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University at Buffalo announces the 2018-19 Kurt Weill Festival

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences’ Collaboratory are pleased to announce the Kurt Weill Festival, a major creative partnership and one of the firsts of its kind between the two institutions from October 2018 to May 2019.

Kurt Weill was one of the most influential composers of the last century. Born in Germany in 1900, he rose to prominence as a composer of opera. Nazi Germany turned Weill into a refugee and then an immigrant. Before his immigration to America, he focused largely on art song and German classical traditions; once in America, he scrupulously studied the American popular song, and used his classical training to create a genre all its own, eventually becoming a famous Broadway composer and writing one of the 20th century’s most popular songs, “Mack The Knife.” Many of the themes of Weill’s work continue to resonate today: the immigrant experience, interracial conflict, greed, corruption, and exploitation of the poor.

Through cabaret performances, art exhibits, talks, humanities symposia, masterclasses, and chamber and orchestral concerts, Weill’s musical legacy will come alive in an accessible and exciting way. Events will be held at Kleinhans Music Hall, and on the UB campus and have been created with assistance from the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.

UB and the BPO have had a long and substantial history of collaboration, dating to the early 20th century and the near-simultaneous founding of the BPO and the music department at UB. The BPO is a regular performer on the school’s June in Buffalo new music festival and worked with UB in 2012 to host Russian dissident poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Yevtushenko worked with students, hosted a screening of a film he directed, and read his famous poem “Babi Yar” at a BPO performance.

“The University at Buffalo is proud to enter into this new, ambitious collaboration with the BPO,” said Robin Schulze, Dean of UB’s College of Arts and Sciences. “At UB, we have a staunch commitment to meaningful community involvement. This project will enhance the experience of UB students and BPO patrons, and will offer substantial scope to our faculty and to BPO musicians. We’re pleased to be a part of this.”

For the BPO, the program is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities through a grant for the Music Unwound orchestral consortium created by the Joseph Horowitz. The goal of Music Unwound is to find new audiences for classical music through exploration of its broader context.

For tickets to events, visit bpo.org or ubcfa.org, or call (716) 885-5000 or (716) 645-2787. Updated information will be available at bpo.org/weill. The schedule of events is as follows:

Kurt Weill Festival

Thu Oct. 11, 7:30 PM; UB Center for the Arts Mainstage Theater (Table Seating on Stage)
“Change the World, It Needs It” A Weill, Blitzstein, Brecht Cabaret
Lisa Vroman, soprano and William Sharp, baritone with pianist Shane Schag
Join these star performers on stage for an intimate and provocatively timely multi-media evening posing the questions “What is art for?” “Can it change the world?” Created by Kim Kowalke and Joe Horowitz; visual track by Peter Bogdanoff; Tickets: $25 Genral Admission; $15 students

Tue Oct 30, 7:30 PM, Kleinhans Music Hall (stage seating)
Weill and Blitzstein: String Quartets
A BPO string quartet takes on two seminal early pre-war works:
Kurt Weill’s String Quartet No.1, Op. 8 and Marc Blitzstein’s “Italian” String Quartet.
Andrea Cone and Amy Licata, violin; Janz Castelo, viola; Eva Herer, cello
Ticket cost: $25 general admission, $10 students

Thu Jan 17, 7:30 PM, Kleinhans Music Hall
Kurt Weill On Broadway
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Adam Turner, conductor; Lisa Vroman, soprano; Hudson Shad, vocal group
This multi-media program explores Weill’s dramatic saga of immigration – from Hilter’s Germany to Broadway, where his smash hits were Lady in the Dark and One Touch of Venus. Part One begins with Mack the Knife (condemned by the Nazis) and his Paris sensation The Seven Deadly Sins. Part Two is a sparkling and witty Broadway medley including September Song, and Weill himself singing That’s Him. Post-concert audience talk-back with Joe Horowitz. Tickets: $49 reserved; $25 general admission; $10 students

Thu Mar 28, 7:30 PM Baird Recital Hall
Degenerate Music: Weill, Eisler and Schoenberg
Tiffany Du Mouchelle, soprano; Jonathan Golove, cello; Eric Huebner, piano; and special guest Kathrein Allenberg, violin. Weill, Cello Sonata and Seven Pieces from The Threepenny Opera (arr. Frankel); Eisler, Duo Op. 7 and 14 Ways of Describing Rain, Op.70; and Cabaret songs of Weill and Schoenberg.
Ticket cost: $17-$22; seniors/students: $12-$17

Thu May 2, 7:30 pm; Fri May 3, 7:30 pm, Sat May 4, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm, Sun May 5, 2:00 pm
Drama Theatre, UB Center for the Arts
THE THREEPENNY OPERA
Book and Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, Music by Kurt Weill, Adaptation by Simon Stephens
Produced by the UB Department of Theatre and Dance
A milestone of 20th century music theatre, THE THREEPENNY OPERA reaches its 90th anniversary in 2018. This gripping, macabre masterpiece, a criticism of capitalism and middle-class morality set in a world of corrupt money and unpunished evil, is one of the most produced works of music theatre worldwide. Weill’s celebrated score parodies operatic conventions and embraces the musical styles of jazz, period dance music, and cabaret. The work’s opening number, “The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” became one of the most popular songs of the 20th century. This newly-conceived and designed full production with orchestra will be directed and music directed by Nathan R. Matthews.
TICKETS: $20 General Public $10 Student/Senior Admission

Other Weill Festival Events

Wed, Oct. 10, 4 PM
Vocal Master Class
Lisa Vroman, soprano and William Sharp, baritone
UB Baird Recital Hall, Free

Mon Nov 19
Free Student Cabaret
UB Department of Music and Dance
UB CFA Atrium

Wed Jan 16
Weill Lecture: Joe Horowitz
Buffalo Erie County Library

Fri Mar 8
Humanities to the Rescue
An Evening with Molly Crabapple
UB Humanities Institute

Mon April 8
UB North Campus, 120 Clemens Hall, 9 AM-5 PM
“Sounds: Avant-Garde, Modernism and Fascism”
UB Humanities Institute One-Day Symposium

The intersection between aesthetic experimentation, critical theory, and political upheaval that is historically associated with the first decades of the twentieth century has undeniable echoes in today’s world. The symposium organized by the Humanities Institute Modernisms Research Workshop will explore music and sound, performance and spectatorship, in a variety of different geographical and national contexts and across several fields of intellectual endeavor: literature, visual arts, theater and stage design, film, and music.

Invited Speakers: Kim Kowalke – President, Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; Jacques Lezra, Professor – UC Riverside; Peter Szendy, Professor – Brown University; UB Participants: James Currie – Music; Damien Keane – English; Fernanda Negrete – Romance Languages and Literatures; William Solomon – English;Robin Schulze, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Organizers: Laura Chiesa – Romance Languages and Literatures, and Damien Keane – English

Feb 2-May 12
Photographic Recall: Italian Modernist and Fascist Architecture in Contemporary German Photography

Just as Weill and Brecht set out to redefine opera, the photographers of this exhibition explorecritical visual languages to question the assumptions anbout the cultural and political ideologies of the 1920s through 1940s. Just like Weill and Brecht’s works, these images “dramatize, they “perform” through compositional and formal choices, the claims of an authoritarian regime and their repercussions today. The resulting photographic works are examples of art as a critical medium.
UB Anderson Gallery, Free Admission