The Department of Music honored a Berkeley professor, composer and important figure in American music, Ernest Bloch (1880-1959), on the 50th anniversary of his death, with a series of events, including a symposium and concert of his works on October 10, 2009, and a performance competition on October 5, 2009.
The symposium featured scholars Davitt Moroney (UC Berkeley), speaking about the history of the Department of Music, Klara Moricz (Amherst University), who earned her PhD at Berkeley and gave the keynote address about the composer’s work “America,” as well as graduate composer Nils Bultmann (UC Berkeley) performing a new piece in homage to Bloch, and Jonathan Elkus (UC Davis) speaking on “Growing up with Bloch.” Elkus’s father Albert was a friend of Bloch’s, and chairman of the Department of Music for many years.
The concert in Hertz Hall on October 10 featured cellist Irene Sharp and pianist Betty Woo, as well as student performers, performing works by Bloch, including his Piano Quintet No. 2, written for the opening of Hertz Hall in 1958. In attendance at the symposium and concert was the composer’s grandson, Ernest Bloch II.
The performance competition on October 5 featured music majors and other Berkeley students performing works by Bloch. First prize winners were April Paik (violin), Jessica Ling (violin), Jeff Kuo (viola), Kevin Yu (cello) and Tony Lin (piano) performing the Piano Quintet No. 2. Second prize winner was pianist Elaine Laguerta, performing Visions et Propheties, I & IV for solo piano.