More than 1,100 students from 18 schools across the state were afforded a rare opportunity to attend Mona Golabek’s performance of The Pianist of Willesden Lane at Sanford University on April 22.
Mona Golabek; Grammy nominee, concert pianist, author of The Children of Willesden Lane, and daughter of a Holocaust survivor; tells her mother’s story of survival interwoven with performances of the classical piano pieces that gave her mother strength. Set in Vienna in 1938 and London during the Blitzkrieg, The Pianist of Willesden Lane is about Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist who dreams about her concert debut at the storied Musikverein concert hall. But with the issuing of new ordinances under the Nazi regime, everything for Lisa changes, except for her love of music and the pursuit of her dream. Featuring some of the world’s most beloved piano music played live, The Pianist of Willesden Lane is performer Mona Golabek’s true family story, chronicling hope, survival and how through our darkest times, music has the power to help us survive.
The students of schools that participated read of The Children of Willesden Lane before attending the performance.
This event was sponsored by Alabama Humanities Foundation, Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, Samford University, Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation, Birmingham Jewish Foundation and Birmingham Public Library.
To learn more about the The Pianist of Willesden Lane performance, watch this news story by WGBH: