Sep, 2023: the US premiere of the Holocaust Requiem

Sep, 2023: the US premiere of the Holocaust Requiem

In Sep 2023, the extraordinary US premiere of Requiem took place in Annapolis by Peter Minkler and Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by José-Luis Novo.

I have been asked by my dear  friend, Boris Pigovat, to write a few words about his significant work, Requiem “The Holocaust” for Viola and Orchestra.  He composed this music in memory of his grandparents and aunt who were murdered at Babi Yar in September 1941 on the outskirts of Kyiv.

Mr. Pigovat contacted me about fourteen years ago with the hope that I would be able to persuade anyone in this country to perform his work, as it had not yet received its United States premiere.  After listening to Requiem, I was convinced that this is an important and transformative piece that deserves international attention.

After countless inquiries, my long journey was finally over when I was contacted by a local conductor and orchestra willing to tackle this technically challenging, massive 45-minute piece, and I performed the US premiere with Maestro Jose-Luis Novo and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in September of 2023.  These performances, which took place on the 82nd anniversary of the atrocity, were exceptionally well received with standing ovations, multiple curtain calls and brought many, both on and off stage, to tears.

Throughout the performance, the musicians and audience were silently captivated as the music vividly painted an emotional picture.  Other words shared with me and which were used to describe the music included powerful, unsettling, terrifying, gorgeous and deeply moving.

For me, I was both humbled and profoundly honored to bring this haunting music to life.  As soloist, I felt compelled to act as storyteller, narrating and weaving together the threads of this tragic event and bringing its aftermath to the fore.  Within the six-minute-long cadenza alone, we deftly move from horror to despair to acceptance.  The finale, Lux Eterna, ultimately conveys peace, yet is tempered with a stern warning, “Never Again.”

Despite the thousands of miles separating Boris and me, from our very first interaction I felt an unspoken, intense and immediate connection not only with him, but also his oeuvre of extraordinary music.  I am privileged to call him Friend.

I would encourage violists around the world to seek out and explore the wealth of magnificent works written for our oft-maligned instrument by Boris Pigovat, a composer who understands and appreciates the beauty and possibilities the viola can offer.

Peter Minkler
January 4, 2024

All I can add that I am spokeless. Thank you my dear friend Peter for your warm words!


Donald Maurice’s solo playing vividly captures the music’s gamut of supplicatory emotion, while Marc Taddei and the orchestra provide an accompaniment richly-mixed with ambiences of faith and trust, doubt and fear. READ MORE

Peter Mechen
Middle C, Classical Music Reviews
Wellington, NZ
September 15, 2011

This is a most extraordinary release. I guarantee it contains music like you’ve never heard before and that will leave you emotionally shattered and physically drained. …the performance and the recording are stunning, impactful, and overwhelming.

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare Magazine
Junuary, 2012
Nov, 2023: Yizkor

Nov, 2023: Yizkor

For Symphony Orchestra

  • Duration: ca. 16 minutes
  • Picc, 2 Fls, 2 Obs, 2 Cls, B.Cl, 2 Bsns, C.Bn, 4 Hns, 3 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Tba, Timp, Perc (3), Str.

Yizkor (May (God) remember) is an Ashkenazi Jewish memorial prayer service for the dead. The service concludes with the prayer “El male rachamim” (“God full of Mercy”)

Yizkor for symphony orchestra was written in memory of the victims of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting.

In this work, I tried to express a wide range of feelings caused by this tragedy: pain, grief, anger, inner emptiness and confusion, and deep sadness. The piece ends with the traditional melody of the prayer “El male rachamim”.

Yizkor was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to commemorate the five years Anniversary of the “Tree of Life” Synagogue tragedy.
The world premiere took place on November 26, 2023, in Pittsburgh, USA at the Violins of Hope concert.

Mar, 2023: "Therefore Choose Life" performance  by IPO

Mar, 2023: "Therefore Choose Life" performance by IPO

An exceptional performance of Therefore Choose Life for Symphony Orchestra by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, took place in Tel-Aviv in March 2023.

This performance was recorded by MEDICI.TV and broadcasted around the world.

Below you can find the YouTube video from the live recording of the Israeli premiere.

