Ernest Bloch Society Re-launched
An International Society celebrating Ernest Bloch was launched in London in the summer of 2008 to herald the 50th anniversary in 2009 of the composer’s death. This Society revives the original one set up in London and New York in 1937 with Albert Einstein as Honorary President.
Ernest Bloch was so admired in his heyday that many considered him the fourth ‘B’ after Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. He was one of the most original composers of the 20th century whose music, whilst intellectually challenging, was accessible to a wide audience.
The new society was launched with Sir Charles Mackerras as Honorary President. The officers include conductors, composers, musicians and the heads of music establishments the world over.
An international Festival of Bloch’s music took place in 2009. This society continues its efforts by producing a periodic newsletter. Performances in the UK were coordinated by the Jewish Music Institute SOAS University of London, Joint Presidents Lady Solti and Leopold de Rothschild CBE. Musical organisations large and small and performers worldwide, including opera companies, orchestras, choirs, ensembles, soloists included Bloch’s music in their programmes for 2009 – and beyond.
In London two chamber concerts took place in the prestigious Wigmore Hall Series. On 20 April internationally acclaimed Australian pianist Piers Lane will perform Bloch’s Piano Quintet No. 1 with the award winning Goldner Quartet in a programme including Mahler and Beethoven, and on 15 July, the actual anniversary of his death in 1959, Jack Liebeck performs the amazing violin sonata in a violin and piano recital that also has music by Debussy and Cesar Franck). A performance of Bloch’s only opera Macbeth will be mounted in March at the Bloomsbury Theatre by University College London Opera.
This Festival was organised with partner Bloch Societies in China, Israel, Japan and Switzerland, and with the Ernest Bloch Legacy Project, Agate Beach, Oregon. .
To learn more about submissions in the IEBS Newsletter contact editor, Robert Sargant <firstname.lastname@example.org>. To learn more about IEBS membership contact J. Audrey Ellison <email@example.com>
To learn more about the major sponsor of events, The Jewish Music Institute go to <www.jmi.org.uk>.
Notes to editors:
The Composer Ernest Bloch (24 July 1880 Geneva Switzerland – 15 July 1959 Portland Oregon, USA )
Ernest Bloch was so admired in his heyday that many considered him the fourth ‘B’ after Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. He was one of the most original composers of the 20th century whose music, whilst intellectually challenging, was accessible to a wide audience. His works were regularly performed from the 1920s to the 1950s, particularly in the USA, UK and Italy. Now, as we approach the 50th Anniversary of his death, it is time to rejoice in the wide range of his oeuvre and hear again the well known and lesser-known orchestral, choral, chamber, instrumental, and vocal works. There will also be an exploration of his hitherto unpublished music. Bloch has often been referred to as a ‘Jewish composer’ because of the substantial number of his works that carry Jewish titles. Yet his repertoire incorporates a variety of influences such as Renaissance, neo-Classical, neo-Romantic styles, Swiss, Native American, Chinese folk idioms, and Gregorian Chant. Although he never founded a ‘school’ of composition, some of the most prominent American composers of the 20th century were his students. He visited Britain in the 1930s, where concerts of his chamber music were presented. In 1949 his Concerto Symphonique for piano and orchestra was premiered at the Edinburgh Festival. In the same year he conducted a major concert at the Royal Albert Hall, including Schelomo with cellist Zara Nelsova and The Sacred Service with baritone Aron Rothmüller and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Following the founding of the American Ernest Bloch Society, an Ernest Bloch Society was founded in London in 1937 with Albert Einstein, Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Arthur Bliss, Sir Arnold Bax, and Sir John Barbirolli, among others, as honorary officers. As well as his many other attributes, Bloch was a prolific letter writer, an accomplished photographer, a collector and polisher of agates and an expert on mushrooms.