In a multi media presentation, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra gave an emotional performance celebrating the New World on April 21 and 22.
There were only two pieces listed on the program, but it was an impactful and powerful performance that while out of the past, was also relevant to the world today.
Syracuse’s Symphinia conductor Lawrence Loh was the guest conductor for a performance of “Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op 95” by Antonin Dvorak – better known as The New World Symphony. Dvorak composed the piece after visiting the U.S. and was inspired by the African American Spirituals and Native American music that he heard. Composed in four movements, the third movement contains what is considered some of the most rhythmically difficult passages for the string players.
Since its composition in 1893, The New World Symphony has been the inspiration for a number of works including the Spiritual “Going Home”.
After the intermission, the video screen came down and the BPO was joined by seven local actors for a performance of “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” by Peter Boyer.
Composed post 9-11, the works features monologues by actors who are retelling the stories from seven of the millions of immigrants that passed through Ellis Island on their way to becoming Americans.
While the Orchestra played, a video that depicted images of boats filled with hopeful immigrants and the faces of some of them. Then one by one Andrea Call Andolina, Diane Dibernardo, Cassie Gorniewicz, Darleen Pickering Hummert, Gerry Maher, David Marciniak, and Doug Zschiezner came to the microphone to tell stories of peril, loss, and hope on the journey to America and freedom.
The very emotional work ended with the actors reading the words emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty.
A nation of immigrants, Ellis Island is a subtle reminder to all America of the struggle for freedom and the lengths at which some of its residents went to obtain the freedoms taken fore granted by those who were born to them.