All events are free and open to the public, but registration for the opening lecture presernted by Dr. Jack D. Spiro or for the performance by Klezm'Or'Ami'm is requested at www.support.vcu.edu/event/jewishmusicians.
January 19, 2012
Opening lecture presented by Dr. Jack D. Spiro
"One Singular Sensation: The American Jew and the Musical Theater"
Commonwealth Ballrooms, VCU Student Commons, 907 Floyd Avenue
From A to Z, Adler to Zippel, the data tells a striking story. Of the recipients of the coveted Tony Award since its inception in 1947, 69 percent of composers, 71 percent of lyricists and 56 percent of librettists of the Broadway musical theater have been Jewish. The simple but challenging question this lecture will attempt to answer is this: Why has the musical theater, an indigenous American artform, attracted so many Jews, along with their prodigious talents?
Dr. Jack D. Spiro holds the Harry Lyons Distinguished Chair in Judaic Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also director of the VCU Center for Judaic Studies and editor of its online publication, Menorah Review. He has earned two doctorates from the Hebrew Union College and the University of Virginia and has authored, co-authored or edited more than 30 books and written numerous articles.
A reception will be held immediately following the lecture.
The Weinstein Jewish Community Center, a cosponsor of this event, will run a shuttle between the Center and the VCU Student Commons. Seating on the shuttle is limited. For more information, please call (804) 827-1165.
February 4, 2012
Performance by Klezm'Or'Ami'm
"America’s Music: Funny, You Don’t Sound Jewish"
Richmond Public Library, 101 East Franklin Street
First brought to the United States by immigrants in the early years of the twentieth century, klezmer—a traditional Eastern European Jewish form of celebratory dance music—made a significant impact on the evolution of American jazz. Klezmer was, in turn, shaped by the style and instrumentation of jazz, which dominated popular music at the time. Richmond-based klezmer ensemble Klezm'Or'Ami'm will explore the relationship between klezmer and jazz in a program of songs featuring hit tunes by Gershwin and a variety of klezmer classics. This performance is a part of the Gellman Room Concert Series. [One song from this performance is now available on YouTube.]
February 9, 2012
Lecture presented by Dr. Patrick Smith
"Grasping Gershwin: The Man Behind the Music"
Multipurpose Room, Second Floor, James Branch Cabell Library, 901 Park Avenue
This lecture will explore the personal side of George Gershwin's career in music. From his early days as a pianist at home, to his "big break" working in a piano roll factory, to his successful collaborations with his brother, Ira, among other notables, this presentation will summarize the lifelong achievements of George Gershwin along and cast a humanistic tint on this pillar of American popular music.
Dr. Patrick Smith is Assistant Professor of Horn and Music History in the VCU Department of Music. He is an accomplished performer who has played with numerous musical ensembles, including the American Chamber Winds and the Emerson String Quartet, and is also currently President Elect of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors and the Virginia representative of the International Horn Society. His biography of Julius Watkins, the great American jazz French horn musician, is forthcoming.
February 14, 2012
Performance by Gianna Barone & Denver Walker
"Love Songs from the American Songbook"
Lobby, First Floor, James Branch Cabell Library, 901 Park Avenue
For Valentine's Day, classically trained vocalist Gianna Barone and guitarist Denver Walker, both students in the VCU Department of Music, will perform a selection of classic love songs from the American Songbook, including "They Say It's Wonderful" by Irving Berlin, "Bewitched" and "My Funny Valentine" by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and "Hello, Young Lovers" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.
Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives exhibit
"Jewish Women in the Arts"
10 a.m.–3 p.m., Sunday through Thursday
Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives, 1109 West Franklin Street
Touching upon the work of Edith Lindemann Calisch, the Richmond-area songwriter who penned such tunes as the Kittie Kallen hit "Little Things Mean a Lot" and Willie Nelson's "Red-Headed Stranger", this exhibit highlights contributions of Jewish women to the art world. Also featured is the work of Theresa Pollack, who helped to found VCU’s School of the Arts. Tours of the Beth Ahabah temple sanctuary are also available. The Beth Ahabah congregation has been a vital component of the Jewish community in Richmond for more than 200 years, and their Franklin Street Synagogue has been a Richmond landmark since the first decade of the twentieth century.