Kol Nidrei tribute to chamber music champion

SIX string quartets, written in memory of Pamela Majaro, have been released on CD.

Kol Nidrei: Elegy for Pamela (Nimbus Alliance) features new works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Mika Haasler, David Knotts, Cecilia McDowall, Roxanna Panufnik and Freya Waley-Cohen.

The CD also includes William Zinn’s Kol Nidrei Memorial and Beethoven’s String Quartet in Bb, Op 130 — Cavatina.

“Pamela loved William Zinn’s CD on Jewish themes that includes the evocative rendition of the Kol Nidrei prayer,” her husband Simon said.

He added that choosing the six contemporary composers he “simulated in my own mind a ‘virtual communication’ process with Pamela.

“I tried to read her thoughts in absentia and I believe that I got it right.”

Simon continued: “The other decision I reached very quickly was that the best ensemble to perform the whole programme was the Wihan Quartet from Prague.

“Pamela looked after them with great affection ever since they won the first prize as well as the audience prize of the London International String competition in 1991.

“The Wihan Quartet always referred to her as ‘our English mother’.”

Pamela, who died in 2016 at the age of 83, founded the Cavatina Chamber Music Trust in 1998 with her husband, to introduce chamber music to a young audience.

She was born in Llanelli, south Wales, to Beatrice (nee Davies) and Harry Cohen, the president of the local Jewish community.

Pamela, an accomplished pianist, met Simon while studying law at University College London and they married in 1954.

The couple had two daughters, Nadine and Nicola, the latter of whom was born with cystic fibrosis and died in 1969.

A concert was held at London’s Wigmore Hall on Wednesday to launch the CD.

The proceeds of the concert and CD will go towards Cavatina Chamber Music Trust.

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