Topaz: A concert to remember the experience of Japanese Americans during WWII Sunday, March 18th at 5 p.m. at South Valley

Come for the world premiere of a work for string quartet and Japanese koto by Mary Lou Prince, performed by the Rosco String Quartet.

Rehearsal of Topaz

Suggested donation $15, to be split evenly between the performers and the music program of South Valley UU.

Where did their lives cross? Had Miné Okubo strolled the pathways of the Luxembourg Gardens as an art student just as Mary Lou Prince walked them 40 years later as a student of music composition? Did Miné dream of Paris, this shared landscape, during her time incarcerated in Topaz, the desolate concentration camp near Delta Utah?

TOPAZ, a new work for string quartet and koto, occurs at the crossroads of artists and composers, dreams and reality. As one of the last students of Nadia Boulanger, Mary Lou Prince remembers photographs of Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky signed to “My dear Nadia” that smiled from the wall of her teacher’s apartment, giving evidence of connections with these innovative composers who changed the course of music. As Miné Okubo basked in the freedom of the city of lights, war was spreading out from Germany. After her return to America from Paris, she was incarcerated with other Japanese Americans, targeted by Executive Order 9066 signed
by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942. She became “Citizen 13660” and was forced to leave California to live in the Topaz concentration camp. In TOPAZ, the string quartet with koto, Mary Lou Prince marks Miné’s journey to that desolate place, the crushed hopes, the perseverance, the memory of other times, a dream.