November 8th-14th: Fiftieth Anniversary Season and more

November 8, 2021

1971: Warren Benson premiere in the Fiftieth Anniversary Season

Professor Warren Benson and members of the Eastman Quartet with guests and colleagues at the reception hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hendl at Hutchison House following the concert.

►Photos by Louis Ouzer: R1303-2A, R1303-13A, R1303-20A, R1304-15, R1304-16, R1304-21, R1304-26

 

Professor Warren Benson and the members of the Eastman Quartet acknowledge applause on-stage in Kilbourn Hall following the performance of Capriccio.

►Photos by Louis Ouzer: R1304-6, R1304-8, R1304-9, R1304-6, R1304-10, R1304-11, R1304-12, R1304-14

Fifty years ago this week, on November 9, 1971, an important faculty premiere took place in Kilbourn Hall when members of the Eastman Quartet gave the premiere performance of Warren Benson’s Capriccio for violin, viola, violoncello and piano.  Capriccio was one of 23 new compositions that the University of Rochester had commissioned to celebrate the Eastman School’s fiftieth anniversary.

Mr. Benson (1924-2005) had been appointed to the Eastman faculty in 1967 and would serve until his retirement in 1993, at which time he was appointed Professor Emeritus.

Capriccio was later published by Carl Fischer in the Carl Fischer Facsimile Edition series. It has been recorded commercially.

Note that the Eastman Quartet that was active at this time was a piano quartet, distinct from the Eastman String Quartet that had been active in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Page one of the full score of Warren Benson’s Capriccio (1971).

Page one of the full score of Warren Benson’s Capriccio (1971).

1971: Samuel Adler premiere in the Fiftieth Anniversary Season

On November 12, 1971, another important faculty premiere took place when the Eastman Philharmonia and organist David Craighead gave the premiere performance of Samuel Adler’s Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, all under the baton of Walter Hendl.  Mr. Adler’s Concerto was one of 23 new works that the University of Rochester had commissioned by way of celebrating the Eastman School’s fiftieth anniversary. The performance was given at Lake Avenue Baptist Church.

Mr. Adler (b. 1928) had been appointed to the Eastman faculty in 1966 and would serve until his retirement in 1994, at which time he was appointed Professor Emeritus. He continues to be professionally active and is a beloved member of the extended Eastman School community.  His memoirs, Building Bridges with Music: Stories from a Composer’s Life, were published by Pendragon Press (2017) in Pendragon’s American Music and Musicians series.

Mr. Craighead (1924-2012) served on the Eastman faculty from 1955 until his retirement in 1992.  Among the memorials in his memory has been the naming of the Craighead-Saunders Organ in Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Rochester. This renowned instrument is a a copy of an historic instrument built in 1776 by Adam Gottlob Casparini (1715-1788) for the Holy Ghost Church in Vilnius, Lithuania.

With the members of the Eastman Philharmonia in place, conductor Walter Hendl, organist David Craighead, and composer Samuel Adler acknowledge the applause after the performance of the Concerto for Organ and Orchestra.

►Photos by Louis Ouzer: R1307-7A, R1307-11A, R1307-17A, R1307-18A

A close-up of Professor David Craighead at the organ console during a rehearsal in Lake Avenue Baptist Church.
A close-up of Professor David Craighead at the organ console during a rehearsal in Lake Avenue Baptist Church.

During a rehearsal in Lake Avenue Baptist Church, Eastman School composers Samuel Adler, Wayne Barlow, and Joseph Schwantner peruse the score of the Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, joined (at right) by local music critic Ted Price.

►Photos by Louis Ouzer: R1308-28, R1308-30, R1308-31, R1308-32

Recording personnel are in place to record the Eastman Philharmonia concert at Lake Avenue Baptist Church. Numerous Eastman School performances took place in off-site venues during the year 1971 when the Eastman Theater was undergoing renovations, and suitable arrangements were often made to support off-site audio capture.

