Trumpeter Mark Isham, left, opened the Symphony of Hope concert with a performance of originals. Among the symphony's composer who attended the premiere were, from left, Christopher Young, Timothy Wynn, Christopher Lennertz, Deborah Lurie,Andrew Gross, Christophe Beck, Ed Shearmur and Elia Cmiral.
Composer Christopher Lennertz, whose upcoming projects include NBC's "Revolution" and the Mark Ruffalo- Gwyneth Paltrow comedy Thanks for Sharing, learned about Haiti in the mid-1980s from Father Tom Hagan, who had spent many of his years as a priest on the island nation.
In 1990, Hagan's work inspired Lennertz to write a college admission essay on the poor, the sick and the suffering. Twenty years later, after the devastating earthquake that killed more than 316,000 people, Hagan was the inspiration behind "A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project," which received its world premiere Aug. 3 at the California Plaza Amphitheatre.
Organizers and artists gathered prior to the Symphony of Hope premiere at the California Plaza Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. From left, event co-producer Ray Costa, concert emcee Erika Christensen, Father Tom Hagan, founder of Hands Together, composer-trumpeter Mark Isham, executive VP of Artists for Human Rights Linda Lombardo, and composer- event co-producer Christopher Lennertz, who started the symphony project.
Rooting his piece in a Haitian folk song, Lennertz created a "chain-letter composition" that 25 composers would contribute to. Ten of the composers were on hand for the premiere, among them Christopher Young, Deborah Lurie, Andrew Gross, Ed Shearmur and Elia Cmiral. A 70-member orchestra and 40-member choir performed the 50-minute piece after opening sets from trumpeter Mark Isham and singer Lucy Schwartz.
A silent auction, attended by 250 composers, agents, performing rights organizations and other guests, raised more than $120,000 for Hagan's Hands Together, an organization in Haiti that develops educational programs, feeding programs and medical clinics.