Honoring the legacy. Mourning the loss. Finding hope in our history.

Their Voices Will Remain

-The Music of Leon Gurvitch-

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Location: Kulturforum Görlitzer Synagoge

Time:  19:00


Join us for a remarkable evening of music at the Kulturforum Görlitzer Synagoge.  Their Voices Will Remain will feature the music of Leon Gurvitch– one of today’s leading Jewish composers.   The composer, himself, will be at the piano for the concert.  His works will feature Sara Duchovnay.  Both performers are Jewish-descendants of Holocaust victimns.  Their unique backgrounds as second and third-generation Holocaust survivors ties this concert perfectly into the theme of reuniting Jewish descendants with the city their families were expelled from.

Their Voices Will Remain plays a unique role in Jewish Remembrance Week 2023 by remembering the Holocaust through music. With this we seek to honor those of all backgrounds who found the strength to create even in the face of persecution, and those who had the courage to speak out against cruelty.  Leon Gurvitch’s musical works tell stories that communicate urgent moral lessons for today with a scope that extends beyond the Holocaust itself to the experience of others who have been excluded or persecuted.



Leon Gurvitch- Composer and Pianist

Pianist/composer/conductor LEON GURVITCH was born into a musical family in Minsk, Belarus. Gurvitch studied piano, violin, and oboe, and graduated as a conductor from the Belarussian Music Academy, continuing his studies at the Music and Theatre Academy in Hamburg, Germany.

Since 2001, he has been a resident of Hamburg where, in addition to his international touring and concertizing, he is more than 12 years an assistant professor at the Johannes Brahms Conservatory (Germany). As a composer, he has authored more than 300 compositions and arrangements of orchestral, chamber, vocal, choral and solo instrumental compositions. His creative roots are in the classics, where he cites Stravinsky, Ravel, Bernstein and Brubeck as a few of his influences, and his compositions also find inspiration in music of the Far East, Latin America, Klezmer, Russian folk, jazz and world music.

In 2001 Gurvitch founded the Leon Gurvitch Project, conceived as a musical genre-crossing ensemble with outstanding musicians, influenced from many corners of the world. The Group gave successful performances at numerous international festivals such as Leverkusener Jazztagen, jazz festivals in Berlin, Hamburg, „jazzahead” in Bremen, Yuri-Bashmet-Festival in Dortmund, Klezmore Vienna, as well as festivals in Amsterdam, Prague, Lodz and Breslau.

Leon Gurvitch’s versatility was further demonstrated as composer for the 2001 film “Death Game” by Oscar-nominated Menahem Golan. Gurvitch conducted the premiere of Philip Glass’s opera “Les Enfants Terribles” in Hamburg, and in Berlin in 2006 he was awarded an international prize for his composition “Golden Chanukah“.

Other credits include collaborations with the Hamburg State Opera, The North German Radio Symphony Orchestra (NDR), Berliner Camerata and legendary German theatre director Peter Zadek.

In 2013 he composed a „Musical Phantasy on Poems by Daniil Charms” performed in the Hamburg State Opera/Opera Stabile.

Gurvitch’s first album, Eldorado” was released in 2010 and featured Grammy Award-winner Frank London of The Klezmatics, followed in 2014 by a solo piano CD “Remember Me” both released by Morgenland/Naxos.

In 2015, Gurvitch’s “5 Dances in Old Style” for string orchestra was performed by the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra of Frankfurt at a Berlin Bundestag benefit entitled “Classic for Peace”

The composer’s other works have been performed throughout the world, including the Kennedy Center in D.C., the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Cite des Arts in Paris, in New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna, Milan.

In 2015 Gurvitch was nominated for the Hamburg Music Award as “Musician of the Year”

2016 – Composer & Pianist in Residence by Stella Adler Studio of Acting (NYC).

One of the largest independent classical American labels “Centaur Records” will be releasing a new solo piano CD of Leon Gurvitch in 2017.

2017 – Debut at Carnegie HallNew York.

Works by Leon Gurvitch are published by Boosey & Hawkes.

Sara Duchovnay- Soprano

The granddaughter of Polish Holocaust survivors Benim and Bluma Urbas, Berlin-based Jewish American soprano Sara Duchovnay is honored to add her voice and her soul to Görlitz’s Jewish Remembrance Week.The San Francisco Examiner hails American soprano Sara Duchovnay as “clarion voiced” and OperaWire describes her as “dynamic and expressive”, further adding that she “sang with warmth and luster” and “moved with elan, thus matching her vocal vibrancy”. Of her 2019 role debut as Nedda in Pagliacci, the Roanoke Times praised her “nuanced portrait of an unhappy woman” and “her high notes [which] rang out with ease at the swelling climaxes in both her first act aria and in her love duet with Silvio.” Other recent performances include the role of Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Delaware, and Die erste Dienerin in Die ägyptische Helena with Odyssey Opera.


Favorite roles currently in Sara’s repertoire include Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Alcina (Alcina), and Nedda (Pagliacci), as well as Musetta (La bohème), Susannah (Susannah), and Arabella (Arabella). Sara feels a strong connection to these characters and feels compelled to tell the stories of these complex women in an authentic way that honors their struggles and helps the audience process their own lives and the world around them. Early in her career, notable credits included Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Opera Santa Barbara; Nanetta in Falstaff and Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire with Opera San Jose; Jemmy in Guillaume Tell and Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Southern Illinois Music Festival; and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with Pacific Opera Project. While these roles ceased to fit her voice as she came into herself as a woman and performer, they provided valuable experience that continues to inform her performances today. Through these roles, Sara learned active stagecraft, character work, comedic timing, and how to work with her colleagues as part of a cohesive ensemble.


A sought after interpreter of contemporary opera, Sara originated the role of Dorothea in Allen Shearer and Claudia Stevens’ opera Middlemarch in Spring with Composers Inc., and also reprised the role of Dorothea with Charlottesville Opera. Shearer and Stevens once again called upon Sara to originate the role of Helen in the world premiere of their opera, Howard’s End, America in 2019 with Earplay Ensemble. Sara has also performed the roles of Soprano 1 in Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg’s Hydrogen Jukebox with West Edge Opera, Lauretta in Michael Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost with Opera Delaware and Baltimore Concert Opera, and Della in David Conte’s Gift of the Magi with Hidden Valley Opera Ensemble.


Garnering attention for her activism as well, Sara is an ambassador and educational facilitator with One Love Foundation, a nonprofit that teaches young adults about healthy vs. unhealthy relationship behaviors in an effort to end relationship abuse. While singing the role of Nedda, she started an educational initiative to combine this work with opera outreach. She worked closely with the One Love Foundation to tailor the curriculum, and held outreach workshops at local high schools leading up to the production. She looks forward to continuing this important work as she continues to portray characters who are victims of partner violence and relationship abuse.


Sara feels fortunate to lead a very happy life filled with many passions! In 2018, she founded Songbird Sara Jewelry, a jewelry company specializing in vintage and antique diamonds and other fine gems. While traveling for performances and traveling alongside her husband (tenor, Clay Hilley), she is able to source the most beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces for her clients from all over the world. Sara loves travel and adventure, and from 2017-2021, she and Clay lived in a large 5th wheel camper and dragged their home with them to contracts all over the US. During that time, they crossed the United States three complete times! They love animals, and when the pandemic limited their usual travel, they worked with an animal shelter in Georgia and fostered 7 different Pitbulls in their camper. Sara and Clay now happily reside in Berlin, Germany.


Sara holds a Bachelor of Music from the Hartt School of Music and a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She is a students of renowned soprano, Adina Nitescu.