“Yellow Stars”: Memory of the Holocaust in the Musical Project of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society

Keywords: memorialization of the Holocaust in music, artistic and documentary literature about Holocaust, literary-musical projects, Jewish musical culture


The title “Yellow Stars” was given to the annual project of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society devoted to the International Day of the Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (January 27). During the six years of its existence (since 2016) it has asserted itself as a bright cultural phenomenon presented by the artistic word and highquality music. Applying the analytical method, the author of the article analyzes concert programs in which two components have been
apparently indicated: the literary-musical composition with documentary or artistic verbal texts which return us to the pages of the history of the Holocaust, including separate compositions for symphony orchestra (and those with chorus and solo vocalists) which disclose the traditions of Jewish musical culture (Isaac Schwartz, Max Bruch, Dmitri Shostakovich, Mechislav Weinberg, Leonid Desyatnikov, etc.), as well as other works which reveal the spiritual theme (Giya Kancheli, Alfred Schnittke). A high-quality level of concerts has been provided by the mastery of Valery Galendeyev, the producer of the project, and by his performers: the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Philharmonic Society (Vladimir Altshuler, conductor) and solo performers (Polina Osetinskaya, Maxim Vengerov, Julian Milkis, Ilya Gindin, Sergei Nakaryakov, etc.). Thereby, the project “Yellow Stars” asserts the significance of the memory of the tragedy of the Jewish people and projects it onto contemporary realities, where the art of music and the spoken word may become a powerful reaction to evil in its various manifestations, assertion of peace and the magnitude of human life. 

Author Biography

Inessa F. Dvuzhilnaya, Belorussian State Academy of Music

Ph.D. (Arts), Associate Professor of Music History Department

Musical Memorials