By:: Gina Piroli :: Marketing and Promotions Coordinator
Step One: Find a composer with a unique affinity to Oregon.
Photo from the Ernest Block Legacy
Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was a Swiss-born American composer who, during his lifetime, was considered the fourth “B” after Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. After graduating from the Music Conservatory in Brussels, he traveled Europe to study composition in Frankfort (with Iwan Knorr), Paris, Munich and Geneva. He arrived in the U.S. in 1920 and became the first Music Director at the newly established Cleveland Institute of Music. In 1925, Maestro Bloch headed the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a post he held until 1930.
One summer, as he traveled the Oregon Coast on his way to visit his son in what is now called Lake Oswego, he discovered a property that over looked the Pacific Ocean in Agate Beach. He bought the house, the only one he would ever own, and it became his home until his death in 1959. The Ernest Bloch Foundation, of which his grandson Ernest Bloch II is president and the Ernest Bloch Legacy continue to promote his memory, both in Oregon and throughout the world.
Step Two: Find musicians who have the chops to play it.
The Bloch sonata for cello and piano was written when the composer was seventeen years old. It has never been published so cellist, Sergey Antonov and pianist, Cary Lewis will be playing this composition at the Paint The Old Church New Concerts at The Old Church on Thursday, June 14, from a copy of the manuscript that is only found in the Library of Congress. According to Dr. Lewis, who is the Chamber Music Director of the Astoria Music Festival, it is filled with, “… youthful passion and vitality” and “…is an interesting curiosity——a point in Bloch’s path to becoming a master composer.” One can expect to find no more artistic interpretation of this piece than that of the young Russian cellist Sergey Antonov, winner of the Tchaikowsky Competition, who is returning to Oregon for his fourth visit as guest artist for the Astoria Music Festival and pianist, Cary Lewis, who recently retired from the faculty of Georgia State University and appears in numerous festivals throughout the year.
Step Three: Find a music venue that is worthy of such a composer and composition.
The Historic Old Church, built in 1882, and is a wonderfully intimate space for chamber music. To celebrate our newly installed cooling system, to honor our donors and to launch our new interior painting campaign, we will present: Paint The Old Church New – Concert and Fundraiser with two nights of spectacular music.
The June 14 - Astoria Music Festival Portland Preview Concert will feature the unpublished Bloch sonata, as well as a trio by Bedrich Smetana, which he wrote as a response to the death of his young daughter, and two more sonatas, one by Poulenc and another by Ravel which features violin and cello. Joining Sergey and Cary will be Martin Chalifour, current concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and past Tchaikowsky Competition winner.
The June 15 – Bainbridge Quartet Concert will showcase Timothy Schwarz and Denise Dillenbeck, violin, Charles Noble, viola, and Heather Blackburn, cello. They will be performing selections from Dvořák Cypresses B. 152 for string quartet, Beethoven Quartet in E flat major, Op. 127, and Shostakovich Quintet in G minor for piano and strings, with special guest and The Historic Old Church Board Member, Susan DeWitt Smith, piano.
Both concerts begin at 8:00pm, 7:00pm doors. Tickets $40 for both nights or $25 per concert and available through The Old Church office: (503) 222-2031 or Brown Paper Tickets http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/246217