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Herberger College celebrates Jewish music heritage through concerts, films

April 02, 2007

The ASU Herberger College School of Music, the ASU Jewish Studies Program and the Bureau of Jewish Education present a series of concerts, recitals, films, an exhibition and lectures, titled “Ways of Happiness, Paths of Peace: Bernstein, Bloch and Music of the Jewish Tradition,” March 31-April 26 at various Valley locations, including ASU's Tempe campus.

“This series provides an exceptional opportunity to explore one of the great musical traditions,” says David Schildkret, chair of the ASU Choral program. “We focus on two extraordinary composers whose works should be better known. Ernest Bloch's ‘Sacred Service' has never been done in the Valley, and Leonard Bernstein's legacy as a composer is only now being recognized for its tremendous importance to American music.”

The series presents the music of Bloch and Bernstein in the context of the long history of Jewish music. The series culminates April 26 at ASU with performances of Leonard Bernstein's first major work, “Jeremiah Symphony,” and Bloch's monumental “Sacred Service.” All events in the series, with the exception of the Lyric Opera Theatre performances of “Candide,” are free and open to the public. Visit the Web site for a complete schedule of events.

Events to be held on the Tempe campus include:

• “Sing Joyfully: Music of the Jewish Tradition,” 7:30 p.m., March 31, Katzin Concert Hall. The program explores music inspired by Jewish worship and daily life from the Renaissance to the present. Featured performances include the premiere of “Yiddish Choruses” by Jody Rockmaker, ASU associate professor of composition. The concert will be performed by the ASU Chamber Singers, as well as ASU faculty members Judy May (mezzo-soprano), Robert Barefield (baritone), Thomas Landschoot (cello) and Robert Hamilton (piano). Schildkret, chair of the ASU Choral program, will be the conductor.

• Film showing of “Bernstein: Reaching for the Note,” 7:30 p.m., April 9, Recital Hall. Originally aired on PBS's “American Masters” series, this film – directed by Susan Lacy – is an in-depth look at the life and career one of the great figures of 20th century music. Schildkret, chair of the ASU Choral program, will present the film and answer questions.

• “Bernstein and Bloch: Contexts and Conversations” symposium, 7:30 p.m., April 19, Recital Hall. Topics will include “Liturgy in the Bloch Sacred Service,” presented by Barton Lee, ASU Hillel; “Bernstein and Lamentation,” by Marvin A. Sweeney, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University ; and “Ernest Bloch and Leonard Bernstein: Composers of Jewish Identity,” by David Schiller, the University of Georgia . Joel Gereboff, chair of the ASU Religious Studies program, will moderate the symposium, and Schildkret, chair of the ASU Choral program, will respond.

• ASU Lyric Opera Theatre presents Bernstein's “Candide” (Chelsea version), 7:30 p.m., April 20, 21, 25 and 28, and 2 p.m., April 22 and 29, Evelyn Smith Music Theatre. Graham Whitehead will be the guest director, and William Reber, ASU Lyric Opera Theatre, will be the artistic director and conductor. Tickets for this performance range in price from $7 to $22 and can be obtained by visiting the Web site ( or contacting the Herberger College box office at (480) 965-6447.

• Open dress rehearsal, 7:30 p.m., April 24, ASU Gammage. Concert-goers are invited for a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations for the final series concert. Schildkret, chair of the ASU Choral program, will answer questions following the rehearsal.

• “From Sorrow to Happiness: Bernstein's ‘Jeremiah Symphony' and Bloch's ‘Avodath Hakodesh' (Sacred Service),” 7:30 p.m., April 26, ASU Gammage. A pre-concert talk will take place at 6:45 p.m. in the Gammage lobby.

• “Teach Them Diligently to Your Children: Jewish Ritual and Music” exhibition, March 20-June 20, ASU School of Music Library. The exhibit will include prayer books, ritual objects and memorabilia from ASU libraries and private collections.