Elegy . . . for those we lost will be released as a digital-only single on Azica Records on September 17. This world premiere recording features GRAMMY-nominated harp soloist Yolanda Kondonassis and her husband, Cleveland Orchestra Principal Trumpet Michael Sachs. Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY award-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis wrote Elegy after contracting and recovering from COVID-19. Originally composed for solo piano, Kernis’ work intends to honor those who died from the illness and to comfort their grieving families, who often were isolated during the mourning process. The composer says, “I strived to create music to counterpoint the terrible pandemic and honor the dead—to try to give some measure of solace to families by sharing a personal expression of grief.”
After Kondonassis heard the piece as part of a video tribute to the victims of COVID-19, she asked Kernis to arrange the work for trumpet and harp. Kondonassis notes, “Kernis’ Elegy illuminates the emotional nuances of our collective experience in a manner that only music can do, taking us on an artful sonic journey that travels through the stages of deep sadness, resignation, despair, and rage, leading us towards hope, sublimation, resolve, acceptance, and finally peace.” Kondonassis and Sachs premiered Elegy . . . for those we lost on June 3, 2021, as part of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Adella.live In Focus Concert Series.