        Lahav SHANI, Conductor
        Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 
        Duration: ca. 14 minutes
        Picc, 2 Fls, 2 Obs, 2 Cls, B.Cl, 2 Bsns, C.Bn, 4 Hns,
         3 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Tba, Timp, Perc (3), Hp, Cel, Str.

Oct, 2018: The Wandering Stars at the 20th International Harp Contest, Israel

Oct, 2018: The Wandering Stars at the 20th International Harp Contest, Israel

  • Duration: ca. 10 minutes
  • Harp Solo

For several days I was a guest at the 20th International Harp Contest in Israel.
It took place in the historic Knight’s Halls in the Old City of Akko, chosen by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

My piece The Wandering Stars for Harp Solo was in the program of the first stage of the competition, together with works of Haydn, Smetana, Salzedo, and Permont.

29 musicians from several countries, including Finland, Italy, Russia, the United States, France, South Africa, China, Serbia, Switzerland, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany, and Israel, participated in the contest, 21 of them choose to perform The Wandering Stars at the first stage.

It was an incredible and wonderful experience – to listen to a lot of very different interpretations of this piece  performed by such a talented musicians!



  • Duration: ca. 17 minutes
  • SO: Picc, 2 Fls, 2 Obs, 2 Cls, B.Cl, 2 Bsns, C.Bsn, 4 Hns, 3 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Tba, Timp, Perc, Hp, Cel, Str.
  • SWB: Picc, 2 Fls, Ob, Bsn, 3 Cls, B.Cl, 2 A.Sxs, T.Sx, B.Sx, 4 Hns, 5 Tpts, 4 Tbns, Bar, 2 Tbas, Harp, Str.B, Synth, Timp, Perc

The inspiration behind this work is a city at the centre of three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, City whose name means “peace”, and whose fate is war, City which has known pain and joy, destruction and renewal, sadness and hope, City whose past is submerged in blood. As for its future… Would anybody dare to say that he knows it?

The poem Jerusalem exists in three versions: for solo piano, for symphonic wind band, and for symphony orchestra.

I wrote the piano version  in 1991, and revised it in 2002 and in 2009.
Below is a recording of the 2002 version, performed by Michael Zelevinsky in Jerusalem.
The final piano version premiered in 2014 in Paris, at the first COMPETITION-FESTIVAL – modern piano repertoire, performed by Olivier Seuzaret.

Jerusalem for Piano was published in 2015 by Le CHANT du MONDE, Editions Musicales (in France).

In 2017, this work was performed several times by Albanian pianist Almira Emiri. Below is a recording from YouTube.

In 2012, I wrote the symphonic wind band version.
It was premiered in 2013 by the Petach-Tikva Conservatoire Wind Orchestra, conducted by Michael Delman.
Below is an audio recording of that performance. Although both the orchestra and the recording are not professional, the performance was very enthusiastic and presents a favorable rendition the work.

I wrote the initial version for symphony orchestra in 1993, shortly after I wrote the piano version. However, I was not satisfied with the result; I’ve added a lot of additional content to orchestral version, and the combination resulted in a musical structure that lacked cohesion.

After I wrote Holocaust Requiem in 1994-1995, my attitude towards orchestration changed. As result,I put aside Jerusalem until autumn 2017, when I prepared a new version.

Below are recordings of the piano solo version and of the symphonic wind band version.

Piano Solo version

Almira Emiri, Piano

Symphonic Wind Band version
Sept, 2017: Amazing performance of “Poem of Dawn” at 44th International Viola Congress, Wellington, New Zealand

Sept, 2017: Amazing performance of “Poem of Dawn” at 44th International Viola Congress, Wellington, New Zealand

Here is another amazing performance of Poem of DawnRomantic Music for Viola and Symphony Orchestra, by Anna Serova, this time with conductor Hamish McKeich and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Composed in 2010, Poem of Dawn was performed by Anna Serova for the first time in 2013, with maestro Nicola Guerini and the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, they recorded the piece for the Naxos Records CD, which won Pizzicato’s Supersonic Award.

        Anna Serova, Viola
        Hamish McKeich, Conductor
        New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
        Duration: ca. 15 minutes
        2 Fls, 2 Obs, 2 Cls, 2 Bsns, 4 Hns, 2 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Timp, Perc, Hp, solo Vla, Str.