Renan Koens recital in Madrid was greatly admiredRenan Koen, pianist, composer and music therapist, gave a piano recital in Madrid, Spain, on June 4th, with the special invitation of Madrid Ambassador Cihad Erginay.
Renan Koen’s piano recital was organized by Madrid Embassy in cooperation with “Art, Museums, Palaces Friendship Society” in the concert hall of the “El Centro Cultural de los Ejercitos” building also known as the ‘Army House’. Koen began her concert in this historical setting with the piano sonatas of Gideon Klien and Viktor Ullmann. They had composed these during the time they were in Terezin Concentration Camp. During the concert Koen also shared valuable information about the history of Holocaust, the composers of that time and their works.
Koen continued her concert with the Sephardic song “Adio Kerida” and Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo. Before singing the song Adio Kerida she gave an emotional speech saying “My ancestors left Spain and moved to Ottoman Empire more than 500 years ago. Sephardic Jews when they first came to Edirne in the Ottoman land, created a different tune for their prayers together with the Mevlevi Order (Whirling Dervishes). They called this tune ‘Maftarim’. Our hearts came together then not to be separated ever again. In time all our prayers were adapted to this tune, which today we know as the ‘Turkish tune’ and in our synagogues it is still sung like this, being unique in the world. With our “Ladino” language and our special cuisine we have preserved for more than 500 years, we are keeping our Spanish culture, but at the same time we feel Turkish and love our country very much. To live in another country but being able to keep a language for 500 years is something unheard of. As a matter of fact, Ladino is accepted as one of the Ottoman languages nowadays. The song Adio Kerida I’m going to play next is a Sephardic song. We think that this song travelled from Spain to the Ottoman Empire. This song was also the song Greek Jews in Auschwitz camp sang to each other when they were being sent to die...”
After these pieces Koen played works by Turkish composers Ulvi Cemal Erkin and Ali Darmar. She talked about their life stories and added, “Except the composers from the Terezin camp, all the composers whose works I played tonight were in Paris around the same period. Although they all had similar music trainings, their styles, their language of music is very different from each other. This is why music and art are very special tools that artists can express themselves in very different ways. Ali Darmar is also my piano teacher; through the years I’ve had the honour to witness a lot of his works during the producing phase.”
When she finished her program in this both emotional and admirable concert, Renan Koen came back to the stage due to the long-lasting applause and asked the audience which song they wanted to listen once again. “Adio Kerida” was requested in unison and even after the concert they wanted to talk to the artist for a long time. Some were still emotional and some just wanted to hug Renan Koen warmly...