The Ethics Project presents
October 31- Nov. 12, 2019 in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal
November 4, 10, and 12, 2019, in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.
The Schulich Singers, McGill University’s premier choral ensemble,
Jean-Sébastien Vallée, conductor, and guest artists
ITTAI SHAPIRA The Ethics (2015), for violin, piano, percussion, and chorus. With guest artists Israeli-American violinist/composer Ittai Shapira, and German pianist Constanze Beckmann.
MICHAEL SPIROFF Panikhida: Vechnaya Pamyat (Requiem: Memory Eternal) (Premiere)
And other selected works, with readings from the magazine VEDEM, by the boys of the Republic of Škid, and the memoires of the late George Brady, a survivor of Terezín.
With the generous support of the German and Israeli Embassies, the German Consulate in Toronto, the German Consulate in Ottawa, and the German Consulate in Montreal.
TORONTO: November 4, at 7:30 p.m.
As part of Holocaust Education Week (November 3-9, 2019)
Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre for Faith, Justice & the Arts, 427 Bloor St. W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7
OTTAWA: November 10, at 7:30 p.m.
Dominion Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper St., Ottawa, ON K2P 0G8
MONTREAL: November 12, 7:30 p.m.
Pollack Hall, McGill University, 555 Sherbrooke St. W, Montreal, QC H3A 1E3
Offered in conjunction with the choral concerts above:
TORONTO: October 31, at 12:00 p.m.
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W, Toronto, ON M5H 4G1
A new chamber version of THE ETHICS, by Ittai Shapira, performed by vocal quartet, in a one-hour program for the Canadian Opera Company COC Free Concerts Series (Vocal/Chamber Music).
About the Artistic Directors
Israeli-American composer/violinist Ittai Shapira and German-born pianist/co-producer Constanze Beckmann are based in New York.
Hailed by the NYTimes as “an Israeli dynamo with a flourishing solo career”, violinist/composer Ittai Shapira composes music responding to critical issues facing society today, with recent premieres at Carnegie Hall and BBC National Orchestra Wales. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2003, and has since returned to that world renowned stage numerous times, including a concert with the American Symphony and most recently premiering his own work, The Ethics. Ittai Shapira has performed in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the US. He has premiered 19 concertos and recorded 20 CDs, and is the first violinist to tour regularly with his own Concertos with Orchestras in over seven decades. His most recent album features three of his double concertos, co-produced by the BBC. The Victor Herbert Foundation recently gave him a special award in recognition and support of his unique projects, which frequently involve social causes. He has collaborated with the Daniel Pearl Foundation for an HBO Film, and has performed with Glenn Close, Brooke Shields and Salman Rushdie. Shapira studied in Israel with Ilona Feher and at the Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay and Naoko Tanaka. He serves as advisor for the Music and Medicine program at Weill/Cornell, co-founder of the Ilona Feher Foundation, dedicated to the nurturing and promotion of young Israeli violinists, and “Sound Potential”, an organization exploring Music and Healing on medical, educational, and societal levels.
German born pianist and curator, Constanze Beckmann, is a passionate advocate for cultural exchange and tolerance through the arts. The legendary conductor, Kurt Sanderling, praised her as “A musician with extraordinary musical taste and great potential as a performer”. As a soloist, Constanze has performed throughout Europe, Canada, and Israel; including the Berliner Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg, the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Canadian Opera Company, and Koerner Hall, in Toronto. Working with musicians from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Constanze was acknowledged by Claudio Abbado as “A sensitive and gifted chamber musician”. A sought after collaborator for singers and string players, Constanze regularly plays with musicians from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, among others.
The winner of several first prizes and special awards in major youth competitions, including the International Steinway Competition and “Jugend Musiziert“, Constanze has performed with renowned orchestras including the Berlin Symphonic Orchestra, the Kammerakademie Potsdam, and the Erzgebirgisches Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Beckmann is a graduate of The Royal Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of John Perry, majoring in piano performance. She also holds a BA in economics from the Thompson Rivers University in BC. She has participated in master classes for some of the world’s finest musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Arie Vardi, and Dmitri Bashkirov. Further mentors include Robert Levin, Elena Richter and Ilana Vered. Constanze is currently working and living in New York, completing her Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music.
For more about Constanze Beckmann, please go to
About The Ethics
“The Ethics”, for Violin, Piano, Percussion, and Chorus, was written as a modern day response to the Holocaust, and inspired by Ela Weisberger in memory of Eva Sachs and the children of Theresienstadt. Ela Weisberger played the role of the cat in the children’s opera even in Brundibar, the children’s opera by Hans Krasa, which was performed in the concentration camp.
“The Ethics” was commissioned by the family foundations Krueger and Blavatnik, for “Humanity in Action”. The premiere took place on May 14, 2015 in Carnegie Hall on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Theresienstadt concentration camp. It has also been performed at the Holocaust Museum in Florida, and in Washington DC.
From the composer, Ittai Shapira
“In interviewing some of the survivors, my main goal with the piece was an exploration of the history, what would have happened with the children that did not survive, and what my own life could have been had I been in the camp. Thus, the piece starts and ends with a Spinoza Quote: “If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past”.”
How has it come to be presented in Toronto and why this particular group of musicians?
Constanze Beckmann lived in Toronto from 2009 to 2017. She studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music and graduated 2014 under the tutelage of John Perry. While here, she originated and performed in numerous projects as a pianist and curator, including recitals as part of Holocaust Education Week since 2010, featuring works composed by Holocaust survivors. These were followed by exhibits and lectures in collaboration with well knows artists such as Samuel Bak.
In 2018, at the request of the German Embassy in Ottawa, Ms. Beckmann created and performed a musical program for the 80th anniversary of the Reichskristallnacht, with concerts in Toronto (at the COC Free Concert Series) and Ottawa.
In 2019, the German Embassy in Ottawa initiated and sponsored a project in memory of the late George Brady, and the victims of Terezín. With the ongoing support of The Embassy, Constanze curated a musical program which includes The Ethics (2015), for violin, piano, percussion, and chorus composed by the Israeli-American violinist, Ittai Shapira.
Three concert performances will feature the Schulich Singers under the baton of Maestro Jean-Sébastien Vallée, in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
The Schulich Singers choir is McGill University’s premier choral ensemble, and consists of approximately 24 singers performing repertoire of all periods and styles. The ensemble presents two concerts every semester as well as several off-campus concerts and tours.
For more information, please contact