Cantata Memoria: For the Children of Aberfan by Sir Karl Jenkins

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Background to the work

Aberfan, Wales, 1966

Last year Sir Karl Jenkins composed a major work for orchestra, massed adult choir, youth choir and soloists, to commemorate the mining disaster in Aberfan, Wales, 50 years ago.

The Wellington Youth Orchestra will perform this composition, Cantata Memoria: For the Children of Aberfan on Labour Day, 23 October at 2 pm, in the Michael Fowler Centre. For this performance, the orchestra will be joined by a massed adult choir made up of members from many choirs around Wellington, together with choir members from Nelson, and Victoria, Australia. A youth choir consisting of Wellington Young Voices and additional singers from Wellington and Nelson plays an important role in the concert. The performance will include top soloists from the Wellington region and about 300 performers will be on stage for this major event. During the performance, original footage of the mining disaster from the BBC Wales Archives will be shown as part of a videospecifically created for this concert.

The Wellington Youth Orchestra will showcase their talent conducted by Simon Brew, whereas the Cantata Memoria will be conducted by Dr. Jonathan Griffith, Principal Conductor of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), who also conducted the USA premiere of this work in Carnegie Hall, New York, in January this year.

Included in the programme is Jenkins'  Benedictus from The Armed Man, dedicated to the victims and families of the Pike River mine disaster in 2010.