Zane Zalis

Dear all,

I am honoured to welcome you tonight. I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to the talented artists and the production team behind the scenes who together bring to life the score and lyrics of “i believe”. I would like to thank Bayer Kultur: the concert evenings in Wuppertal and Leverkusen would not have been possible without your support. The collaboration of individuals and groups is required in order to fill works such as “I believe” with life and make them accessible to others.

As we engage with the words, rhythms, melodies and harmonies of “I believe”, we are taken on a journey to another place and time, and although we hear the same music and the same voices, their meaning is different for each one of us. Every now and then we are confronted with challenging aspects of human nature, when actions are not based on reason and logic but arise from destructive impulses. Art can be a catalyst and help us understand such thoughts and actions.

Over the course of our lives, we sometimes take decisions intuitively, without knowing why we chose one path over the other. And yet, somewhere deep within, we know that we made the right decision. And so it was for me during the creation of “I believe”: I simply had to embark on this journey, to make people think about and feel the consequences of hatred and racism through words and music. We can develop an understanding for one another and create a foundation for lasting peace only if we immerse ourselves in the mental world of others. And peace itself is not a destination but a continuous process—a journey in which we are travellers and navigators.

The music and words of “I believe” are about us—about humanity, clothed in our own depravity, fear, pain and loss, but also in faith, courage and hope. Here we are, listening to and reflecting upon a story that is not only about us, but for us. From time to time we need to remind ourselves to not always take decisions for egotistical reasons but to also keep in mind the wellbeing of others.

Thank you,
Zane Zalis

Zane Zalis is an award-winning composer, lyricist and educator. With “I believe—A Holocaust Oratorio for Today”, Zane created a modern oratorio whose 2009 premiere was performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, vocal soloists and a chorus of 180 singers in front of a sold-out auditorium.

Zalis has been the artistic director of the Murau International Music Festival since 2006, where he brings together talented singers and instrumentalists from Canada and Europe. He is a pioneer in using technology and music to develop young people’s creative and critical thinking. Zalis has worked with Sarah Brightman, Rainbow Stage (a musical theatre company in Winnipeg), the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York. He was the producer ad arranger for “Remember”, an album project marking the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day. Zalis was chosen as the musical director of the gala concert in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee.

Zalis is composer laureate for the University of Manitoba’s St. Paul’s College and has contributed to over 200 studio recordings as a session musician, arranger, producer and composer.