Concert Highlights Dresden Exhibit at UM

Finding Hope In The Darkness of War, Through Music

Charlotte Libov


Classical music is generally found within concert halls and artworks in galleries, but this artificial boundary will vanish when IlluminArts hosts its next musical program.

The IlluminArts program, “Dresden: A Hymn to Humanity,” takes place Saturday night at the Lowe Art Museum in conjunction with Sebastian Spreng’s current exhibit about the fate of that European city during World War II.

The chamber music program is designed to complement the exhibit, says Amanda Crider, founder and artistic director of IlluminArts.

Holding a concert in an art museum is in keeping with IlluminArts’ mission, says Crider, a mezzo-soprano.

“Miami is a huge visual art town, but not such a huge classical music town, so I wanted to present classical music in a way that made sense, by bringing it to museums and galleries,” says Crider. “In that way, it offers a portal into both art forms,” she added.

The exhibit, entitled, “Sebastian Spring: Dresden,” is comprised of 61 works, printed digitally on aluminum, accessible both on the wall, and through an electronic device, an iPad.

According to Spreng, the artist, who is also a music critic, his works are intended to be “a meditation,” on the bombing of Dresden by the Allies during World War II.

Jennifer Holloway


Jennifer Holloway

Before its destruction, Dresden, Germany, was known as the “Florence of the Elbe,” and had served “as the birthplace of painters, poets and composers who shaped the European artistic landscape for centuries,” says Spreng, in a statement accompanying the exhibit.

“It is my hymn to what was lost and my humble supplication to mankind to never lose weight of the real cost of war,” he adds.

Because of its theme, the exhibit is also in keeping with another goal of IlluminArts, which is to use the arts to foster communication about social issues.

“This exhibit addresses man’s ability to create and destroy through war and political issues, which speaks to the power of mankind,” says Crider.

Also, although the exhibit focuses on this particular event, such occurrences are not limited to this one city, or to this particular war, says Crider, noting that it is “a continuing issue.”


“Although this exhibit is focused on the destruction of a beautiful Baroque city in World War II, if you look at Syria, or any focus of war today, you will see that what mankind create is being destroyed,” she adds.

The concert will feature baritone Jonathan Beyer, soprano Jennifer Holliday, and IlluminArts co-founder, Russian pianist Anna Fateeva, performing a program that includes works by Schubert, Berg, Rachmaninoff, Bernstein, Brahms, Mahler, and more.


Anna Fateeva, IlluminArts co-founder and pianist.


Anna Fateeva, IlluminArts co-founder and pianist.

For a singer, being able to perform along such artwork provided a rare opportunity, says Beyer.   “The visual exhibit has really informed our repertoire selections, creating an amazing arc, and we will really be able to tell a story,” he says.

He performed with numerous major opera companies, including, the Metropolitan Opera; the Boston Lyric Opera, the Dallas Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, and many more, both in the U.S. and throughout the world.            

Holloway was already singing internationally when she debuted in 2010 at the Metropolitan Opera House as Flora in “La Traviata,” and she also appeared there in “Don Carlos.” Her recent performance in the UK with Opera North was hailed as “stunning” by classical music critic Hugh Canning, writing in “The Times.”           

Fateeva, who has performed frequently in IlluminArts concerts, has accompanied such distinguished artists as Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Renée Fleming, Denyce Graves, Vivica Genaux, Nadine Sierra, Wendy Bryn Harmer, and Crider, among others. She also performs with the Seraphic Fire, the locally-based, internationally known vocal group, and was the pianist on their recording, “Reincarnations.”           

Despite the subject matter of Dresden, Crider promises that the concert will not dwell solely one tragic nature of the event.            

“Because the exhibit is profound and dark, I think people will be surprised to find that there is light in this program,” she says, adding, “There is a hope in the music that the cycle won’t repeat.”


"Dresden: Hymn to Humanity" will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables, Fla. 33146. Tickets are $25. 



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