Concert: Yale Strom’s “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire” Cantata
November 20 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Yale Strom composed the cantata “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire” in 2011 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragic fire of March 25, 1911. The Triangle Waist Company factory occupied the top three floors of the ten-story Asch Building on the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place in Greenwich Village. The factory normally employed about five hundred workers, mostly young Italian and Jewish immigrant women and girls aged fourteen to twenty-three, who worked nine hours a day on weekdays plus seven hours on Saturdays, earning for their 52 hours of work between $7 and $12 a week.
The cantata, which includes English, Yiddish, and Italian poetry, will take the listener from a normal workday, to when the fire began, to after the tragedy when 146 garment workers lost their lives. One hundred twenty-three women and girls and twenty-three men died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping from the building’s windows.
After the four-movement cantata, the quintet will perform klezmer and Italian folk melodies that would have been heard on the streets of New York City before the First World War.