Letters to Erich: Family Separation and Holocaust Memory
Date: Tuesday, March 03, 2020
A Musical Performance and Talk
featuring Jazz Pianist Ted Rosenthal
Ted Rosenthal, acclaimed jazz pianist and composer of the original jazz opera Dear Erich, and two professional singers will perform music from his powerful new work. Rosenthal will also discuss its backstory. Drawing on more than 200 personal letters found in the family’s attic, the opera focuses on the relationship between Rosenthal’s grandmother, trapped in Nazi Germany, and his father, Erich, who was able to immigrate to Chicago. Erich remains haunted by his mother’s fate and is unable to share his past or the family’s history with his own children. The program will be followed by a discussion with the composer.
Mezzo-soprano Sishel Claverie
Baritone Peter Kendall Clark
Funding provided by an Association for Jewish Studies Arts and Culture Community Grant and the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education
Cosponsored by Mason Gross School of the Arts, The Herbert and Leonard Littman Families Holocaust Resource Center, and the New Brunswick Jazz Project
Ted Rosenthal is an American jazz pianist. He actively tours worldwide with his trio, as a soloist, and has performed with many jazz greats, including Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Bob Brookmeyer, and James Moody.
A recipient of three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rosenthal regularly performs and records his compositions, which include jazz tunes and large-scale works. He has also composed music for dance, including "Uptown," for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. "The Survivor," a concerto for piano and orchestra, has been performed by the Manhattan Jazz Philharmonic and the Rockland Symphony Orchestra, with Rosenthal at the piano. In 2011, Rosenthal premiered his second jazz piano concerto, “Jazz Fantasy,” with The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in New York City. Winner of the 1988 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, Rosenthal has released fifteen CDs as a leader.
Rosenthal is artistic director of Jazz at the Riverdale Y and previously was artistic director of Jazz at Dicapo Theatre, both in New York City. He has also performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and Jon Faddis and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band.
He is a faculty member at Julliard and at the Manhattan School of Music.
His jazz opera Dear Erich was commissioned by the New York City Opera and debuted in January 2019. More information is available at Dearerich.com.
Sishel Claverie’s recent engagements include the role of Charlotte Malcolm in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with Alamo City Opera. She performed the title role in Heartbeat Opera’s production of Carmen, which was praised by The New York Times as “Riveting.” Ms. Claverie was also seen as Carmen with El Paso Opera, with The New Rochelle Opera and with Opera in the Heights, where she will perform the role of Maria in Piazzolla’s tango operetta Maria de Buenos Aires this season. She made her debut with La Luna Quartet at Feinstein's/54 Below for a night of opera and cabaret. Sishel holds a bachelor's degree in Music from the University of Houston and a Master's degree in Music from Rice University.
Baritone Peter Kendall Clark has created roles in numerous world premieres, including the title role in Ted Rosenthal’s jazz opera Dear Erich at New York City Opera, for which The New York Times praised his “gravity and earthy sound.” Recently he sang Older Thompson in Glory Denied with Union Avenue Opera and has sung leading roles with Caramoor Opera, Anchorage Opera, Opera on the James, Charlottesville Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Virginia Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, Syracuse Opera and Skylight Music Theatre. A regular performer with NYCO, he was featured in Harold Prince’s production of Candide, Peter Eötvös' Angels in America, La Fanciulla del West, and Charles Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain, and the premiere of Iain Bell/Mark Campbell’s Stonewall. Upcoming in NYC: the New York premiere of Tom Cipullo’s The Parting with Chelsea Opera.
Everything My Father Never Told Me / Children of America - Dear Erich by Ted Rosenthal