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From Darkness to Light

  • Power House Theatre 111 N 6th Ave Walla Walla, WA, 99362 United States (map)

Symphony Series: From Darkness to Light

Two performances!
Saturday, February 27, 7:30pm (SOLD OUT) & Sunday, February 28, 3pm
Gesa Power House Theater

Ernest Bloch                    Baal Shem Suite - Nigun
                                         Anna Burgess, violin
                                         Jackie Wood, piano

Robert Convery                At Terezin, The Closed Town
                                         (from Songs of Children)
Featuring the Whitman College Chamber Singers, Riikka Pietilainen-Caffrey, Director

Remarks by Richard Middleton-Kaplan and James Winchell

Hana Szenesh                    Walk to Caesaria
Featuring the Whitman College Chamber Singers

Grigori Frid                        The Diary of Anne Frank
                                           Ani Maldjian, soprano
                                           Staging by Ron Williams
                                           Lighting design by Cynthia DeVille

This concert is presented as part of the annual “Music 360°” – an initiative that explores the impact of music through different lenses.

This concert will have general admission seats (not reserved seats).  Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students (with ID) and $5 for youth 18 & younger.

These performances are made possible in part by:

Ani Maldjian, soprano

American-Armenian Soprano Ani Maldjian has been described as “Sensational, radiant, elegant, commanding, brilliant, fresh and strong.” –The Los Angeles Times. 

Ms. Maldjian has performed over 35 major roles with companies such as Long Beach Opera, Seattle Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, and Opera Theatre Ireland. Roles include Musetta, Nannetta, Lauretta, Leila, Cleopatra, Adele, Despina, and Clorinda. With a great passion for contemporary opera, she has performed the title roles in Les Mamelles de Tiresias and The Cunning Little Vixen, along with Madame Mao in Nixon in China, Nuria in Ainadamar, Fire/Princess in L’enfant et les sortileges, and Princess in Susa’s Transformations.

She is best known for her critically acclaimed portrayal of Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank. This one-woman opera has brought her success all over the US, UK, Europe and Republic of Ireland. The LA Times wrote, “Discovering talent like Maldjian’s is no easy feat."

Ms. Maldjian has earned her Master of Music degree from California State University Northridge and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cal Arts. She was the First Place Winner of the Western Region Metropolitan Opera Competition in 2005.

Anna Okada Burgess is a 20-year-old violinist, fiddler, and singer from Walla Walla, Washington. She began studying the violin in the Suzuki Method at the age of three and currently studies with Dr. Susan Pickett at Whitman College.

When Anna was fifteen, she performed in the elite American High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall in New York. High school students from all 50 states and abroad compete for the opportunity to perform in this highly selective orchestra of approximately 120 young musicians.

Aside from her classical interests, Anna is a devoted and accomplished  Celtic fiddler. She and her father, Jesse Burgess, form a Celtic guitar and fiddle duo and have performed together extensively for over a decade. When Anna was fourteen, she recorded her first Celtic album, Spring in Brassica. Preparations are under way to record a second Celtic album this year.

In addition to her classical and Celtic music, Anna sings and plays the violin with her band, Wildwood Park, which released their debut album, A Beauty In Her Day, last October. A music video of their song, I Dreamed I Was A Big House, was released this February. This video and much more is available at

Anna will be presenting her eighth solo recital this April 3rd at Whitman College. Her program will feature the Baal Shem Suite by Ernest Bloch, as well as works by Mendelssohn and Brahms.

Richard Middleton-Kaplan is Dean of Arts & Sciences at Walla Walla Community College. At Harper College in Palatine, IL, from 2002 to 2015, he served as dramaturg for theater productions of The Diary of Anne Frank as well as Fiddler on the Roof, Over the Tavern, and Alfred Uhry’s Atlanta trilogy of Parade, Driving Miss Daisy, and The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Richard created Harper’s first course devoted to literature of the Holocaust. His chapter “The Myth of Jewish Passivity” appeared in the book Jewish Resistance Against the Nazis, edited by Patrick Henry (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2014). Prior to teaching at Harper College, Richard lived in Walla Walla from 1991 to 2002. During those years, he served on the Board of the Walla Walla Symphony; performed the spoken role of The Minister in the symphony’s joint performance (with the Walla Walla Choral Society and I Cantori) of Ernst Bloch’s Sacred Service; and appeared on stage at the Little Theatre in Wait until Dark and A Few Good Men.

Photo credit: (c) kate griffin photography 2011

James Winchell has been teaching, researching and writing professionally for 34 years, first as a graduate student at the University of Washington, and subsequently at Stanford University, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Northwest Academy (an independent secondary school in Portland, Oregon) and until 2015 at Whitman College.

He holds the Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (French and English, 1988) and a graduate degree (Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies) from the Université de Paris IV (Sorbonne).

From 1998-2008, he created, refined and implemented the four-year curriculum in English/Humanities at a new, independent, arts- and project-based secondary school in downtown Portland, Oregon (Northwest Academy). He also currently serves on the Fairhaven College Advisory Board, a function of the Department of Development & University Advancement at Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA). 

He has published numerous essays on such writers as Jorge Luis Borges, Simone Weil, Oscar Wilde, Gustave Flaubert, and Franz Kafka, among others. He is also a Founding Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres. Most recently he has published a series of essays in Tablet Magazine: A New Read On Jewish Life (online).

He lives in Walla Walla with his spouse Jennifer and their son Ezra, who is currently an 11th-grader at Walla Walla High School.

Earlier Event: February 15
Heart Beat Concert
Later Event: March 16
Heart Beat Concert