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Honouring the sacrifice of war time with music

18 July 2014

Honouring the sacrifice of war time with music

At the peak of World War I, no one would have imagined that 100 years later, representatives from the countries in conflict would return to battlegrounds to play music together.

But that is just what a new, large-scale audio visual work by Professor John Psathas from Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington will do.

Professor Psathas’ creation will connect musicians from around the world, on multiple sites, to play an original piece of music as part of an “epic world symphony of musical commemoration”–dedicated to those, from all nations, affected during the Great War.

Funding from the Lotteries Grants Board and Victoria University will allow Professor Psathas to follow in the footsteps of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, visiting England, France, Turkey, Belgium, and other key locations, to film and record musicians performing the new work.

“When a Turkish musician collaborates with a New Zealand or Australian counterpart, when a Russian musician performs with a German or a Briton with an Austrian, they are bearing witness—often unawares—that we who once fought are no longer enemies.”

The members of the global ensemble will be filmed in locations specific to the WWI commemorations and the material will be edited, synchronised and combined with archival imagery and footage.

The pre-filmed and pre-recorded musicians will then be woven together and merged visually and aurally with musicians playing live on stage.

Professor Psathas describes the audio visual work as a “love letter to peace”, which will be launched in New Zealand and around the world during 2016, with live musical performances and an accompanying film just one of the outcomes.

One of Professor Psathas’ hopes is that one day, nations currently at war will find themselves as friends, partners and peaceful collaborators.


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