Bowling Green State University
A CONCERT OF HOPE, ENLIGHTENMENT & REMEMBRANCE
TIKVAH was conceived and created by internationally acclaimed award winning American Jewish composer, Burton Beerman, based on the memoirs of Philip Markowicz, Holocaust survivor and Torah scholar.
With startling immediacy, Beerman’s music reflects the lost world, the agony and the hope, ultimately fulfilled, that is Philip Markowicz’s story and the story of many Holocaust survivors. The music embraces the powerful words of Markowicz’s insightful observations of his life and his generous sharing of the wisdom in the Torah.
As a child, Philip Markowicz began studying the Torah under his father, a district Rabbi in rural Poland, eventually becoming the youngest student ever invited to sit at the esteemed Gur Rebbe’s study table. This was a great honor and acknowledgement of Torah and Talmud erudition.
Philip’s life changed abruptly when Hitler invaded Poland forcing him and his family into the Lodz Ghetto and eventually to the infamous Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp. After the Liberation, he was placed in a displacement camp (DP) for five long years. There he met his bride, Ruth Fajerman. Their marriage ceremony was the first to take place in the DP camp.
Composer Beerman’s music in TIKVAH combines an eclectic mixture of styles from classical European tradition, to blues/jazz, Klezmer, and the contemporary popular styles of today. The use of saxophone quartet is significant for this work. Originally conceived as an orchestral instrument, it was quickly adopted in America in jazz music, a genre which drew attention from modernist European composers, many of whom were Jewish.
Jazz music played an important role in the cultural life of the “decadent” Weimar era. When the Third Reich came to power, jazz music and the saxophone were banned and labeled degenerate art. Jewish composers and artists who were unable to flee the regime were sent to ghettos and concentration camps. Music continued to play a powerful role in these communities, at times very painful and at times comforting.
This poignant production is truly a “one-of-a-kind” theatrical experience, masterfully blending music, dance, narration, and song, a musical expression of passionate praise to ideals universally shared: Hope, Freedom for all people, Justice, Rememberance and Peace, resulting in a compelling, evocative and powerful event.