2011 Songs of Life Festival

In 2010, the couple commissioned the inspired and talented librettist, Scott Cairns, and award-winning Bulgarian composer, Georgi Andreev, to write an oratorio, which would narrate the heroic rescue. Contributing author Aryeh Finkelstein gave it the title: A Melancholy Beauty – a consummate reflection of both the beauty of the Bulgarian Rescue and the mingled sorrow of the Holocaust.

In A Melancholy Beauty, the composer combined classical choral-orchestral music with traditional rhythms and folk styles rarely encountered today. He combined Bulgarian instruments, such as the gadulka and the kaval, with the style of classical symphonies, which produced a piece with an absolutely new sound – a kind of bridge between East and West.

In 2011, A Melancholy Beauty debuted for the first time in the United States, during the Second Songs of Life Festival. The performances featured more than 300 performers, including the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, the National Philharmonic Chorale, Khorikos, and the Philip Kutev National Folklore Ensemble from Bulgaria. All united under the baton of world-renowned Maestro Henry Leck.

The voices of all the performers united in the universal language of music. These voices rose from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, and the Wang Theatre of the Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston. From those stages these voices resonated all over the world.


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