Shostakovich Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar)

Venue: Cobb Great Hall, Wharton Center
MSU Symphony Orchestra and Choirs

MSU Symphony Orchestra and Choral Ensembles featuring baritone Mark Rucker and concert preview lecture


MSU Choirs and Symphony Orchestra will be directed by guest conductor, Christopher James Lees.
MSU Choirs and Symphony Orchestra will be directed by guest conductor, Christopher James Lees.
Baritone Mark Rucker, professor of voice at the College of Music
Baritone Mark Rucker, professor of voice at the College of Music
Members of University Chorale and State Singers will perform with the MSU Symphony Orchestra.
Members of University Chorale and State Singers will perform with the MSU Symphony Orchestra.
Monument “Menorah” to the executed Jews dedicated in 1991 at the “Babi Yar” memorial near Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
Monument “Menorah” to the executed Jews dedicated in 1991 at the Babi Yar memorial near Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.


Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, titled Babi Yar, memorializes the massacre of Ukrainian Jews by Nazi forces. The work remains one of the most enduring musical protests against antisemitism. An engaging and informative preview lecture by three scholars and the conductor will precede the concert and explore the historical context of the Holocaust and the artistic reaction and remembrance generated by Shostakovich’s symphony. The work is paired with selections from I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Charles Davidson, settings of poems by Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust.

Preview Lecture 7:00 p.m.

  • Dr. Amy Simon, William and Audrey Farber Family Chair in Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History; Assistant Professor, James Madison College, Department of History; and the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel.

  • Dr. Matthew Pauly, Associate Professor of History, College of Social Science, and affiliate of the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel.

  • Dr. Kevin Bartig, Associate Professor of Musicology, MSU College of Music.

  • Christopher James Lees, guest conductor.

Concert 8:00 p.m.

  • I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Charles Davidson. Performed by the MSU Symphony Orchestra, University Chorale and State Singers. Christopher James Lees, guest conductor.
  • Symphony No. 13 in B-flat minor (Op. 113, Babi Yar) by Dmitri Shostakovich. Performed by the MSU Symphony Orchestra, State Singers and University Chorale with baritone soloist Mark Rucker. Christopher James Lees, guest conductor.

Presented by the Michigan State University College of Music and The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel at MSU, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, the Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit and The Detroit Jewish News.

Generously sponsored by Gretchen and Ethan Davidson, Margie Dunn and Mark Davidoff, Howard J. Gourwitz,  Belle and Julius Harris Visiting Artist Fund established by Lauren Julius Harris, Stanley and Selma Hollander Endowed Fund in Jewish Arts & Music, Sue and Alan Kaufman, Iris and Stephen Linder, Rebecca and Alan Ross, Elaine and Michael Serling/The Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, Drs. Lou A. and Roy J. Simon, Linn Van Dyne and Mike Knox, Jeff D. Williams, and Andrea L. Wulf.

The Livestream channel of the MSU College of Music is generously sponsored by the MSU Alumni Association.

Please note: A repeat performance of this event will be held at Orchestra Hall and Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in Detroit on 4/28.

General admission seating: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, free for students. 

Add a $1.50 convenience fee for each ticket ordered online or over the phone. Tickets may also be purchased at the door if available. College of Music Box Office: 517-353-5340, musicboxoffice@music.msu.edu

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