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Nov 5, 2016 8:00 PM

Concert: 25 Years of the Fulbright Commission in Czech Republic



Join us in the ballroom of Bohemian National Hall where the acclaimed Ghostlight Chorus will perform the New York premiere of works by Fulbright Scholars Elaine Agnew, Sivan Eldar, Stephen Feigenbaum, Thomas Lee, Pablo Ortiz and David Post.

Free and open to the public.

This concert is organized under the auspices of the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York, in co-operation with the Czech Center, NYC and Terezin Music Foundation.

The J. William Fulbright Commission in the Czech Republic will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary with a concert of music by noted international poets and composers, at the Bohemian National Hall on November 5 at 8:00 P.M. The concert is organized under the auspices of the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York.

The “first-class” (Time Out, NY) Ghostlight Chorus will perform the New York premiere of six choral settings of new liberation-themed poems by U.S. Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco and others of equal renown. The concert program is directed by Terezín Music Foundation (TMF) Executive Director and Czech Fulbright Alumnus Mark Ludwig, an internationally renowned scholar of music by composers imprisoned in the Terezín concentration camp. New York’s Ghostlight Chorus performs under the direction of Evelyn Troester DeGraf.

For a quarter century, the Fulbright Commission has enriched U.S.-Czech relations by offering grants to qualified Czech and American students, researchers, lecturers and teachers to work on their projects in the United States and Czech Republic.

The Fulbright Commission is financed by the U.S. and Czech governments. Over the past 25 years, the Czech Fulbright Commission has brought over 700 American Fulbrighters to the Czech Republic and almost 900 Czech Fulbrighters have had the opportunity to work on their projects in the United States.

Mr. Ludwig noted that, “as a Fulbright Alum I’m proud to have been asked to produce this special event commemorating the Commission’s first twenty-five years in the Czech Republic. In light of recent history - especially the Velvet Revolution - it seems only appropriate to have a program celebrating the theme of Liberation.

“The Czech Fulbright Commission allowed me to deepen my research into the composers silenced by the Nazis, and to bring their music to the public. In the course of my research I met Holocaust survivors and artists oppressed by the Communist regime, an experience which deepened my commitment to cultural exchange and art activism.”


THE CONCERT PROGRAM: Choral music from the LiberArte Project

Hana Ripková of the Czech Fulbright Commission invited Mark Ludwig to produce a program celebrating the 25th anniversary of the J. William Fulbright Commission in the Czech Republic.  Behind this landmark November 5 concert program is TMF director Mark Ludwig’s LiberArte Project (www.liberarte.org), which in 2015 honored the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camps by commissioning sixty-two celebrated poets worldwide to compose new works about freedom. The resulting anthology, Liberation(Beacon Press 2015), offers new poems by Rita Dove, Robert Pinsky, the late C.K. Williams, and others, writing from diverse political, moral, artistic, and personal perspectives.


The book is TMF’s source of texts for new musical commissions; noted composers from around the world are setting the poems to choral music, and performances in Prague, Berlin, and Boston have won acclaim. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg saysLiberation “will hearten those who have lived long, and inspire young readers to strive for understanding, celebration of our differences, and peace among diverse peoples dwelling in our universe."

The poet Justin Quinn, composer Sivan Eldar, and Mark Ludwig are alumni of the Czech-U.S. Fulbright program.


The November 5 concert program presents four LiberArte works:

“ReGreen” by Elaine Agnew (Ireland), a setting of the poem by Justin Quinn (Fulbright alumnus, Czech Republic to U.S.A.)

 “Mother Tongue” by Sivan Eldar (Fulbright alumna, U.S.A. to the Czech Republic), a setting of poems by Agi Mishol (Jewish Israeli)

“The Song About the Child” by Sivan Eldar a setting of a poem by Salman Masalha (Arab Israeli)

“Leaving Limerick in the Rain” Pablo Ortiz (Argentina/U.S.), a setting of the poem by Richard Blanco (Cuba/U.S.)

“The Day of Light” by David Post (U.S.), a setting of the poem by Ernesto Santana (Cuba)


Also on the program are two TMF choral commissions:

“Flowers of Terezín” by Thomas Oboe Lee

“Songs of Sorrow and Hope,” by Stephen Feigenbaum



 Terezín Music Foundation (www.terezinmusic.org), producer of the LiberArte Project, is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the musical legacy of the composers held in the Terezin concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic. TMF aims to honor these silenced artists by performing their music and sponsoring new commissions. TMF commissions, by significant emerging composers, strive to fill the Terezin artists' unrealized artistic and mentoring roles. They are performed internationally by the world’s great musicians and form an enduring memorial. TMF is funded solely by donations, which support its commissions,concerts, master classes, and programs in Holocaust education in the U.S. and Europe.  

