The Amernet String Quartet, Ensemble-in-Residence at FIU, will lead the inaugural year of the FIU Jewish music series – a five-part concert series entitled “Journey Through Sound: Exploring Jewish Life Through Music.” Presented in partnership by both the FIU School of Music and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (JMOF-FIU), the collaboration will feature relevant exhibitions and a varied program of music from distinguished guest artists, members of the Florida Grand Opera (FGO), FIU alumni, and the Amernet String Quartet.
The series begins on Thursday, November 12, 2015 with a powerful evening, “In Commemoration of Kristallnacht,” the Night of Broken Glass, a massive Nazi-sponsored attack on Jews occurred on November 9-10, 1938, that resulted in death and wholescale destruction, leaving shattered glass in the streets. The Amernet Quartet will explore works for string trio by Jewish composers including Hans Gal, Hans Krasa, Gideon Klein, and Egon Wellesz. This program is in conjunction with the current JMOF-FIU exhibition, Mark Podwal: All This Has Come Upon Us… featuring Podwal’s depictions of historical threats of antisemitism, combined with verses from the Book of Psalms.
The second concert in the series, “Klassically Klezmer” on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, will be a festive evening of klezmer and klezmer-inspired music, sponsored by Norman and Sylvia Levine and Family. Principal Clarinet Emeritus of the Cleveland Orchestra, Franklin Cohen and the Amernet Quartet will perform the landmark work The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov; the Hebrew Sketches of Aleksandr Krein; and works from the repertoire of clarinetist Simeon Bellison, later principal of the New York Philharmonic, from his days leading the Zimro Ensemble in Moscow.
For concert number three, “Musica Sefarad” on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, guitarist Adam Levin, mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, and the Amernet will explore lesser known concert repertoire of the Sephardic tradition, including works by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Alberto Hemsi, and others, and culminating in a new suite of songs in the Ladino and Spanish languages commissioned for the Amernet’s November performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This program is inspired by JMOF-FIU’s exhibition Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage with documents and artifacts spanning 450 years from the now-extinct Jewish community of Iraq.
The series continues on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 with a concert devoted to the chamber music of Miecyslaw Weinberg, in collaboration with Florida Grand Opera, as a prelude to their Florida premiere production of the Weinberg’s opera, The Passenger. “Weinberg, Forgotten Genius,” will include works adapted by Jason Calloway from operatic excerpts and the composer’s most important work of chamber music, the piano quintet, with Dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at FAU Heather Coltman. This program is also in conjunction with the JMOF-FIU exhibition, Mark Podwal: All This Has Come Upon Us…
The final concert on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, “Music of the Shoah,” is also inspired by the exhibition All This Has Come Upon Us…. The Amernet performs a program of the vast body of works for quartet by composers from across Europe who perished in the Holocaust. Among these is music by David Grunfeld, a leading singer of the Yiddish theater; Pavel Haas, one of the guiding musical voices of the so-called Nazi model camp at Terezin; Erwin Schulhoff, a diverse musical polyglot of the first half of the 20th-century and student of Debussy; Leo Smit, a vibrant Dutch composer who was working on his sadly unfinished string quartet before being deported to Sobibor; and Viktor Ullmann, composer of the satirical opera The Emperor of Atlantis.
All events take place at 7:00pm and will be held at Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139; Admission, unless otherwise noted, is $10 JMOF-FIU Members; $18 Non-Members; FREE for FIU Students (with valid ID).