Coming Soon - Brundibár Arts Festival: 30th January - 7th February 2017

Many thanks to all those who participated in, and supported the first Brundibár Arts Festival 2016 >>. It was a week of many memorable performances and we are currently busy planning events for January - February 2017.

We certainly would not be in this position if it was not for the huge support we have received from sponsorship, generous donors, volunteers and of course the amazing musicians who performed. We must also thank the people of Newcastle, Gateshead and beyond and to our new FRIENDS and PATRONS for being an enthusiastic and supportive audience.

As Artistic Director of Brundibár Arts Festival, my vision is to create an annual programme of events that showcases the little known music written during the Holocaust, to be held here in Newcastle and Gateshead.

The Festival takes its name, Brundibár from the popular children's opera by Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása. Written in 1938, Brundibár (meaning bumblebee) was premiered in 1943 by the children of Theresienstadt concentration camp, where it was ultimately performed 55 times. As the unlikely survival of this opera suggests, the joy and beauty expressed in music can truly outlast evil. We see naming the Festival after Brundibár as a positive affirmation of creativity in adversity, and as a lasting tribute to those children who suffered and perished.

The greatest music, art and literature has often emerged from the most threatening of circumstances, bringing comfort and expression to those in need. Once I started to research this subject, I discovered a vast wealth of relatively unknown, yet wonderful music that has struggled to get the recognition it deserves on its own merit, despite the broad range of cultural and musical activities we enjoy here in the UK. During the Festival, works by these lesser known composers will be shared and explored alongside well-loved works from the more mainstream repertoire, therefore claiming its rightful place in our concert halls.

Education plays a key role in ensuring a brighter and more tolerant society, and I was keen for the Festival to launch with our interactive schools workshop day. There are dwindling numbers of Holocaust survivors who can tell their stories first hand. Our generation carries the responsibility to find new ways to tell them, and what better way than through music and the arts?

With some of the finest musicians performing in beautiful local venues, I look forward to welcoming you in celebrating our first year.

Alexandra Raikhlina
(Artistic Director)

Festival Team
Alexandra Raikhlina
Juliet Lee
Yoshie Kawamura