SHOSTAKOVICH AND HIS WORLD

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From Maverick to Woodstock: in the Spirit of the 60s V

An interactive talk about the composer and pianist Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich who was regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century led by Klara Moricz – Music Professor, Amherst College, and Alexander Platt – Music Director, Maverick Concerts

Kleinert/James Center for the Arts  (Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild)
34 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY 12498
845.679.2079

From Maverick to Woodstock: in the Spirit of the 60s is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

Free Admission 

Shostakovich and his World

An Interactive Talk

Klára Móricz • Professor of Music & European Studies, Amherst College
and
Alexander Platt • Music Director, Maverick Concerts

At the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts
34 Tinker Street, Woodstock, New York
Thursday, July 11, 2019 • 7:00 pm
A Joint Presentation by Maverick Concerts and the
Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild
From Maverick to Woodstock: In the Spirit of the 60s

A number of prominent musicians left the Soviet Union in the wake of the Russian Revolution, but Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich, one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century, chose to remain. He was frequently censured, his music scorned and vilified unless he was writing in an officially approved manner. Born in St. Petersburg, Shostakovich was the son a chemical engineer and a pianist. He studied piano at the Petrograd (Leningrad) conservatory with Leonid Nikolayev and composition with Aleksander Glazunov. He played in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1927, receiving an honorable mention, but did not pursue a virtuoso career, confining his performances as a pianist to his own works.

At the beginning of Shostakovich’s career, the cultural climate of the Soviet Union was actually quite free. Joseph Stalin, however, inaugurated his First Five-Year Plan in 1928, fastening an iron fist on all Soviet culture. A popular style was demanded, and avant-garde music and jazz were officially banned. The effect was devastating. Shostakovich was bitterly attacked in the press, and his opera Lady Macbeth of  Mtsensk and his Fourth Symphony were withdrawn. With his Symphony No. 5, Shostakovich began forging his unique style and voice: somber, elegaic, with melodic accessibility and classical form. After the death of Stalin, he was able to pursue his career unhampered. Since his own death, his music has been the subject of seething disagreement among those who saw him, for good or ill, as a sincere Communist, and those who viewed him as a closet dissident.

Klára Móricz, professor of music and European studies at Amherst College, specializes in the music of Béla Bartók, twentieth-century Jewish composers, and Russian music. She has published a book on Jewish character in music, Jewish Identities: Nationalism, Racism, and Utopianism in Twentieth-Century Music (University of California Press, 2008) and with Simon Morrison has co-edited a volume of essays on Arthur Lourié, Funeral Games in Honor of Arthur Lourié (Oxford University Press, 2013). She is also co-editor of two anthologies accompanying Richard Taruskin and Christopher Gibbs, The Oxford History of Western Music (Oxford, 2012). Since 2009 she has been co-editor of The Journal of Musicology. She has served on the board of the Journal of the American Musicological Society, on the academic advisory board of Jewish Music Forum, and the advisory board of Studia Musicologica. Prof. Móricz was awarded the ACLS /Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship and the Mabelle McLeod Lewis Dissertation Fellowship, and was the honorary recipient of the AMS 50 Award and AAUW Dissertation Fellowship. She has reviewed books for Oxford University Press, University of California Press, and the American Musicological Society. Since coming to Amherst in 1999, she has taught survey courses on music history, theory courses, and seminars on nineteenth- and twentieth-century music and Russian music.

The career of Alexander Platt, who in 2016 celebrated fifteen years as Maverick Concerts’ music director, encompasses symphony, chamber music, and opera. He holds with an ongoing commitment to the highest level of artistic excellence, innovative programming, and contemporary music. Platt has created chamber versions of a number of major works, including Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Leonard Bernstein’s Songfest, and David Del Tredici’s Final Alice, and reintroduced chamber orchestra concerts to Maverick’s season. Platt serves as music director of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and the Wisconsin Philharmonic Orchestra, and as artistic director at the Westport Arts Center in Connecticut. He spent twelve seasons as resident coordinator and music advisor at Chicago Opera Theater, where he led the Chicago premieres of such twentieth-century landmarks as Britten’s Death in Venice and John Adams’s Nixon in China, and the world-premiere recording of Robert Kurka’s The Good Soldier Schweik. A graduate of Yale College and a Marshall Scholar at King’s College Cambridge, Platt started his career as apprentice conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Minnesota Opera. He has guest conducted major orchestras in this country, the United Kingdom, and throughout Canada and Europe. His recording of Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with Rachel Barton Pine and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is aired on radio stations worldwide.