►Photos by Louis Ouzer: R1306-7, R1306-9

 

1979: Eastman Philharmonia on tour

Forty-two years ago this week, on November 7th through 11th, 1979, the Eastman Philharmonia made a whirlwind tour of five cities. The tour was preceded by a concert in the Eastman Theater on November 5th which had introduced the repertory to be performed out of town. The tour then commenced on November 7th with concerts over five days in Ithaca, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New Haven, and then ending in New York City, where the tour concluded with a concert in Alice Tully Hall. The repertory selected for the tour included Joseph Schwantner’s Aftertones of Infinity, for which had Professor Schwantner had recently won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Music, and Lutoslawski’s Livre pour Orchestre. Following the tour, the orchestra recorded both of these works for Mercury Golden imports.  The three press reviews displayed here leave no doubt that the Eastman Philharmonia performed superbly and was well received.

These photographs by Louis Ouzer, who accompanied the orchestra, capture the essence of life on tour: on the bus and at the bus terminal; going in and our of hotels; members of the Philharmonia in conversation in hotel corridors and at post-concert receptions; iconic landmarks such as the White House; and, naturally, the assembled orchestra on-stage in performance.

In what may truly be seen as a sign of the time, one of the shots captures citizens demonstrating on the street in one of the itinerary cities. Several days earlier, on November 4th, the U.S. Embassy in Tehran had been overrun by Iranian militants who had taken several dozen Americans hostage. The ensuing crisis would not end until the hostages’ release in January, 1981.

 

Photos by Louis Ouzer: R2766-9A, R2766-10A, R2766-12A, R2766-28A, R2766-31A, R2766-32A., R2769-34A, R2769-36A, R2770-11A, R2770-12A, R2774-18A, R2774-21A

 

Printed Program.

1979 November 13 New York Times review
New York Times review
1979 November 10 Philadelphia Inquirer review
Philadelphia Inquirer review

Shots of Eastman Philharmonia members on the road during their five-day tour, together with the surrounding scenery.

1979 November 9 The Bulletin review
The Bulletin review

1998: Kurt Weill Festival at Eastman

Twenty-three years ago this week, on November 11th/14th, 1998,  the Eastman School mounted a special festival in celebration of the arrival at the Sibley Music Library of a distinguished collection of manuscripts of works by composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950). The Universal-Edition/Kurt Weill Archive had been placed on deposit — that is, on indefinite loan — at the Sibley Music Library in the fall of 1997 by Weill’s European publisher, Universal-Edition (Vienna).

The manuscript collection is comprised of full scores and vocal scores of Weill’s German-language stage dramas, together with scores of his instrumental works and also typescript libretto drafts for several of his stage works. Altogether, the collection constitutes a priceless trove of primary source material that has drawn numerous researchers to Eastman from across North American and from Europe.  A complete description of the collection is accessible online at the Sibley Music Library’s website.  In 2001 Universal-Edition placed a second collection on deposit at the SML, this one comprised of the extensive correspondence (1924-1938, 1946-1950) between Weill and Universal.

The Kurt Weill Festival was preceded by a master class on November 7th given by Lys Symonette (1914-2005), the German-American pianist, chorus singer, and musical stage performer who had been musical assistant to Kurt Weill on Broadway (1945-50), and later accompanist and musical advisor (1950-1981) to Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Festival proper took place on November 11th/14th and encompassed three concerts (Eastman Wind Ensemble, Eastman Philharmonia, and Eastman Virtuosi); the first Lotte Lenya Competition, marking the first of what to become an annual event; a musicological colloquium featuring both resident and visiting scholars; an extensive Sibley Music Library-based exhibit, curated by Sibley Head Librarian Mary Wallace Davidson; and, conferral of an honorary doctorate on soprano Teresa Stratas, who was one of the competition adjudicators. The presence of the internationally renowned Ms. Stratas was a highlight of the Festival, and she generously gave of her time to address members of the Eastman community in a Q&A session in Howard Hanson Hall on Friday, November 13th.

On Saturday, November 14th, the wide-ranging colloquium addressed numerous issues in Kurt Weill’s life, music and legacy. Speaking that day were Robert Thompson (Universal-Edition, Inc.), Ronald Freed (European American Music Corp.), Mary Wallace Davidson (Sibley Music Library), Kim Kowalke (University of Rochester), Michael Kater (York University), Daniel Albright (University of Rochester), Stephen Hinton (Stanford University); and, to present editorial perspectives on Weill’s music, David Farneth (Weill-Lenya Research Center), Edward Harsh (Kurt Weill Edition), Jürgen Thym (University of Rochester), bruce mcclung (University of Cincinnati), and Joel Galand (University of Rochester).

