A multidisciplinary collaboration led by Stanford professor of classics Grant Parker and music lecturer Marie-Louise Catsalis, Do Not Fear the Past reorients South Africa’s past and examines the relationship between the ethics of commemoration and the process of reconciliation and forgiveness. The Bay-Area based Astraeus Quartet will perform South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen’s newly commissioned piece Do not fear the past, which is based on Zuhura Seng’enge’s poem of the same title. Featuring soprano Donita Volkwijn, visual elements by Stanford alum and artist Jordan Reist, and texts read by Stanford students, the performance portrays an oblique response to the death of Stanford alumna Amy Biehl (1967-93) during her stint as Fulbright fellow in Cape Town, South Africa in the lead-up to that country’s first democratic election.
Staff and students of the Amy Foundation as well as Stanford students in the university’s Bing Overseas Studies Program developed and workshopped Do Not Fear the Past in Cape Town during the summer of 2018. The result is a powerful exploration and questioning of remembrance and reconciliation amid tragedy that urgently seeks ways forward.
View the digital program here.