New string quartet piece to mark anniversary of UN Baghdad terrorist attack

8 August 2008

A new classical music work called Songs without Borders, composed in memory of United Nations personnel who have perished in the line of duty, will be performed on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attack against the world body’s Baghdad office which claimed 22 lives.

The four-part, 15-minute-long piece for a string quartet has been composed by Emmy Award winner Steve Heitzeg and will be performed by the Daedalus Quartet at the 19 August ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York.

The ceremony will be attended by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and survivors of the attack, the deadliest against the UN’s civilian personnel ever.

Over 150 people were injured in the bombing of the Canal Hotel, and among those killed was Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq and head of the UN mission in the country.

The piece’s four movements are Universal Declaration, Blue Meditation (in remembrance of members of the UN family killed in the pursuit of peace), Unfinished Assignments (for Mr. Vieira de Mello and the people of the world) and Peaceful Resolution.

Mr. Heitzeg, who has composed over 100 pieces for orchestras, choruses, chamber ensembles and films, offered to create a work for the fifth anniversary of one of the UN’s darkest days.

Currently the quartet-in-residence at Columbia University, the Daedalus Quartet won the 2001 Grand Prize of the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

Last year alone, 42 UN staff members lost their lives around the world. Since the first peacekeeping operation was set up in 1948, over 700 personnel in these missions have been killed as a result of attacks, bombings and landmines, among other malicious acts.

 

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