Aurelien's mother is a history teacher who comes from a Sefaradic family and has devoted her life to bringing awareness to the Shoah.
One of her proudest endeavors was bringing her high school students each year on a voyage encompassing Praha, Budapest, Cracow, Birkenau and Teresin.
Aurelien grew up with this need and "duty" to speak for those who were so brutally silenced during the Pogroms, the Exiles and the Holocaust. Normal folks suffered, artists suffered, their voices need to be heard.
When Desirée and David came back from Hungary with a gigantic pile of music, these pieces were amongst them. They felt right. They demanded to be played, to be heard.
These pieces are fantastic works of art and, through their darkness, incredibly human and ultimately uplifting.
That such music could be written in these conditions is a testament to the resilience and faith of these composers.
Black Oak is proud to be recording some of these pieces for Cedille Records, releasing the album in Spring 2019.
Alongside this project, the ensemble is committed to sharing this music with the Chicago Community at large, hand in hand with Synagogues and educational entities around Illinois.
Sandor Kuti (1908-1945?) - Hungarian Jewish composer. Very few of his works remain
Gideon Klein - (6 December 1919 – c. January 1945) Czech composer who also took part in the cultural life at Theresienstadt. Klein was deported to Auschwitz in October 1944 and then to Fürstengrube in October 1944, less than two weeks after completing his string trio.
Hans Krasa - (30 November 1899 – 17 October 1944) Czech composer, murdered at Auschwitz. He too helped to organize cultural life in Theresienstadt concentration camp.
Paul Hermann (Budapest, March 27, 1902 – unknown 1944) was a virtuoso cellist and composer.