The Vedem "Boys"

Photo credit: Leo Santiago

This is a photo of the four Vedem “boys” — who travelled to Seattle, WA in May 2010 to attend the premiere of my oratorio Vedem. From left to right are: Emil Kopel (from Melbourne, Australia), Leo Lowy (from Pompton Plains, New Jersey), Sidney Taussig (from Palm Beach, Florida) and George Brady (from Toronto, Canada).

My oratorio Vedem was commissioned by Mina Miller and Music of Remembrance. The work tells the story of the boys of Terezin and their secret journal Vedem (Czech for “In the Lead”).

Poet David Mason (my collaborator for The Scarlet Letter) created the libretto —crafting a moving verse drama that entwined six of the original Vedem poems. His libretto allowed me to musically capture not only the tragic aspects of the boys’ lives, but their humanity— their worries, their spirited response to adversity, their yearnings and their humor.

I have created three versions of this work: the full oratorio; a song cycle for mezzo-soprano, tenor, clarinet and piano; and a short choral song cycle, scored for boychoir (or children’s choir) with piano accompaniment.

Naxos released the Vedem CD in May 2011. Of the CD, Fanfare Magazine has written: “A most touching experience, and one that further confirms Laitman’s status as one of the most talented and intriguing of living composers.”

Click here for information about John Sharify’s moving documentary, The Boys of Terezin, which chronicles the reunion of the Vedem boys in Seattle.

Update: Sadly, Leo Lowy passed away in March, 2014, at the age of 85. It was my great honor to know him.