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Cambodia’s recent history is haunted by violence and genocide; targeting intellectuals and artists during the late 1970s, the Khmer Rouge regime decimated the arts and created a climate of fear and oppression that still reverberates today. Emerging from the turmoil are three generations of Cambodian artists who are attempting to revive the country’s music and cinema. These events were curated by Scripps Profs. Nathalie Rachlin and Anne Harley.

Photo image of Bosba Panh



Tuesday, March 20, 4:15-6:15pm  

Bosba Panh Workshop

Boone Recital Hall, Garrison Theater

241 E. 10th Street, Claremont

Claremont University Consortium students of voice sing songs : “Father Mine”  (2018). Bosba Panh will coach and comment on interpretation.





Wednesday, March 21, 9:35-10:50AM

Presentation on Traditional Cambodian Music in History and in Present-Day Cambodia

Clark Humanities Museum, Scripps College, 1030 Columbia Avenue, Claremont

Presentation by Keo Sophy and Chinary Ung, visiting O’Brien Professors in collaboration with Professor Candida Jaquez and her ethnomusicology students.

Photo image of Keo Sophy




Keo Sophy







Chinary Ung


Wednesday, March 21, 4:15pm-5:45pm

Music and the Fabric of Post-Genocide Society in Cambodia: Past, Present, and Future

Vita Nova Hall, 1030 Columbia Avenue, Claremont

The panelists will address the creation and sustaining of musical arts in present-day Cambodia, with our three guests’ perspectives on how the arts functions to sustain civic values in societies that have suffered deep trauma, such as the Cambodian genocide. The three guests represent three generations of composers about 25 years apart (75, ~50, ~24 years old) with Cambodian roots.

Saturday, March 24

Film Screening

The Sea Wall (2008) Dir. Rithy Panh,  10 am

Balch Auditorium, 1030 Columbia Avenue, Claremont

A troubled mother’s spirit crumbles when her adult children strike out for independence. Feeling abandoned she contemplates taking drastic action. The film, starring Isabelle Huppert and Gaspard Ulliel, was based on a novel by Marguerite Duras.

Film Screening

Duch:  Master of the Forges of Hell (2012), Dir. Rithy Panh, 2 pm

Balch Auditorium, 1030 Columbia Avenue, Claremont

Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime caused the death of some 1.8 million people, representing one-quarter of the population of Cambodia. Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, was in charge at M13, a Khmer Rouge-controlled prison, for four years before being appointed by the Angkar (“the Organisation”, a faceless and omnipresent entity which reigned unopposed over the destiny of an entire people) to the S21 centre in Phnom Penh. As party secretary, he commanded from 1975 to 1979 the Khmer Rouge killing machine in which at least 12,280 people perished, according to the remaining archives. But how many others disappeared, “crushed and reduced to dust”, with no trace of them ever being found? In 2009, Duch became the first leader of the Khmer Rouge organisation to be brought before an international criminal justice court. Rithy Panh records his unadorned words, without any trimmings, in the isolation of a face-to-face encounter. At the same time, he sets it into perspective with archive pictures and eye-witness accounts of survivors. As the narrative unfolds, the infernal machine of a system of destruction of humanity implacably emerges, through a manic description of the minutiae of its mechanisms. (Description courtesy of IMDb).

Concert and Screening

The Missing Pictures and Sounds of Memory: World Premiere Concert, Conversation, and Screening

7:30 pm

Garrison Theater, 241 E. 10th Street, Claremont

The evening will begin with the world premiere of a new musical work by Cambodian-American composer, Chinary Ung, co-commissioned by Scripps College, Chapman University, Voices of the Pearl, and sponsored by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Performing The rigatha Inside Aura will be Stacey Fraser and Anne Harley sopranos/percussion, Susan Ung, viola/voice, Brian Walsh, clarinets/voice, and Nick Terry,  percussion/voice.

Directly following the premiere, Scripps professors Harley and Rachlin will moderate a conversation from the stage with composers Ung, Sophy, and Panh on arts in Cambodian society. The evening will close with a screening of The Missing Picture by acclaimed Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh (who recently produced Angelina Jolie’s film on the Cambodian genocide).

This program is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Scripps College’s Dean of Faculty’s Office and the O’Brien Distinguished Visiting Professorship Fellowship, the Laspa Center for Leadership, Public Events, and Scripps Departments of French and Music; Pomona Public Events; Claremont McKenna College French Department; Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity; Chapman University; the Pacific Basin Institute; Mgrublian Center for Human Rights; EnviroLab Asia and the Henry Luce Foundation; the Asian Cultural Council.