Geneva College



Dr. Curtis translates three songs for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

music_spirit.jpgDr. Byron G. Curtis, Professor of Biblical Studies at Geneva College, has translated three Hebrew songs to be performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, February 13. The 7 p.m. concert will be at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. The concert, "Music for the Spirit," takes the Holocaust—and the resurgence of hope despite such evil— as its theme.

PSO_musicians.jpgConcentio, the choir of the Pittsburgh School for the Choral Arts, directed by Kathryn Barnard, is singing Viktor Ullmann's "Drei hebräisches Knabenchöre" ("Three Hebrew Children's Choruses"), the pieces translated by Dr. Curtis. The three songs, all drawn from the Jewish tradition, were arranged for children's chorus by Jewish composer Viktor Ullmann while imprisoned at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. Ullmann was murdered by Nazi guards at Auschwitz the following year.

The opportunity to translate for this PSO concert came to Dr. Curtis through another member of the Geneva community, Dr. Ann Paton, Professor Emerita of English, who learned of choral director Kathryn Barnard's need for a Hebrew translator. Dr. Curtis says that he received the Hebrew songs in a rather odd Germanic-flavored transcription into Roman type. For example, the Hebrew word "Shalom" was transcribed as "Schalom." No Hebrew text was provided.

byron_curtis.jpgCurtis, a specialist in Hebrew Bible, says that two of the songs were easy: one was a "Hallelujah" based Psalm 150; another was "Amkha" (“Your People"), based on traditional prayerbook Hebrew. However, the third song "gave me fits—there was no Hebrew text, the Germanic transliteration was deeply ambiguous, and its dialect was modern Hebrew," he says. However, an Israeli linguist was able to supply the original Hebrew script for the song, "Qetannah Ginnah."

The program also features some well-known works by Franz Schubert, Antonin Dvorak and Gabriel Fauré, as well as movements from Schmidt's "Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln" ("The Book with Seven Seals"), and Pigovat's Requiem "The Holocaust," for viola and orchestra. Biblical texts figure prominently in the choral works, which will be performed by Concentio as well as the Mendelssohn Choir.

Tickets to the February 13 concert are free, though donations are accepted. Tickets are limited; up to four are available per household.

Reservations can be made by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or through the Cultural District website.

East Liberty Presbyterian Church is located in Penn Circle, East Liberty, at 116 South Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.

Geneva College invites students to accept the challenge of an academically excellent, Christ-centered and affordable education. Offering nearly 40 undergraduate majors, Adult Degree Programs with fully online and campus-based options, and seven graduate degrees, programs are recognized for their high quality. U.S. News & World Report ranks Geneva as a Top 10 Best Value in the North Region with one of the Top 100 engineering programs in the nation. Adhering to the inerrancy of Scripture, a Geneva education is grounded in God’s word as well as in a core curriculum designed to prepare students vocationally to think, write and communicate well in today’s world.


Point of Excellence

The Master of Arts in Counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP).

more points >>
Upcoming Events
Red Cross presents Geneva the College of the Year Award
The campus community was honored for its support of the Red Cross Blood Program.
Super Fans bring back GT Victory Bell ring
The tradition was restored in honor of the volleyball win against Chatham.
Geneva leaps ahead in U.S. News 2015 Best College rankings
This year, Geneva climbs even higher in the Best Value, Best Regional College and Best Engineering lists.
Alexander Dining Hall completed
After a summer of renovation, the changes to Alexander Dining Hall are finished.
Academic Convocation officially opened the fall semester
First-year students were welcomed and faculty achievements were honored during the traditional ceremony.