Petr’s Moon

Petr’s Moon is an original interdisciplinary concert experience conceived and directed by Carly Gordon. The show was premiered by the Downwind Quintet in Montreal, Quebec, in April 2017.

Weaving together narration, poetry, and archival film, this powerful live performance imagines a meeting of the minds: that of Pavel Haas, the brilliant Czech composer who continued to make music amid the hardships of Theresienstadt concentration camp; and of Petr Ginz, the fourteen-year-old diarist whose clever short stories and detailed accounts of everyday life leavened the oppressive world of Theresienstadt through the creative and curious eye of a child.

Throughout the performance, members of the quintet read from Petr’s diary, poems, and stories. These recitations are brought to life over a moving, immersive soundtrack of works by Pavel Haas, Erwin Schulhoff, and Oskar Morawetz — the former two killed in the Holocaust; the latter, a refugee — alongside vibrant selections of traditional klezmer music; and the premiere* of Terezín by Cristóbal MarYán, a dramatic work commissioned by the Downwind Quintet and incorporating poetry and artwork created by the children of Theresienstadt.

Petr’s Moon was conceived with the goal of engaging audiences in a meaningful, musical, and accessible conversation about the Holocaust, and the social and political conditions that caused it. Carly developed the project in collaboration with religious leaders and educators from the Montreal community, and strove to pose these important questions: In what ways is Petr’s story still relevant today? How can music help us learn to understand and welcome “Other” people and cultures, beyond walls and borders?

Petr’s Moon in rehearsal (Photo: Seok Hee Jang)

Recognition for Petr’s Moon

Winner, 2016-17 Schulich International Grant, Master’s Performance Award
Invited Panelist, 2017 University of Toronto Multidisciplinary Creative Conference
Press coverage in Montreal Jewish Magazine and La Scena Musicale

Perform Petr’s Moon

Is your wind quintet interested in delivering a performance of Petr’s Moon, or want to learn more about what’s involved? Contact Carly with any questions, or to request the scripts, scores, and audiovisual media you’ll need.

Project specs
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Language: English
  • Instruments: 1d1, 1d1, 1d1es+bass, 1, 1
  • Tech needs: 2 standing microphones; projection screen; laptop with MS PowerPoint and A/V hookup

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*World premiere: April 25, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec
Ontario premiere: September 24, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario