Premiere of “Yom Kippur 1942” in Meppel: A Tribute to Memory and History

Premiere of “Yom Kippur 1942” in Meppel: A Tribute to Memory and History


The memorial piece “Yom Kippur 1942” will be premiered on October 19, 2024, in the historic Grote Kerk in the Dutch city of Meppel. This significant event will feature a narration by Job Cohen, a tenor performance by Erik Slik, and the participation of the choir Koorschool Viva La Musica, conducted by Ceciel van der Zee. The wind band, Symfonisch Blaasorkest Nedersaksen, will be led by the composer Zoran Rosendahl himself.

“Yom Kippur 1942” is a musical drama crafted for narrator, tenor, women’s choir, and Spanish symphonic wind band. The piece is dedicated to the late conductor Nico Sieffers, who passed away suddenly in February 2024 after a brief hospitalization. Sieffers was the driving force and inspiration behind this project, deeply involved with Jewish history and the events of World War II.

The composition commemorates the tragic night of October 2-3, 1942, when the Jewish population of Northern Netherlands was forcibly taken away while celebrating Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. This harrowing event, carried out by the Nazis, left a profound scar on the region but remains relatively unknown and uncommemorated to this day. Sieffers aimed to bring this dark chapter to light through music.

Rosendahl and Sieffers collaborated closely to bring this composition to life. Rosendahl conducted extensive research, traveling to Auschwitz and Israel to deepen his understanding of the historical context. The city of Meppel, in the province of Drenthe, holds a special place in the piece. This old trading city, where many Jews lived until 1942, is also where both Rosendahl and Sieffers resided.

The music of “Yom Kippur 1942” is richly infused with Jewish hymns sung in Hebrew, and features a Dutch translation of Paul Celan’s poignant poem “Todesfuge,” translated by university professor Ton Naaijkens. A special focus is given to the Book of Jonah, one of the most significant narratives traditionally read on Yom Kippur.

Event Details:

  • Language: Dutch and Hebrew
  • Ensemble: Narrator, lyric tenor, women’s choir, and Spanish symphonic wind band
  • Duration: 65 minutes
  • Photo: Nico Sieffers in action, photo by © Willomino

Join us for this powerful and moving premiere as we honor the memory of the past and ensure that these crucial stories are never forgotten.