Arts & Culture

Rochester Oratorio Society to Perform “The Peacemakers”

The Rochester Oratorio Society will perform “The Peacemakers,” a 73-minute multi-media world music masterpiece by contemporary Welsh composer Karl Jenkins at Hochstein Performance Hall in Rochester on April 5 at 7:30 p.m.

The ensemble, led by Maestro Eric Townell, Artistic Director, will close their 2018-19 season with this performance. The Roberts Wesleyan College Chorale, the Genesee Valley Children’s Choir and the Oratorio Society chorus will sing words by the Dalai Lama, Ghandi, Terry Waits, Rumi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and others accompanied by the multi-instrumentalists of the RITA Collective. A Seneca Nation representative will open and close the evening with the traditional Great Thanksgiving ceremony. This performance is part of the Oratorio Society’s fourth annual collaboration with the University of Rochester Humanities Center, and is the culmination of a community-wide commemoration along with the Rochester Public Library, Thomas Warfield and PeaceArt, NTID and Writers & Books celebrating national poetry month.

The performance will include a series of projected images reflecting the text of the work, the personalities, authors and languages curated by Lucy Winters Dirkin. Dirkin is an Instructor of Visual Arts at the University of Rochester Eastman School of Music and Art History Instructor at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester.

“The text and the music have inspired, or even mandated, the selection of images,” said Dirkin. “These vary widely; some of them focus on the humans who have risked and endured so much for their beliefs as peacemakers, while others explore the connection between our dynamic and fragile planet and the much larger cosmos. Peace is such a huge concept; I truly hope the images reflect that and will enhance the many voices that the work encompasses.”

“The Peacemakers” is the next in a series of culturally and historically responsive, collaborative, multi-cultural productions mounted annually by the Rochester Oratorio Society since 2009. These have included musical commemorations of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial; the 150th anniversary of the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation; the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in NY and the Bicentennial of Frederick Douglass.

These productions engage the community through talks, presentations, historical exhibits, guest artists and ensembles, dance, visual projections, commissions and creation of new work, solo performances, narrations and re-enactments and youth involvement; they culminate in exciting, memorable and well-attended choral performances. The Rochester Oratorio Society created the first community collaboration with the University of Rochester Humanities Center in 2016. This widely-anticipated annual event, in which a series of talks and presentations at the Humanities Center, all free and open to the public, continues with “The Peacemakers.”

This production is sponsored in part by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and Suzanne Gouvernet with major support from Boosey & Hawkes. It is also sponsored by a Humanities New York Vision/Action Grant. This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students, and are available at or at (585) 743-2234.

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News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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