|Birth: ||Jul. 24, 1880|
|Death: ||Jul. 15, 1959|
Composer. His best known work has a distinct Hebraic flavor, reflecting his Jewish heritage. Bloch's rhapsody for cello and orchestra, "Schelomo" (1916), is one of the most frequently performed pieces of 20th Century music. The son of a Swiss clockmaker, he was born in Geneva. He studied violin with Eugene Ysaye in Brussels and composition at the Hoch Conservatory of Frankfurt. His first major opus, the opera "Macbeth" (1910), brought him some prestige when it was staged in Paris, but for many years he supported himself mainly through teaching and as a theatre conductor. In 1916 Bloch arrived in the United States as conductor of the Maud Allan dance company; the troupe went broke in Ohio, leaving him stranded. Influential musicians such as Leopold Stokowski came to the rescue by arranging performances of his compositions, and their warm reception prompted his decision to stay in the country. He became an American citizen in 1924. Bloch served as the first director of the newly founded Cleveland Institute of Music (1920 to 1925) and director of the San Francisco Conservatory (1925 to 1930), while gaining a reputation as one of the leading composers of his generation. His peak of popularity came with the prize-winning rhapsody "America", which was simultaneously premiered in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and San Francisco in December 1928. During the 1930s he lived in Geneva under the sponsorship of the philanthropic Stern family, returning to the US at the outbreak of World War II. In 1941 he settled in a cottage overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Agate Beach, Oregon, teaching summer graduate courses at the University of California at Berkeley until his retirement in 1952. Over the years his students included Roger Sessions, George Antheil, Douglas Moore, Quincy Porter, and Leon Kirchner. He was also a gifted amateur photographer whose nature stills were admired by Alfred Stieglitz. Like his contemporary Bela Bartok, Bloch was too much the individualist to inspire a school of followers. Essentially a Romantic, his idiom was elastic enough to embrace a variety of techniques - Neoclassicism, Serialism, experiments in quarter tones - without weakening his strong personal stamp. The compositions of his youth are free-flowing and rhapsodic; the later works are more tightly organized. And while his conscious efforts at writing Jewish music occupied a comparatively small portion of his output, its influence remained alive in the color, rhythm and phrasing of his style, as well as in its sheer emotionalism. After "Schelomo", the benchmarks of Bloch's "Jewish phase" are the "Three Jewish Songs" (1913), the "Israel Symphony" (1916), "Baal Shem" for violin and piano (1923), the great "Avodath Hakodesh" ("Sacred Service, 1933), "Voice in the Wilderness" (1937) for cello and orchestra, and the "Suite hebraique" (1950). His other important works include the Piano Quintet (1923), the Concerto Grosso No. 1 (1925) and No. 2 (1952), the symphonic poem "Helvetia" (1930), a Violin Concerto (1937), three numbered symphonies, and five string quartets (1916 to 1954). By no means orthodox in his religious beliefs, Bloch saw himself as a humanist, and his music is probably best appreciated in that light. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Specifically: Ashes scattered near his home in Agate Beach, Newport, Oregon
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
Record added: Jul 25, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 20628361
|Photos may be scaled.|
Click on image for full size.