The Requiem for Zhanaozen: Star of the North

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Indrani Basu writes about Fulmer's new work for The Times of India:

Award-winning composer, violinist, and conductor David Fulmer, a member of the faculty of the Columbia University Department of Music, has completed a new work for virtuoso cellist Jay Campbell. The composition honours those massacred in Zhanaozen in Kazakhstan.

"I first became aware of the oil strike in Kazakhstan when Sting canceled a pop music concert there over human rights concerns and in solidarity with the workers. Weeks later, on December 16 last year, the government murdered a great number of those striking workers. I became intensely focused on the plight of the widows and orphans left by this brutality and hope this work can bring them some comfort while reminding people in the West that one year out, this horrific killing remains unpunished and the dictatorship there continues to oppress his people," said Fulmer, the youngest member of the Columbia music faculty.

The Requiem for Zhanaozen: Star of the North, is written for Jay Campbell and commissioned by the New York-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF). Yellow Barn will present the Requiem, where Campbell will be an artist-in-residence, from February 23 to March 1 next year, said a press release from HRF. Premiere performances will also take place in Dallas' Nasher Sculpture Center (on March 8), and then in New York City, and abroad throughout numerous international venues, stated the release. Inspired by the poetry of Aleksandr Pushkin, Fulmer composed an intense work for solo cello with a searing harmonic surface, creating musical gestures of intensity and intimacy.

"The Human Rights Foundation is thrilled that two prodigies ten thousand miles away from Kazakhstan are willing to spend their precious time and artistic talents bringing attention to injustice and suffering in a Central Asian Republic that has remained a dictatorship since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991," said Sarah Wasserman, HRF's chief operating Officer. "Just three weeks ago the Kazakh government began a crackdown on media. The country is in dire need of international attention and exposure," she concluded.