May 21 and 22, the Stanford Symphony Orchestra presents a program of late romantic music by two Jewish composers: Gustav Mahler and Ernest Bloch. While both wrote music for spectacular orchestral forces with complex colors and textures, Mahler and Bloch chose divergent paths to express Jewish identity in art and life. Mahler, an assimilated artist living in Vienna, eventually converted to Catholicism to secure his conducting post with the State Opera, while Bloch, a staunch Zionist, composed music in the service of the Jewish nation. From Klezmer interjections in Mahler’s Symphony no. 1 in D major, “Titan” to the explicit representation of cantor-sung prayer in Bloch’s Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra, this program brings together varied and evocative Jewish voices at the turn of the century.
Anna Wittstruck, the interim music director and conductor of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia, on the weekend performances:
“This weekend is the crowning jewel: it’s the culmination of a year’s worth of musical training and effort by our undergraduate and graduate students and a moment when our two orchestras – Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia – have come together to play Mahler’s First Symphony. This is the first time we’ve tried this, and it’s working really well. We’ll have over 100 students on stage. We’ve brought in coaches like the concertmaster and principal violist of the San Francisco Symphony to lend their professional insight and help our students approach the difficult task of mastering such nuanced and complex music. The program itself is uniquely and academically structured as a juxtaposition of two Jewish composers from the turn of the century; from their contrasting sound worlds the concert raises interesting questions about expressions of Jewish identity today. We are also live streaming the Sunday afternoon concert for the first time since’s Bing’s inaugural season in an effort to reach out to far-flung friends and family members.”
WHEN: Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 22 at 2:30 pm
WHERE: Bing Concert Hall
TICKET: $10-$20 | Free for Stanford students with SUID
NOTE: Ticket required for free Stanford student admission; free tickets can be picked up at concert hall beginning one hour prior to curtain. Any remaining tickets not picked up by 15 minutes before show time may be reallocated.