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DSC_0020-590x392By Donna Sevilla

The Keep Toronto Reading Festival has returned with a new take on its latest community read, “The Cellist of Sarajevo”.

Author Steve Galloway wrote the novel about a cellist who plays Albinoni’s Adagio for 22 straight days to commemorate 22 victims of an explosion during the civil war in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s cellists have been performing the piece at 22 “iconic and unexpected locations” over 22 days to promote the festival.

Bringing literature to life

One of the libraries chosen was Taylor Memorial, at Kingston Rd. and Warden Ave., where patrons were treated to a performance recently by TSO cellist, Marie Gélinas.

“It’s good for us to come into the community, to have a good relationship with literature and to have a relationship with people who read the books,” said Gélinas.

Cellist at Taylor Memorial LibraryTaylor Memorial Branch Head Renuka Jeyanayagam said the performance brought the book to life.

“This is a different aspect to bringing awareness to literary works; it brings excitement to bring in many avenues to promote a book,” said Jeyanayagam.

18th-century Venetian composer, Tomaso Albinoni, is widely credited as the composer of the piece.

However, 20th century composer Remo Giazotto found a fragment of the original manuscript in the rubble of a Dresden museum bombed during WWII and spent years reconstructing it into a piece that was meant for a string orchestra.

Albinoni’s Adagio was then used as a narrative device in the book to not only remember the lost, but also to protest against the Bosnian civil war in the 1990s.

Library hopes themes resonate

Toronto Public Library spokesperson Tita Zierer said the book was chosen by the library committee with hopes that it would resonate with people.

“There’s a number of themes: art through bad times, art coming out of war, human compassion – that we thought would just resonate with city residents,” said Zierer.

She said she relates to it because her father told her stories of his time growing up during the WWII, and that people made necessary sacrifices for others to survive.

Book clubs across the GTA will have the opportunity to read the novel during the month of April.

This is an article that Donna Sevilla has contributed to the Birch Cliff News. To see the original article, click the following link: Cellist at Taylor Library.

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