On the 53d anniversary of the My Lai Massacre
"The Whistleblower of My Lai" Film
Tuesday, March 16, 2 p.m. ET
The My Lai massacre in 1968 was not the only atrocity committed by US or other military forces, but it is the most known. Then and now little attention is paid to responsibility for an indisputable war crime. Nor is recognition given to heroic life-saving intervention by Hugh Thompson and his helicopter crew, or how they were mistreated afterwards by the US military and government.
This opera commissioned and performed by the Kronos Quartet is a singularly evocative effort to grapple with the unresolved political and moral challenges of My Lai. Its creation and performance were masterfully portrayed in The Whistleblower of My Lai by Connie Field.
The film follows the Kronos Quartet’s production of Jonathan Berger and Harriet Chessman’s opera My Lai, which takes at its heart the actions and life of the whistleblower who revealed the 1968 massacre by U.S. troops in Vietnam, Hugh Thompson.
- Filmmaker Connie Field
- Composer Jonathan Berger
- Kronos Quartet”s David Harrington
- Music Performer Van-Anh Vo
- Actor and singer Rinde Eckert
- Vietnam helicopter pilot Lawrence Wilkerson
- Professor / author Howard Jones
- Moderator John McAuliff
Composer Jonathan Berger’s “dissonant but supple” (New York Times) compositions integrate science and human experience. Referred to as “lush and inviting” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Berger’s music ranges from vocal, orchestral, and chamber works to electroacoustic constructions. His creations include The War Reporter (chamber opera for fivesingers, chamber orchestra, and digital audio. Commissioned by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; Theotokia (chamber opera for fivesingers, chamber orchestra, and digital audio.). Commissioned by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; and Yaqira (flute, clarinet, violin, ‘cello, piano)Commissioned by Plural Ensemble (Madrid) and Earplay (San Francisco) http://jonathanberger.net/bio/
Kronos Quartet's David Harrington: Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world's most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipients of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize, two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians. The group’s numerous awards also include a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and "Musicians of the Year" (2003) from Musical America. http://kronosquartet.org/about
Music Performer Van-Anh Vo is a virtuoso of unique Vietnamese instruments who has composed Emmy award winning documentary soundtracks. Her music is riveting, her stage presence theatrical and her contribution to Vietnamese musical culture is outstanding.http://vananhvo.com/
Actor and singer Rinde Eckert is a 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and the Obie Award-winning creator of And God Created Great Whales, is renowned as a writer, composer, director and performer whose Opera / New Music Theatre productions have toured extensively. http://rindeeckert.com/
For the last fifteen years, Lawrence Wilkerson was the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. In December 2020 he retired from that position. Before that he was chief of staff to Colin Powell at the U.S. Department of State. He served 31 years in the US Army. His final military assignments were Special Assistant to then-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell and, later, Deputy Director and Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia.
From Wikipedia: "Wilkerson arrived in Vietnam as an Army officer piloting an OH-6A Cayuse observation helicopter and logged about 1100 combat hours over a year. He flew low and slow through South Vietnam, and was involved in one incident in which he says he prevented a war crime by purposely placing his helicopter between a position that was full of civilians, and another helicopter that wanted to launch an attack on the position."