After over a year of planning, Eastman celebrates the anniversary of the birth and the anniversary of the death of two beloved figures in music history: Dmitri Shostakovich and Mieczyslaw Weinberg. The festival, which is titled, “Shostakovich and Weinburg: An Artistic Dialogue” will honor and recognize the talent of the two, as well as draw attention to the close bond that they shared, which only helped each to achieve.
The purpose of the event is to provide a unique and intimate look at the magic of composer Shostakovich while at the same time providing more insight into the music his pupil and dear friend Weinburg.
Shostakovich and Weinburg had a wonderful teacher-pupil relationship that, over time, came to be more of a close friendship and exchange of countless ideas, both musical and artistic. Shostakovich was one of the most important classical composers of the past century and this festival, which honors the 100th anniversary of his birth, will be a chance to spotlight the lesser-known Weinburg as well, as he was so influential in Shostakovich’s career.
Well-known in Russia, Weinburg was not as renowned here in America as was his role model Shostakovich.
“People do not know Weinburg as well over here,” Associate Professor of Chamber Music Tim Ying said. “We see this festival partly as a way to really spotlight Weinburg and introduce him to this music community. I think this will be a really interesting opportunity for people to compare and contrast their music.”
Two of Eastman’s faculty members, Mikhail Kopelman and Oleh Krysa were tied closely with both Shostakovich and Weinburg.
“I knew Weinburg relatively well,” Kopelman said. “I never actually met Shostakovich, but I played all of his chamber music and made recordings of all 15 of his string quartets, and I certainly knew some funny stories about him as well.”
Much of the idea for this concert was formulated by Kopelman when he and a friend thought about the strong and influential Shostakovich-Weinburg relationship.
“They were close for 30 years,” Kopelman continued. “Though Weinburg’s music is not so well-known, Rochester will have its first taste of this wonderful music as we celebrate that as well as the relationship between the two men. I could not be more pleased that so many of my colleagues are coming in for the event and we have all made recognizable efforts to make this weekend nothing less than a success.”
A number of important and well-respected musical scholars will be coming on Saturday from all over the world for a symposium of papers and panel discussion. The papers come from those of Russian music scholars.
“This weekend is one that comes from a lot of ambition from both the performers as well as the Eastman faculty and students,” Ying said. “We make our best efforts to play the best and study the best, and this festival comes straight from the heart of what we try to do at Eastman.”