It has long been a dream of mine to offer audiences the ‘Second World War flute and piano masterpieces’ in a series of concerts, alongside contemporary texts and poems, thereby offering poignant literary contextualisation.

Given the countless commemorations this year, the memory of this dark period is apparently still very much alive for many. Art, literature and music created during this period, have their own emotional place in the collective memory, powerfully reflecting the artists’ perception of their time, or their hope for peace.

I feel strongly that context is everything and an extra powerful dimension is highlighted by grouping the works in this way; by national groups and also by presenting them together with the written and spoken word from and about that era. The arts can never exist in a vacuum and Second World War composers would have undoubtedly been influenced by great writers and writings of their time as well as the horrendous world situation around them, and their longing for peace. Weaving the written and sounding, music and texts in this way gives an enriching depth of human understanding.

I feel it is of vital importance that the generations not immediately impacted by the Second World war are kept reminded of its horrors and also the astonishing beauty which emerged from those horrors. I see this as being a sincere and creative way with which to keep those gruesome times alive to some extent… Nie wieder Krieg! Lest we forget!

During the concerts, guest writers/poets/translators will present their chosen texts from the relevant era and country. In addition to a large screen behind the stage with images of the composers and writers, the audience will also be provided with the printed extracts.

I am delighted that my duo partner of more than 23 years, Andrew West will be joining me on this journey. He is not only an amazing pianist but also a modern-day ‘man of letters’; having studied English at Cambridge University prior to his piano studies at the Royal Academy, he has taken his life-long passion for words into his performing world, where he is predominantly known for his work with singers.

I am thrilled that the speakers/writers/translators have all agreed to contribute with great enthusiasm; Rolf Somann (part 1), Nina Targan Mouravi (part 2) amd Christopher Chambers (part 5 ). Dutch and French guests yet to be confirmed.

My name is Emily Beynon and I have been principal flute of the Concertgebouw Orchestra since 1995. With some 30 years of professional experience behind me, I finally feel the time is right and ripe for me to commit my interpretation of these masterworks, many of them core flute repertoire, to posterity.

Let these works be a reminder of the search for peace and innocence made in this most ugly periods of human history.

The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson