photo: Lauren Kress

Laurence Sherr is recognized for his uniquely interconnected work on music related to the Holocaust, uniting his activities as composer of remembrance music, researcher, lecturer, producer of remembrance events, author, and educator. He has presented this work in the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, England, Norway, San Marino, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and across the United States. Containing “sacred beauty and abundant lyricism,” and “moments that convey energy, lyricism, drama, and bravado” (EarRelevant), Sherr’s album – FUGITIVE FOOTSTEPS: REMEMBRANCE MUSIC – was awarded a Gold Medal in the Global Music Awards. He designs events that feature remembrance music enriched by stories of Holocaust-era creators and concurrent musical and historical developments. A prime example is his Music of Resistance and Survival Project, which features his cello sonata, Holocaust songs of resistance and survival woven into his sonata, his presentation about the originators of these source songs, age-appropriate student educational performances, and online pedagogical resources. The poetry of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs is highlighted in his compositions Fugitive Footsteps for baritone and chorus and Flame Language for mezzo-soprano or baritone with chamber orchestra or chamber ensemble. As an educator, he created the university global-citizenship course Music and the Holocaust. Through all this work, his purpose is to provide remembrance and healing, and to foster greater understanding, mutual respect, and tolerance.

Dr. Sherr is Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. His compositions have been performed on five continents and appear on European and American albums. His music “neatly captured moments of meditation, discovery and despair” (Prague Culture) and communicates a “fascinating coloristic world” with “an arresting array of subtle shades of light and darkness” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution). He has been awarded grants by the American Music Center, American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, Illinois Arts Council, Georgia Council for the Arts, and Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Commissions for new works have come from the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra, the new music ensemble Thamyris, the Atlanta Chamber Players, and from organizations such as the [Jimmy] Carter Center and Georgia Music Teachers Association. Soloists who have commissioned Sherr include Atlanta Symphony Orchestra flutist Paul Brittan and flutist Christina Guenther. Among his fellowship awards are those from the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Seaside Institute, Charles Ives Center for American Music, American Dance Festival, Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, and Banff Festival of the Arts. The U.S. Department of the Interior chose him to be an Artist-in-Residence at Hot Springs National Park. His compositional and pedagogical contributions are examined in several studies, including the doctoral treatise Laurence Sherr: Chamber Music for Flute. His numerous awards include top prizes in the Delius Composition Contest and the Association for the Promotion of New Music competition.

As a performer, Sherr founded and served for more than two decades as the clarinetist in the Atlanta klezmer band Oy Klezmer!.


Fugitive Footsteps

Release Date: March 10, 2023
Catalog Number: NV6492
21st Century
Vocal Music
Laurence Sherr delves deep into the spirit of resilience with FUGITIVE FOOTSTEPS: REMEMBRANCE MUSIC. Not shying away from musically pointing to suffering and despair, Sherr paints a vivid picture of persecution, trauma, and survivor's guilt but also of silent and active opposition, hope, renewal, and the eventual overcoming of adversity. Through remembrance and tribute, these compositions unapologetically aim to tell stories of Holocaust resistance and survival, not only in concept but also in their individual tonal language: at all times fully conscious of their cultural roots, vast heritage, a sacrosanct sense of belonging, and the duty of defending these treasures. But perhaps, even more, these works reveal pathways to clearer, brighter horizons.