September 19, 2021

Faculty members Yolanda Kondonassis and Michael Sachs record world premiere

Album cover for Elegy ... for those we lost

Distinguished CIM faculty members harpist Yolanda Kondonassis (BM ’86, MM ’89, Chalifoux) and trumpeter Michael Sachs collaborate for the world premiere recording of Elegy ... for those we lost – a tribute dedicated to the families of COVID-19 victims – composed by Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Aaron Jay Kernis, released on Azica Records.

Though Elegy … for those we lost  – which Kernis describes as a way to “try to give some measure of solace to families by sharing a personal expression of grief” – was initially a work for solo piano, Kernis created this brand new arrangement for harp and trumpet with Kondonassis and Sachs in mind. The multi-Grammy-nominated harp soloist and the Principal Trumpeter of The Cleveland Orchestra premiered Kernis’ new arrangement together in June of this year, to great critical acclaim: 

“Sachs brings tremendous lyricism to the melodic lines, rising to cathartic full voice at the peak, while Kondonassis equals his energy, dispatching the more pianistic parts of the work, arpeggios and chords, with utter certainty.” – Seen and Heard International

"Moving from the meditative to the quasi-triumphant ... [the performance] is sensitive and flawless." – Cleveland Classical

“We’re not doctors or scientists or nurses or policy-makers,” Kondonassis says. “But we can play music, and that’s how we thought we could contribute some small measure of healing amidst all that everyone’s been through.”

Elegy … for those we lost was released on Azica Records on September 17, 2021. Recording, production and mastering was done by GRAMMY Award-winner Alan Bise (BM ’94, Knabb).

Preview the recording on Spotify and Apple Music.