April 05, 2020

Community news

University of Maine

‘Thwarted Voices’ concert

ORONO – This year’s “Thwarted Voices” concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at Minsky Recital Hall, University of Maine, features the works of Holocaust-era composers whose work can be publicly enjoyed after a half-century of suppression. Admission is $6, free to students with a UMaine identification card.

UM music professor and pianist Phillip Silver, an internationally recognized authority on Holocaust-era composers, will be joined on stage by cellist Noreen Silver and soprano Deborah Cook.

Now in its seventh season, “Thwarted Voices” is a deeply personal concert series for Silver, and an opportunity to perform the “forgotten music” composed by Jewish musicians victimized by the Holocaust in Europe. Some perished in Nazi concentration camps and others escaped by fleeing, in some cases to America or Israel. Much of their music has remained unperformed, even undiscovered, over the years.

In murdering or exiling many Jewish composers in Germany, or banning their works, Nazis denied the world an extraordinary range of music by “hundreds upon hundreds of composers” just now being recognized by scholars, Silver said. This year’s concert focuses on composers who found refuge in Israel.

They include: Haim Alexander, born in Berlin in 1915 and still active today, “Six Israeli Dances for Piano”; Arnold Schoenberg, 1874-1951, elected honorary president of the Israel Academy of Music shortly before his death, “Four Songs op. 2,” described as very warm Romantic pieces; Paul Ben-Haim, 1897-1984, who, like Haim Alexander, fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and found sanctuary in Israel, “Sonatina for Piano Solo;” Mark Kopytman, born in Poland in 1929 and part of the first wave of Soviet Jewish composers able to leave for the West after many years of anti-Semitic oppression, “Kaddish” for cello and piano, a poignant work written on the death of the composer’s father; and Marc Lavry, 1903-1967, who came to Israel in the 1930s and established himself as one of the most popular of Israeli composers, “Suite for Piano, Israeliana.”

Contrary to some perceptions, the music of the Holocaust era is varied – much of it bright and spirited – unlike the dark and melancholy images of the Holocaust, said Silver. He has obtained some of his “Thwarted Voices” music exclusively from relatives of Holocaust-era composers. He is a member of the advisory board of The Inextinguishable Symphony Project, an educational project about the Judische Kulturband in Germany, the Jewish Cultural Association formed in 1933 after Jews were banned from public employment.

Soprano Deborah Cook, who made her debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 1976 as Gilda in “Rigoletto,” lived in Germany 1972-1985. She traveled the world performing opera, lieder and recording for radio productions.

Cellist Noreen Silver frequently collaborates with Phillip Silver, with whom she is a member of the Silver Duo at UM. Also, as a member of the Van Leer Trio, Noreen Silver has performed in Great Britain, the United States, Israel, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Belgium, and has broadcast for the BBC and other national radio stations.

Ticket information is available from the Maine Center for the Arts box office at 581-1755.

‘Art of Printed Books’

ORONO – The newest exhibit at the department of art’s Lord Hall Gallery at the University of Maine focuses on books, and the creativity that emerges when artists and writers collaborate. But to appreciate the show, visitors must suspend their ingrained concept of what a book is, said co-curator Walter Tisdale, a Bangor book printer and publisher.

For instance, the Islamic Koran is read back to front, said Tisdale, who owns and operates Tatlin Books. Asian text reads vertically. Some books open in an accordion-like fashion and have no binding. Some are small and others large.

Some of the books in “The Art of Printed Books and Artists Multiples,” on display through Nov. 22, have different-sized pages, some with pockets and fold-outs, and a few with woodcut images but no text.

Seemingly one-of-a-kind creations, these artists’ books were printed, or mass-produced, in multiples, as were other items, including a pair of white socks and wine bottles. The works come from the personal collections of Tisdale and Owen Smith, professor of art and director of the New Media Program at UMaine.

“From socks to toilet paper, they were drawn into the art orbit,” Smith explained, “as a way to question what art is.”

