt Lowens at Beverly Hills Fundraiser
By: George S. McQuade III
They came from all over the world this weekend (6-13-14) to celebrate Holocaust survivors at the Saban Theater of the Arts, Beverly Hills, CA. The fundraising evening for a future documentary featured an international evening of music, remembrance and tolerance. All inspired by the heroics of 89-year old Actor and Holocaust Survivor Curt Lowen sand Emmy Award-nominated Composer Sharon Farber’s Bestemming: Concerto for Cello, Orchestra and Narration.
“Bestemming was my first Cello Concerto, commissioned by the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra and Cellist Rusland Biryukov, was inspired by the remarkable true story of Holocaust survivor and hero, Curt Lowens,” said Film and Concert Music Composer, Sharon Farber. “When I heard Curt’s tale, I knew that I had to bring it to life through Music,” she said.
Farber also said the concerto closes a certain circle for her. “My Great-grandfather, Yosef Barzilai, was a wonderful Cantor in Saloniki, Greece. In 1938, my grandpa brought him to Israel for a visit and begged him to stay. He decided to go back to his community and short after was murdered by the Nazis. This is my gift to him and to the ghosts of my extended family who perished,” explained Farber.
Lowens, a survivor and hero of the Dutch Resistance during the Holocaust, saved 125 Jewish children. He read a poem, while music was performed by Cello Soloist Ruslan Biryukov and The Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Frank Fetta.
SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard presented a special proclamation at the event. Other speakers included the Consul General of Germany, Dr. Bernd Fisher, who cried while apologizing what his forefathers participated in during the Holocaust; Netherlands Consulate Johannes Van Tilburg in Los Angeles and the Office of the Israeli Consulate. The event emcee was Actor Bill Smitrovich.
“We”re honored to be part of Sharon Farber’s concerto Bestemming, a music tribute to Curt Lowens, who as a young boy had the courage to fight against oppression,” said Samara Hutman, executive director, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. “As a result of his actions, Lowens help to change the course of the world as we know it today. This piece represents the importance of remembering those lost to the Holocaust, while cherishing and preserving the stories of those people who survived,” Hutman said.
The concerto Bestemming got its first world premiere performance in January this year at First Baptist Church in Glendale, CA with Actor Michael Des Barres appearing as the Narrator. An exhibition of Holocaust memorabilia, including artifacts from Curt Lowens’ life, was on display in the lobby of the Saban Theater during the event thanks to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust with supportive material from Jewish World Watch.
“My Years as an activist for motion picture and television industry elderly exposed me to the fading voices of Holocaust survivors,” said event Co-producer, Richard Stellar. “Meeting Curt inspired me to keep these voices alive and with Sharon Farber’s concerto, we’re now utilizing the music and the arts to accomplish that,” he said.
Other high profile and celebrity guests who were invited and attended included: Shir Ordo, Israeli Event Soloist making her U.S. performing debut; Corky Hale, renowned Jazz pianist, harpist and singer; Mike Stoller, Grammy Award-winning composer; Larry King, TV icon, Larry King Now, Larry King Live; Broadway Star and President Mike Burstyn, Hebrew Actors union; Carolyn Ben-Nathan, director of Public Affairs, office of Consulate General of Israeli Los Angeles & keynote speaker; Rabbi David Baron, Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at Saban Theatre and his wife Adrienne Baron to name a few.
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