The winners’ recital in the 1998 Lotte Lenya Competition took place in Kilbourn Hall on the afternoon of Saturday, November 14th. The featured performers were:

Tami Petty, mezzo-soprano (Bob Wason, piano)

Rachel Albert, mezzo-soprano (Rose Grace, piano)

Katia Escalera, soprano (Charlene Biggs, piano)

Danielle Frink, soprano (Shu-chuan Cheng, piano)

Leah Arington, soprano (Jerry Lee, piano)

Teresa Winner, soprano (Jennifer Undercofler, piano)

Elizabeth McDonald, soprano (Sonia Kim, piano)

Rebecca Comerford, mezzo-soprano (Gianine Burgo, piano)

Lauren Pastorek, mezzo-soprano (Jennifer Undercofler, piano)

Heidi Bieber, soprano (Alexandra Nguyen, piano)

Brian Mulligan, baritone (Sharon Nomi, piano)

These vocal artists were the pioneers in what has been a cherished and high-profile annual event at the Eastman School of Music.

Throughout the Eastman School’s century there have been several festivals or “weeks” honoring specific composers.  During the eight-year tenure (1964-1972) of Director Walter Hendl, composers Igor Stravinsky, Peter Mennin, Howard Hanson, and Aram Khatchaturian were each honored with a week (e.g. Stravinsky Week) during which the given composer was in residence and Eastman forces performed that composer’s music.  In September, 2006 the Eastman School mounted a festival commemorating the friendship of composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Mieczyslaw Weinberg, with performances of music by both men. The 1998 Kurt Weill Festival was truly unique in that it marked a Sibley Music Library acquisition.

The Festival’s publicity brochure featured a photograph of Kurt Weill by Lotte Jacobi (Berlin, 1930). It was provided by courtesy of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music (New York City).
The Festival’s publicity brochure featured a photograph of Kurt Weill by Lotte Jacobi (Berlin, 1930). It was provided by courtesy of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music (New York City).

The Eastman Wind Ensemble concert on November 11th included a performance of the rarely heard Violin Concerto featuring faculty artist Charles Castleman as soloist. A vocal ensemble of six Eastman students was featured in the performance of Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel with texts by Bertolt Brecht.

Photos by Louis Ouzer: R4336-14, R4336-18, R4336-21, R4337-6., R4337-11, R4337-25, R4337-27, R4337-30

Internationally renowned operatic artist Teresa Stratas gestures during her visit with the Eastman School community in Howard Hanson Hall. t.

Photos by Louis Ouzer: R4338-4., R4338-7, R4338-8, R4337-6., R4338-9, R4338-12

Veronica Siebert
Raffi Wright
Gail Lowther

Members of the Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections team at the Sibley Music Library are seen in the RTWSC reading room interacting with manuscripts from the  Universal-Edition/Kurt Weill Archive. In the photos are senior Veronica Siebert, ‘22E and senior Raffi Wright, ‘22E, members of the team in 2021-22, and Ph.D. candidate and SML staff member Gail Lowther, a member of the RTWSC team since 2012.

The Weekly Dozen

November 14, 1935

November 12, 1940     

1940 November 12 Lutenist Suzanne Bloch

November 10 and 11, 1947

1947 November 10 and 11 Opera Showcase

November 8, 1954   

November 9, 1954  

November 11, 1960

November 8, 1968 

November 13, 1972  

November 9, 1976

November 10, 1981  

November 12, 1991

November 11, 1998

January 17th-23rd: Eastman Philharmonia, Janet Baker, Ron Carter & more

Sixty years ago this week, the members of the Eastman Philharmonia were more than halfway through their landmark tour of Europe, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union

December 20th-26th: Eastman Philharmonia in Cyprus

Sixty years ago this week, the members of the Eastman Philharmonia were continuing their landmark tour of Europe and the Middle East.

December 13th-19th: Eastman Philharmonia, Die Schweigsame Frau & more

On December 17 and 18, 1970,   EOT scored yet another milestone with a production of Richard Strauss’ seldom performed Die Schweigsame Frau.

December 6th-12th: Eastman Philharmonia on tour & more

On December 6th, Eastman Philharmonia travelled to Rennes, principal city of Brittany and a sister city of Rochester, New York