A concert of the music of Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch, featuring students from the Instrumental Repertoire class, SSU Symphony Orchestra, Young People's Chamber Orchestra and Sonoma State Faculty.
Program to include his Second Concerto Grooso, Prayer from Jewish Life, Hebraic Suite and Suite Modale.
Ernest Bloch was one of the most original composers of the 20th century. His music was regularly performed during his lifetime, particularly in the USA, the UK and Italy. He was so admired in his heyday that many considered him the fourth ‘B’ after Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. He won many prestigious composition prizes including for his Viola Suite of 1919 and in 1928 for his composition ‘America, an Epic Rhapsody’. His music was beloved by the public and inspirational for a younger and more academically oriented generation.
He wrote an enormous range of vocal, instrumental and orchestral and choral works – music of the most thundering majesty to the most delicate miniatures.
His works reveal a wide variety of influences from neo-classical and neo-romantic styles to French and Swiss, Chinese, American and Native American folk traditions and as well as Gregorian Chant. He wrote a number of his works that carry Jewish titles such as the violin and piano suite Baal-Shem, the Israel Symphony, and Schelomo, a tone poem that is one of the world’s great cello concertos. He was able to draw on his rich Jewish background to create profound soundscapes.
Bloch’s pioneering teaching positions in the USA started in 1917 when he was appointed the first composition teacher at Mannes School of Music, a post he held for three years. In December 1920 he was selected as the first Musical Director of the newly formed Cleveland Institute of Music. Following this he was appointed Director of the newly formed San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1925, a post he held until 1930. His proudest accomplishment was the influence he had on his admirers and students including composers Herbert Elwell, Randall Thompson, Roger Sessions, George Antheil and Roy Harris.
As well as a composer and teacher, Bloch was an accomplished conductor, violinist, pianist and philosopher. He was also a prolific letter writer, a gifted photographer, a painter, a collector and polisher of agates, an expert on mushrooms and a communicator with an extraordinary love of, and concern for nature.
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