The impetus behind my initiation of the Pink Triangle Project springs from a long-time commitment to remember and commemorate the victims of the Holocaust through music. I have always viewed the Holocaust as a seminal event in human history which changed forever our perceptions of ethics, ourselves, our governments, and our basic humanity. I believe strongly that the lessons of the Holocaust should be of concern to everybody, regardless of background. Remembrance must never be solely consigned to the responsibility of Jewish or (as in the case of the Pink Triangle victims) homosexual individuals and organizations.
I have been fortunate to see firsthand the impact that music can make in Holocaust education. My very first performance of Holocaust music was life-changing. As I began to play I suddenly sensed a difference in the audience, the voices of these long dead musicians drew them in, and together we were transformed. Many cried openly. Afterwards I felt that - in some small way - I had been able to give voice once again to these artists who had prematurely had their voices cut short or denied.
It is my belief that a greater dissemination of information about the homosexual victims of the Holocaust is long overdue and it is my hope that this project will help in accomplishing that goal.
As a German composer born in the post-war generation, coming to terms with the Nazi past of my country has been a definitive, life-long effort. Several of my works have reflected this journey of discovery including a choral work based on a poem by Nelly Sachs, Choir of the Rescued, op. 2; Kammersinfonie, op. 44, based on a text by Elisabeth Langgässer; and an opera The Women's Orchestra of Auschwitz op. 47 that premiered in the autumn of 2006 to great international regard. I would now like to memorialize the homosexual victims of the Nazi regime because, in general, this group has had very few memorials devoted to them. In the planned fourth movement of the Pink Triangle Project composition, a male choir (probably sitting dispersed amongst the audience) will very quietly sing selected names of homosexual victims and those who wore the "pink triangle" and thereby build a sound layer over which the oboe and piano will play an expressive lament. In this way the composition will move out of the realm of traditional chamber music and into the region of the great "In Memoriam" works of music (such as the 8th string quartet by D. Shostakovitch; "Il canto sospeso" by L. Nono; and the piano sonata "April 27, 1945" by K.A. Hartmann). The piece will be composed in 2009, commissioned by Susan Eischeid, Professor of Oboe. The premiere will take place in 2010 in San Francisco.