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Shostakovich Bust and Shostakovich Square in Gohrisch

A central square in the spa town Gohrisch in Sächsische Schweiz (“Saxon Switzerland,” a region in Eastern Germany) has renamed Shostakovich Square on 12 July 2010 in memory of the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. The renaming will be undertaken by the Mayor of Gohrisch, Tom Vollmann, and the personal assistant of the State Secretary in the Saxon State Ministry of Sciences and Arts, Dr. Edeltraud Hass. Shostakovich Square in Gohrisch will bet he first address in Germany named after this important composer.

A bust of Shostakovich will simultaneously be unveiled at the Square, which also serves as a bus stop for the local elementary school. It was created by the sculptor Horst Engelhardt in fulfilment of a commission from the Shostakovich Society in Gohrisch (registered association). Engelhardt, born in 1951 in Leuben bei Meissen and presently active as a freelance artist in Jäckelsbruch bei Wriezen (Brandenburg), has already created several sculptures in Sächsische Schweiz.
Dmitri Shostakovich spend short periods of time in Gohrisch during the years 1960 and 1972, and composed his String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110 there at building of the Council of Ministers of the GDR (today: Parkhotel Albrechtshof) in 1960. The work is considered one of his most important compositions and harrowingly reflects Shostakovich’s existential suffering under the Soviet regime. It is probably the only composition that Shostakovich wrote outside the Soviet Union.
50 years after the composition of this work, the Shostakovich Society in Gohrisch, founded in 2009, will host, for the first time, International Shostakovich Days in Gohrisch in September 2010. The three-day festival, artistically organised in cooperation with the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, is intended to take place annually and bring leading interpreters and admirers of the music of Shostakovich from all over the world to Gohrisch. This first year, expected guests include Irina Antonovna Shostakovich, the widow of the composer, and the conductor Rudolf Barschai, whose adaptation of the Eighth String Quartet has become world famous as the Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a. The main location of the festival will be a barn of the Sächsische Schweiz Agricultural Cooperative, which is being converted into a “concert barn.”

The naming of the Square will take place on the 50th anniversary of the composition of the Quartet; Shostakovich composed it within three days, from 12 to 14 July 1960.

 

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