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Singular event marks the DPO’s first quartet performance in the Mead Theatre.

The stage of the Mead Theatre in the Schuster Center is usually the site where over 80 members of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra hold forth. However, on Sunday afternoon, October 9 at 3 o’clock, that stage will hold only four musicians. Yet, the message the music they will play resonates through far more than just buildings.

It strikes a responsive chord in people of faith – any and all faiths – a sense of mutual connection to something greater than ourselves and the world in which we live.

It is the Quartet for the End of Time, which French composer Olivier Messiaen wrote while a prisoner in a German prisoner of war camp in World War Two.

Four DPO principal instrumentalists will perform the eight-movement quartet: Lucas Alemán, violin; Andra Lunde Padrichelli, cello; Frank Wienstock, piano; and John Kurokawa, clarinet.

This unusual scoring is only one of many things that separates Messiaen’s triumphant work from other quartets. The other is its highly unusual origin: Messiaen conceived it for the talents and instruments at hand in Stalag VIII A near Görlitz-Moys in Silesia, Germany.

Special guest Rebecca Rischin, author of For the End of Time: The Story of the Messiaen Quartet, and Neal Gittleman will provide concert commentary expanding additional perspective on the circumstances surrounding Messiaen’s conception and composition of the quartet. Messiaen and three of his fellow prisoners gave the premier performance of the quartet on January 15, 1941…before 5,000 prisoners of war.

Neither Messiaen’s circumstances nor the premier of his work were directly related to the atrocities of the Holocaust that occurred in World War Two. However, the relationship between this seminal work created by an extremely devout man and the faith of countless millions that sustained them through one of the most horrific ordeals in the history of mankind is clear.

For the concert, the Wintergarden of the Schuster Center will feature a display of Holocaust-themed artwork from the Dayton Art Resource Center. The display will also include a piece of art by a student of Chaminade-Julienne High School commissioned especially for the Messiaen concert based on the history of the music.

The DPO cordially invites all area clergy to attend the concert free of charge.