Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nearly 1,000 people packed into  Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre on a Friday evening recently, (June 13, 2014) for an International Evening of Music and Remembrance honoring Holocaust survivor and member of the Dutch Resistance, Curt Lowens.

Anne-Marie Johnson, Sharon Farber and Richard Stellar on the red carpet.

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Lowens saved 125 Jewish children and two downed American pilots during the Holocaust.  Composer Sharon Farber’s
Bestemming:  Concerto for Cello, Orchestra and Narration, which Curt Lowens served as the inspiration for, was performed with Lowens appearing as the Narrator, along with Ruslan Biryukov who appeared as the Cello Soloist, supported by the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra led by Conductor Frank Fetta.

Curt Lowens, actor and Holocaust survivor (right)

      The Consul General of Germany and the Honorary Consul of The Netherlands united with the Israeli Consulate of Los Angeles, along with Ken Howard, president of SAG-AFTRA to recognize Curt Lowens’ sacrifices for humanity.

Emmy Award-nominated composer and event co-producer Sharon Farber said, “There are precious few Holocaust survivors who are still with us – their stories should not be forgotten.  I was inspired by Curt’s story, and through that inspiration I created a Concerto that has resonated across the board with anyone who has suffered through oppression.  I hope that Curt’s story, as well as those of other survivors from this dark time in human history, will live forever through this concerto.”

89-year-old actor and Holocaust survivor Curt Lowens sat center stage amidst a 32-piece orchestra and delivered a narration that ended in a standing ovation for Farber’s Concerto.

ollowing the Concerto, an Oneg Shabbat feast as well as a private reception held by The Netherlands Consulate saw entertainment industry professionals, celebrities and other guests queuing up to be photographed with composer Sharon Farber and Curt Lowens, who received two proclamations – one from SAG-AFTRA and the other from Los Angeles Councilman Paul Koretz, who proclaimed June 13, 2014 as Curt Lowens Day in Los Angeles.

Ken Howard, president of SAG-AFTRA presented at proclamation to actor Curt Lowens on behalf of SAG-AFTRA’s 165,000 members worldwide for his service to humanity.
 Howard said, “As actors, we are often called upon to play heroes, but rarely are we asked to be truly, death defying-ly courageous.  Rarely do the choices we make result in the very real threat of imminent discovery and death.  Rarely are we required to stand against a brutality so savage that it curdles the blood.  Heroes are rare and they are precious.

        “The kind of bravery that Curt Lowens showed in rescuing endangered children and downed pilots – that is rare and precious.  It is rare because it requires a soul deep commitment to stand strong in the face of unspeakable evil.  It requires one be a person of conviction whose actions have a profound effect on the world; a caring man and brave – whose efforts more than 60 years ago quite literally changed the world – possibly in ways we cannot fully appreciate.”

Other speakers included Rabbi David Baron of Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre and Samara Hutman, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, who oversaw, with the assistance of Jewish World Watch, an exhibit entitled, The Future of Memory:  The Next Generation, featuring portraits taken in the earliest days of the Righteous Conversations Project, a collaboration of Holocaust survivors and teens.  Ilysia J. Pierce, cantor of Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre sang The Star Spangled Banner and Israeli teenager Shir Ordo made her U.S. singing debut performing Hatikvah.
Ricard Stellar holds SAG/AFTRA proclamation.

        Event sponsors include, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre, Jewish World Watch, Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Consulate of Los Angeles, the Daniel Pearl Foundation and Steinway Piano Gallery of West Hollywood.
       Bestemming (Destination in Dutch) is composer Sharon Farber’s first cello concerto. Farber recently received her first Emmy Award nomination in the 41st Annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama (The Young and the Restless); she is the only woman composer nominated.  Farber is also the recipient of the 2013 Society of Composers and Lyricists Award for Outstanding Work in Art of Music for Film and the 2012 recipient of the International Visionary Award in Music presented by The Women’s International Film & Television Showcase.

Shir Ordo, Israeli Event Soloist making her U.S. performing debut, Conductor Fetta, a guest, Composer Sharon Farber
and Co-Producer Richard Stellar


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