Exploring the Cultural Connection of Jews and the Arts
The mission and goal of the Stroum JCC "The Jewish Touch: Exploring the Cultural Connection of Jews and the Arts" lecture series is to provide educational and cultural enrichment for the Jewish and general community in the greater Seattle area by exploring the cultural connection and heritage of Jews to music, theater, film and other art forms and their creators. Each lecture will feature a prominent speaker and audio/visual materials.
These lectures are made possible by a generous gift from the Abe and Sidney Block Foundation.
The 2012-13 season of the SJCC Jewish Touch lecture series has ended.
We thank our generous supporters and subscription series ticket holders.
The 2013-14 season will be announced late this summer, including an invitation for subscription series ticket holders.
We look forward to having you join us this fall!
For more information, please contact SJCC Adult Program Coordinator Kim Lawson at KLawson@sjcc.org or 206-388-0823.
A Jewish Dueling Piano Revue
Cantor David Serkin-Poole, Music Director Peter Pundy, and special guests Bob Maslan and musician Chava Mirel, provided a lively afternoon of musical entertainment featuring Jewish greatest hits and popular music with a "Jewish touch." They shared songs of every style, both new and old.
An Afternoon with Charles Fox
At the piano, composer Charles Fox shared how he came to write his award-winning music. This Grammy and Emmy winner and Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee wrote some of TV's most memorable themes such as "Happy Days," "Love Boat," "Laverne and Shirley," plus countless others. As well, he gave his personal insight into the recent documentary, "100 Voices: A Journey Home," which explores Jewish cultural history in Poland.
Jewish Comedians in 1950s Hollywood
We can't have enough laughter! Foster Hirsch, Professor of Film at Brooklyn College, explored some of the great Jewish comedians in 1950s Hollywood, with a look at the film legacies of Danny Kaye, Judy Holliday, Jerry Lewis, and more.
Jews, Magic and Houdini
Internationally-acclaimed magician, author and lecturer Joshua Jay explored the fascinating intersection of magic and Judaism, with an emphasis on Jewish magicians throughout history who tempted danger.
The Jewish Opera Connection: From Samson to Sondheim
An exploration of the extensive Jewish presence in the world of opera, including works of Offenbach, Meyerbeer, Korngold, Glass, Halevy, Bernstein, Sondheim, and others. Operas with Biblical themes, such as Nabucco, Salome, and Samson and Delilah will be illustrated as well as Jewish conductors, librettists and some of the many great Jewish singers who have made their mark on the operatic stage.
"Our Words, Our Songs: A Concert Celebrating Jewish Women"
A touching and inspirational concert highlighted Jewish women, featuring Cantor Marina Belenky, Cantorial Soloist Julie Mirel and Temple Beth Am Music Director Wendy Marcus. Directed and accompanied by Cantorial Soloist and Composer Peter Pundy and narrated by Cantor David Serkin-Poole of Temple B’nai Torah, the program included music drawn from a variety of times and traditions. These included selections from contemporary composers and songwriters, Broadway, Yiddish theater, and both Sephardic and Eastern European folk traditions.
The Holocaust Through the Lens of Hollywood
A provocative look at the way mainstream American filmmakers have approached a monumental subject that many have claimed is beyond representation. In an enlightening glimpse of film as history and of history transformed into film, scholar and author Professor Foster Hirsch of Brooklyn College will examine widely differing approaches, using excerpts from films spanning six decades, from the little-known “The Juggler” (1953) starring Kirk Douglas to George Stevens' groundbreaking “The Diary of Anne Frank” (1959) to Quentin Tarantino's recent irreverent “Inglorious Basterds” (2009).
“My people are Americans. My time is today.” Bold words indeed coming from the Brooklyn-born son of middle-class Russian Jewish immigrants. But by the time of his premature death at age 38, Jacob Gershvin had vindicated his boldness: he had become George Gershwin, recognized and celebrated as a truly American composer. This talk, led by University of Washington Music History Professor Larry Starr, will investigate how Gershwin accomplished this unlikely and remarkable feat and will explore the implications of his accomplishment for his own time and for ours.
Larry Starr is a Professor of Music History at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he has taught since 1977. Specializing in 20th Century and American music, he is the author of A Union of Diversities: Style in the Music of Charles Ives (Schirmer, 1992), The Dickinson Songs of Aaron Copland (Pendragon, 2002), and George Gershwin (Yale University Press, 2011), and he is the coauthor (with Christopher Waterman) of American Popular Music: from Minstrelsy to MP3 (Oxford University Press, third edition, 2009). A contributor to The Cambridge History of American Music(1998), Starr has lectured widely on a broad range of musical topics, and has taught classes on American classical and popular music to a broad range of students — from non-specialist undergraduates to doctoral candidates in musicology — for more than four decades. In 1995 he was named an honorary Liberal Arts professorship in theCollege ofArts and Sciences,University of Washington, to recognize his “outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.”
Aaron Copland, the son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, composed one specifically Jewish work – the early piano trio “Vitebsk,” based on a Jewish folk theme. But many other compositions, particularly his stage works, bespeak a strong Jewish outlook on life: concerns such as family, community and justice were recurrent themes in this hardworking man’s professional life. Adam Stern, Music Director of the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, brings his vast knowledge of music and his lively and inspirational style to this lecture, accompanied by audio and visual excerpts, particularly from such works as “Appalachian Spring,” “Billy the Kid,” film scores, and concert pieces.
The Three Cantors Plus One
"The Three Cantors Plus One" brought a heartwarming concert performance by Cantors David Serkin-Poole (Temple B’nai Torah) and Brad Kurland (Herzl-Ner Tamid), Hazzan Ike Azose (Ezra Bessaroth emeritus), PLUS Rabbi Simon Benzaquen (Sephardic Bikur Holim), emcee Rabbi Bob Maslan, and accompanist Peter Pundy.
Seattle Symphony Pops Principal Conductor Marvin Hamlisch spoke to a sold out crowd about his career on Broadway and in Hollywood. His life in music is notable for its great versatility as well as substance. As a composer, Hamlisch has won virtually every major award: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony, and three Golden Globe awards. For Broadway, he wrote the music for “They’re Playing Our Song,” as well as his groundbreaking show, “A Chorus Line,” for which he received the Pulitzer Prize.
The National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene
In its premiere appearance in Seattle, The National Yiddish Theatre from New York brought a lively concert of Yiddish song full of anecdotes and explanations about the songs that entertained and educated Jewish audiences that flocked to the Yiddish theater in Europe and America at the turn of the 20th Century. Keeping alive the cultural tradition of Yiddish, Zalmen Mlotek, internationally renowned concert pianist and Artistic Director of The National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene, told the history of each song, while Daniella Rabbani created the theatrical atmosphere that gives the audience – of all ages – an emotional experience.Made possible by a generous gift from the Abe and Sidney Block Foundation.
Seattle Symphony Music Director Gerard Schwarz: "A Legacy for the Future"
An Emmy Award winner, Schwarz shared some of his own compositions and discussed how his Jewish identity has shaped his musical vision.