“The Art of Printed Books and Artists’ Multiples” is part of the “Maine Print Project: 200 Years of Printmaking in Maine,” a series taking place in 25 Maine museums, galleries and college campuses.

Smith and Tisdale are co-curators for the exhibit. Another way to describe many of the pieces in the exhibit is “book art” or “artists’ books,” according to Smith and Tisdale.

“Taking the structure of the book beyond everyday expectations is often a goal of the artist’s book,” Smith and Tisdale wrote. “Other important aspects are: The use of cross-disciplinary media; the production of the work through an accessible – usually inexpensive – means; and the reaction against the established art world and art market.

“Often the impetus behind the use of the book form is to cross boundaries and defy existing limitations and definitions. It is a medium of expression that allows for, in fact calls for, the combination of several modes of creation,” they wrote. “In fact, this confluence of art forms had affected artists’ books to such a degree that they have become characteristically and foremost multidisciplinary.”

The Maine Print Project, being shown at two dozen Maine galleries, involves a broad array of printed art, including books, and is the largest collaborative arts initiative in Maine history, according to Bruce Brown, a Maine book and art collector who is chairman of the Maine Print Project.

The show was created to celebrate printmaking by Maine artists, and each individual exhibit has an educational component to it.

For information, visit www.maineprintproject.org. For information about the Orono exhibit, call 581-3245.

Funding for “The Maine Print Project: Celebrating 200 Years of Printmaking in Maine” is provided by the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces Program, and by a grant from the Maine Community Foundation. Funding also is provided by the Davis Family Foundation, with additional support from the Fitzpatrick Gallery.

Hudson Museum exhibits

ORONO – The Hudson Museum at the University of Maine has three new exhibits featuring illustrations from a children’s book by Maine artist Robert Shetterly, fabric collections from the Kuna Indians of the San Blas Islands of Panama and the legacy of former UM anthropologist Richard Emerick, founding director of Hudson Museum.

“Celebrating Richard G. Emerick: The Man and his Legacy,” will be up until May, said Gretchen Faulkner, museum director, and is part of the celebration of its 20th anniversary.

Emerick, a professor of anthropology, came to UMaine in the late 1950s and taught more than 40,000 students during his 40-year teaching career.

With collections he had gathered through field work with native Havasuapai in the American Southwest, with the peoples of Ponape and Kapingamarangi in Micronesia, and the Iglulingmuit of Northern Foxe Basin in the Canadian Arctic, Emerick created an anthropology museum in the attic of South Stevens Hall.

In 1986, he moved the museum to the newly completed Maine Center for the Arts, launching the Hudson Museum. When he retired as director of the museum in 1990, a gallery on the museum’s third level was named in Emerick’s honor.

The new exhibit honoring Emerick features objects that he collected in each area of his field work. He focused on documenting traditional lifestyles in regions undergoing rapid change and modernization, collecting everyday objects such as tools, containers, weapons, utensils and models of modes of transportation.

His collections from Micronesia include fishing gear, clubs and axes, necklaces, fans and dance paddles, household mats and outrigger canoe models. During his work with the Havasupai, he acquired baskets, ladles and food-processing equipment. From the Iglulingmuit, he gathered clothing, tools, hunting and fishing gear, including fish hooks and harpoons, plus carvings from walrus tusk and other objects.

A second exhibit, “Molas: The Jane Gruver Collection,” also will be up until May.

For more than 30 years, Jane Gruver of North Dakota and husband Daniel Gruver lived and worked among the Kuna of the San Blas Islands of Panama. Jane Gruver acquired a deep appreciation and understanding of the making of Kuna mola-making, and collected the dozens of brightly colored fabric panels that comprise the exhibit. She has donated molas to the Hudson Museum since 1994 as a way of recording and preserving the art form and the lifestyles of the Kuna people.

The third exhibit, “Muwin and the Magic Hare by Robert Shetterly,” will be on display through Jan. 5, featuring images created by Robert Shetterly of Brooksville and published in his 1993 children’s book, “Muwin and the Magic Hare.”

Information about the exhibits and the museum is on www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum, or call 581-1901. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays. There is no admission charge.

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