Lifestyle

New Orchestra of Washington to Honor Lives Lost to COVID-19

Annual Day of the Dead Concert to go Virtual, Feature Brahms’s Requiem

The New Orchestra of Washington [NOW] and Choral Arts will celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in a joint presentation featuring Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem.

The concert, which will be livestreamed on Sat., Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m., will honor and commemorate the lives of those around the world who have lost their battle with COVID-19.

Portions of the concert will be performed and recorded from the Music Center at Strathmore where strict COVID-19 safety precautions are practiced including extreme social distancing, special air circulation technology, temperature checks and shields for wind players. These live performances will be woven together with previously-recorded performances and photos from 2019’s concert of the same piece. Solos by Laura Choi Stuart (Soprano) and Brian Mextorf (Baritone) will be included from 2019’s performance which took place at the Mexican Cultural Institute, as well as a solo by Trevor Scheunemann (Baritone) recorded at Strathmore early this month. As they journey together, they will build a virtual ofrenda to honor the lives of over 1 million world citizens who were lost in the pandemic and to acknowledge the pain of those who remain.

NOW Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez describes Brahms’s Requiem as a universal, human requiem apt for the current state of the world and the holiday for which it will be performed.

Día De Los Muertos is a beloved Mexican holiday where family and friends gather to pray, remember and support the spiritual journey of those who have died. Each year during this time, the Mexican Cultural Institute creates an elaborate ofrenda – a collection of objects placed on ritual display. Photos of these ofrendas will populate the livestream presentation – creating the perfect backdrop and inspiration for NOW’s annual Día de los Muertos concert.

On Wed., Oct. 21, at 5 p.m., the organizations will host A Spirited Discussion: Requiems and Día de los Muertos, a pre-concert virtual conversation about the history of Día de los Muertos with the Mexican Cultural Institute. Speakers include Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, Scott Tucker, and Ix-Nic Iruegas, Executive Director of the Mexican Cultural Institute. Complimentary admission is included with ticket purchase.

For tickets, go to choralarts.org/dia-de-los-muertos. For more information, go to neworchestraofwashington.org.

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