5 Random Acts_Night Songs_Serenata of SF_1st Presbyterian

Etty Hillesum

Before her death at Auschwitz in 1943, the Dutch-Jewish writer Etty Hillesum served as a social worker for Jews facing extermination. Composer Alexandra du Bois visited the Netherlands and Poland in 2005 to learn about Hillesum, who was known as irrepressible and free-spirited, despite the treacherous circumstances of her life. Du Bois’ travels, as well as reading Hillesum’s work, gave rise to the haunting movements of Night Songs, which du Bois wrote as a commission for the Kronos Quartet when she was just twenty-four years old. She has said that the piece is not a narrative work but a response to Hillesum’s writings, which have been compared to those of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Serenata of Santa Fe presents Night Songs: Chamber Music of John Harbison, Alexandra du Bois, and Dvorˇák, at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at First Presbyterian Church (208 Grant Ave.). Tickets are $20-$40, brownpapertickets.com. For more information, call 505-989-7988.