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Ernest Bloch, composer

Patrons include Bloch's grandson,
Ernest Bloch II and musical personalities from the UK, Europe, Israel and the USA.
Stephen Cleobury, Denny Dayviss
Philippe Dinkel, Piers Lane
Sir Charles Mackerras CBE
Itzhak Perlman, Gerard Schwarz
Jacques Tchamkerten
Ursula Vaughan Williams †
David Whelton, Marguerite Wolff OBE

Supported by the Nordev Trust


Musical organisations large and small, including opera companies, orchestras, choirs, ensembles, soloists and venues worldwide are invited to include Bloch's music in their programmes for 2009 - and beyond. The Festival of performances and workshops is being coordinated by the Jewish Music Institute SOAS University of London, Joint Presidents Lady Solti and Leopold de Rothschild CBE, and by the Ernest Bloch Legacy Project, Agate Beach, Oregon, Executive Director Dr Frank Geltner.
To participate in this Festival please contact festival@ernestbloch.org and see details on www.ernestbloch.org.

International Organising Committee Geraldine Auerbach MBE, Simon Campion, Betty Sagon Collick, Dr Ruth Davis, Dr Alexander Knapp, Dr Malcolm Miller, Dr Ruth Rosenfelder, David Solomon, Rabbi Dr Norman Solomon (UK); Ernest Bloch II, Dr Frank Geltner (USA); Alain Hirsch. Oliver Margulies (Switzerland); Professor Dalia Atlas, Professor Jehoash Hirshberg (Israel); Ms Li Jin (China); Mr Akinori Itoh (Japan). Administrator, J Audrey Ellison

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 There will also be an exploration of his hitherto unpublished music.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.

Illustrations: Above right: Ernest Bloch, drawing from life by Milein Cosman, Edinburgh 1949. Above left: Ernest Bloch Legacy logo from a woodcut print by Lucienne Bloch Dimitroff based on a photograph by Walt Dyke

Click here to go to the International Ernest Bloch Society website.

last modified: October 5, 2009


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