The Kalamazoo Bach Festival will open its 2018 Bach Fest Week on Saturday, June 2 at 8 pm in Chenery Auditorium with two visceral, all-hands-on-deck works for voices and orchestra: William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast and Yevhen Stankovych's Requiem For Those Who Died Of Famine. The Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus and Kalamazoo Philharmonia are the first to perform the Requiem outside Europe.
In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Ludwa talks about some of the big attractions of Belshazzar's Feast, and Koehler explains the circumstances that brought his attention to the Requiem, honoring the victims of Holodomor (an artificially engineered famine orchestrated by the Soviet leadership in Ukraine in 1932-33). Koehler learned about the Requiem when he was put in touch with the director of the Ukranian Genocide Famine Foundation. Koehler was "blown away by the raw power, the immediacy of communication" upon hearing it, and agreed to give the Requiem For Those Who Dies Of Famine its first performances in North America.