Dead Sea scrolls inspire unique music, performance

Fall concert season highlights also include tribute to Professor Emeritus Harold Shapero, Music From China and more

Composer Eric Chasalow is known for blending the traditional and the modern. But the ancient and the modern? That’s a first.

This summer, Chasalow composed a piece inspired by the Dead Sea Scrolls, the collection of some 900 ancient texts discovered in the caves overlooking the Dead Sea. “Where it Finds Nothing But the Wind” will be performed on Oct. 5 at Brandeis’ Slosberg Music Center and is sponsored by the Office of the Provost in conjunction with the Museum of Science.

The premier will feature renowned soprano Tony Arnold and the Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble.

Chasalow said he was inspired by the “mystery surrounding the scrolls.” The music will feature lyrics taken directly from the scrolls and put to Chasalow’s unique electronic sound.

“There are some scales and pitches that are evocative of old music but electronics can evoke anything. It can create a world of the piece and invite the listener into a very rich world,” Chasalow says.

The event is just one of the highlights of the fall music season at Brandeis, which will continue its tradition of excellence and innovation, hosting a series of professional concerts featuring faculty and visiting artists.

Recent seasons have included performances from the Genkin Philharmonic, Pablo Ziegler Classical Tango Quartet, and Casey Driessen, among others. Brandeis has also hosted ongoing performances from the groundbreaking contemporary chamber music ensemble Dinosaur Annex and the internationally acclaimed Lydian String Quartet, an ensemble-in-residence at Brandeis University since 1980.

“This season at Brandeis, I am thrilled about the range of professional concerts which reflect the diversity of our program and connect the music of the past and the future,” says composer, Dinosaur Annex Artistic Director and Music Department Chair Yu-Hui Chang.

The following performances will be the highlights of the fall 2013 Brandeis Concert Season (for a full list of events, please visit the concert series page). All performances will take place at the Slosberg Music Center.

The Piano Music of Harold Shapero with Sally Pinkas and Evan Hirsch
Saturday, Sept. 28: Reception and remembrances at 6:30 p.m.; performance at 8 p.m.
Free and open to the public

The Brandeis Department of Music pays tribute to Harold Shapero, a beloved Brandeis professor emeritus and acclaimed neo-classical composer. The event will include a display of his accomplishments, speakers from the music community, and a performance by the virtuosic Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo, featuring Sally Pinkas and Evan Hirsch. Shapero was a contemporary and lifelong friend of Aaron Copland and fellow Brandeis faculty members Arthur Berger, Leonard Bernstein, and Irving Fine. His compositions were recognized with numerous accolades, including the Prix de Rome, a Naumburg Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a Fulbright Fellowship.

Dead Sea Scrolls: An Evening with Soprano Tony Arnold
Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $20 / $15 seniors / $5 students (available at Brandeis Tickets)

In conjunction with the Dead Sea Scrolls: Life in Ancient Times exhibition hosted by the Museum of Science, with Brandeis University as its educational partner, Dinosaur Annex will perform a world premiere from Irving Fine Professor of Music Eric Chasalow. The piece, entitled, "Where it Finds Nothing But the Wind," will combine traditional instruments with computer generated sound, for an effect that can only be described as, “super-musique concréte.” This performance will also feature soprano Tony Arnold, hailed by The New York Times as “a bold and powerful interpreter,” and known for her sparkling and insightful performances of the most daunting contemporary scores.

Solar Winds Quintet
Sunday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $15 / $10 Seniors / students free (available at the door only)

The five musicians who comprise the heart of Solar Winds – a traditional woodwind quintet – are professionally trained instrumentalists and music educators. Their repertoire includes the most demanding compositions of the modern era as well as the classics, arrangements, and novelty pieces that make a woodwind quintet concert such an unusual and delightful musical experience.

Back to the Classics: Naoko Sugiyama, piano
Friday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $20 / $15 seniors / $5 students (available at Brandeis Tickets)

Naoko Sugiyama, a native of Japan, is active as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Japan and New England, working with the Boston Chamber Music Society, Bargemusic, the Chestnut Hill Concerts, and world-renowned musicians such as Murray Perahia, Menahem Pressler, and Jacques Zoon. She has been heard at Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall, the Goethe Institute, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, and on WGBH-FM Boston. In this concert, Naoko will perform works by Mozart and Beethoven, followed by Schubert’s Piano Trio in B-flat major, with Susanna Cortesio Ogata, violin, and Jacques Lee Wood, cello.

Evan Hirsch, piano
Sunday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m.
Free and open to the public

Pianist and Brandeis chamber music coach Evan Hirsch performs internationally as both recitalist and chamber player. Committed to the promotion of the music of our time, he has given premières of and recorded works by American composers George Rochberg, Peter Child, Thomas Oboe Lee, Daniel Pinkham, and Martin Pearlman, among others. He also travels widely as part of the Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo, with his wife, Sally Pinkas. In this recital, Hirsch will demonstrate his incredible technique in a variety of pieces.

MusicUnitesUS presents Silk and Bamboo: Music from China
Saturday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $20 / $15 seniors / $5 students (available at Brandeis Tickets)

Music From China invokes the subtlety and power of both traditional and contemporary Chinese music.  As part of Brandeis’s acclaimed MusicUnitesUS—a three-tiered program that encompasses an Intercultural Residency Series, a Public School Education Program, and a World Music Series—the ensemble will perform Pu Songling’s Bizarre Tales (2011) by Brandeis Department of Music Chair Yu-Hui Chang. For more information about this performance and their upcoming residency, please visit

In addition to professional concerts, Brandeis student ensembles will perform a range of styles from early music to improvisational jazz. Visit the Brandeis Music Department for full listings.

Categories: Arts

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