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By The Waters of Babylon 360 Video (VR) Documentary Preview

Monday, December 2, 2019
6 PM to 9:15 PM
Live Performance by Clarion Quartet at 7:15 PM 

The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh
826 Hazelwood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

By The Waters of Babylon, is a 360 video documentary telling the story of composers who created hope in a time of darkness and a modern-day string quartet dedicated to shining a light on their legacy.

This project, made possible by The Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative, uses the medium of 360 video to take viewers on an immersive journey into the world of composers silenced by the Holocaust and a contemporary string quartet’s mission to bring this music to a wider audience. Through a VR headset, a viewer begins their experience situated in the center of the Clarion Quartet as they perform String Quartet #3 by Viktor Ullmann, a composer who suffered under Nazi oppression. By the Waters of Babylon then interweaves images of the past and the present as it tells the story of the “Entartete Musik” composers and the Clarion Quartet’s mission to shine light on music silenced by oppression.

The Clarion Quartet is composed of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians who aim to give a voice to great composers who suffered the injustices of oppression. Their current repertoire features the work of composers who were detained in the Nazi camps yet continued to create beautiful, meaningful work. In 2016, during a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra European tour, the quartet arranged a performance at the Theresienstadt camp in the Czech Republic where some of the pieces they performed were originally composed. The quartet’s collective memory of this moving experience serves as the departure point for this project; their thoughts lead the viewer on a journey into the lives and works of these composers and the creation of art in the face of the darkest atrocities.

This intimate preview event is a collaboration between The Pittsburgh Holocaust Center, Chatham University, and Point Park University. The project itself involved many students and alumni of both Chatham University and Point Park University.