Music graduate Barak Ben-Nathan honoured with memorial concert

The legacy of York music graduate Barak Ben-Nathan was celebrated on Nov. 12 at a moving memorial concert organized by York University’s Creative Arts Student Association (CASA). Ben-Nathan died of testicular cancer on June 24, just weeks after graduating from York.

Right: Barak Ben-Nathan

Ben-Nathan leaves behind a legacy of talent, spirit, courage, compassion and an abundance of love. Love for his girlfriend Samantha, his family, his friends in Canada, South Africa and Israel, and most of all, love for any and all music. His musical gifts and passion were great and he taught himself to play every instrument he could get his hands on. At York, he studied digital media, composition, percussion and was a member of several choirs.

When Ben-Nathan was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, the tumors had already begun to spread. With plans to make a full recovery, he continued to attend his classes and remained a student ambassador for the Faculty of Fine Arts. His death shocked his fellow classmates.

The memorial concert in the Accolade East Recital Hall featured CASA and members of the Faculty of Fine Arts who played a musical tribute to Ben-Nathan. Concert proceeds went to Alli’s Journey, a non-profit organization which raises funds for a network of support groups that provide critical care, counselling and assistance to cancer patients between the ages of 18-35.

The musicians who performed at the tribute, many of whom knew Ben-Nathan personally, included:

  • York University Chamber Choir, directed by York music professor Lisette Canton;
  • York music professor and acclaimed mrdangam performer Trichy Sankaran;
  • CHRY 105.5FM radio personality and piano improviser Azure “Sky Blue” Janda;
  • Jazz vocalist Ori Dagan;
  • Award-winning York music alumna Felicity Williams;
  • Award-winning pianist & vocalist Vania Chan;
  • Rock group Kiesel and Barney;
  • Pop band Groove Scandal;
  • Bluegrass fiddler James McKie.

Funds for Alli’s Journey will also be raised through an upcoming silent auction, featuring artwork by York University visual arts students and alumni. Donations in memory of Ben-Nathan can be forwarded to CASA. For more information, visit the CASA office in Room 164, Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts (in the lobby), e-mail or ext. 20205.