“How fortunate that TMF is giving voice through music to those whose voices have been silenced.”    —Yo-Yo Ma



The Fulbright Commission in the Czech Republic was founded in 1991 by a bilateral agreement between the governments of the United States and the Czech Republic with the objective to enhance mutual understanding through educational, scientific and cultural exchanges based on governmental scholarship programs, information, and advising services. Over the 25 years, the Czech Fulbright Commission has brought over 700 American Fulbrighters to the Czech Republic and almost 900 Czech Fulbrighters had the opportunity to work on their projects in the United States. Other long-term goals of the Fulbright Commission are to increase expertise in particular fields, identify new fields in which mutual cooperation will further development, support outstanding individuals, extend activities by establishing cost-sharing programs with participating institutions, and provide information about educational and research opportunities in the USA and in the Czech Republic.



Ghostlight Chorus is an elite chamber choir based in New York City. Founded in 2010 by its artistic director Dr. Evelyn Troester DeGraf, the choir is composed of experienced singers who collectively strive for superior musicality, intonation, and choral blend. The chorus has been acclaimed as “beautiful” by Vogue, “first-class” by Time Out New York, and “simply one of the best vocal ensembles” by Maine’s Press Herald, Ghostlight pursues both high-quality musicianship and a comprehensive repertoire, with a commitment to original concert programming and frequent world premieres. Recent performance highlights include: Genius Festival at the 92nd Street Y; PS1 Benefit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art; sold-out concerts in numerous venues in Germany; concert tours on the United States’ East and West coasts; and live performances with the Rolling Stones. In 2015, the New York ensemble won 3rd prize in the 14th International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany. www.ghostlightchorus.com



NOVEMBER 5, 2016, 8:00 P.M. Free and open to the public.

Bohemian National Hall, 231 East 73rd Street, New York, NY

Mark Ludwig

Terezín Music Foundation director and Fulbright Alumnus (CZ 1995)


Ghostlight Chorus

Evelyn Troester DeGraf, choral director


Introductory Remarks:

Hana Ripková, Director of J. William Fulbright Commission in the Czech Republic

Martin Dvorak, Czech Consul General

Mark Ludwig, Terezin Music Foundation and CZ Fulbright Alumnus


Choral Works:

Saint Wenceslaus, Czech choral (Svatý Václave)

Elaine Agnew                           ReGreen

Sivan Eldar                               Mother Tongue and Song of the Child 

Thomas Oboe Lee                    Flowers of Terezin

Pablo Ortiz                               Leaving Limerick in the Rain

David Post                               The Day of Light, a setting of the poem by Ernesto Santana

Stephen Feigenbaum                 Songs of Sorrow and Hope

The Mannes Sounds Festival along with the Mannes School of Music´s talented students pay tribute to Václav Havel in Celebration of the 80th Anniversary of his birth. The program contains masterpieces created by Czech composers as well as excerpts from some of Mr. Havel's speeches. 

Program: 1 hour and 45 minutes with a short intermission

Excerpts from Havel’s speeches

Music by:

 Smetana - “Proč bychom se netešili” from “ The Bartered Bride”

Malorie Cassimir, soprano


Smetana - Selections from Five Evening songs

Taryn Holback, mezzo soprano; Lochlan Brown, piano


Dvořák - Dumky trio

Katherine Gilger, violin; Benjamin Fried, cello;  Julia Hamos, piano


Martinů - From Preludes, H 181

No. 7- Etude

No. 8 - Foxtrot

Vlad Soloviev, piano


Schulhoff - 2 Études de Jazz

Ariela Bohrod, piano


Schulhoff - 3 Lieder Op. 14

Malorie Cassimir, soprano; Lochlan Brown, piano


Janáček-From Woodwind Sextet for flute,oboe,clarinet,horn,bassoon and bass clarinet


Allegro Animato

Samantha Marshall, flute; Chanmi Kim, oboe; Jeremiah Adriano, Bb clarinet; Artemis Cheung, Bass clarinet; Tylor Thomas, bassoon; Jessica Lombardo, horn


321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Nov 5, 2016 8:00 PM


Czech Center

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