A bit of artistic spirituality will be on display at UT through the discussion of renowned composer Ernest Bloch's work in a lecture series.
The Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies will host "Ernest Bloch: A Musical Neshuma" with Maestro Lucas Richman of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra on Thursday at the McClung Museum Auditorium. The lecture is set to take place at 5 p.m.
According to its website, the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program was established in 1993 to support a scholar of Judaism. The program works to organize programming including "Holocaust conferences, Israel semesters, film festivals and exhibitions, often in collaboration with other university units and outside organizations."
UT's Judaic Studies is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the schedule of events.
A musical tribute to Bloch will be performed by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 20 and 21.
Angela Batey, associate director for graduate studies, serves the university as director of choral activities and will be participating in the event.
"All of our choirs will be presenting the piece with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra playing," Batey said. "We have had a long-standing collaboration that occurs roughly every three years with the KSO in which we provide our students as the chorus to allow the KSO to present a major choral work. In 2010, I suggested this work as the collaborative work for 2014."
The event will feature Richmond, the music director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, as he speaks on Ernest Bloch, one of classical music's most renowned Swiss-American composers.
Gilya Schmidt, professor of religious studies and director of the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies, was involved in the founding of the program in 1993.
"Maestro Lucas Richman invited us to collaborate with him on a campus lecture that would introduce Ernest Bloch to students, faculty, and staff in anticipation of the concert which the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra is planning for Feb. 20 and 21 that includes Bloch's 'Sacred Service'," Schmidt said. "So I organized the event on Jan. 23 in collaboration with the KSO."
Bloch was born in Switzerland but came to the U.S. in 1916 and worked in the states for most of his life.
"It is my understanding that this piece by Bloch, 'Sacred Service,' or in Hebrew, 'Avodath Hakodesh,' was commissioned by a synagogue in San Francisco in the 1930s for mixed chorus and orchestra," Schmidt said. "It is based on elements from the Shabbat morning synagogue service which Bloch was well familiar with from his own life."
The musical program brings in many elements from religious backgrounds, particularly the Hebrew culture.
"It is my understanding that the Maestro will talk about how spirituality is expressed through music, giving the example of Bloch's 'Sacred Service,'" Schmidt said. "He will demonstrate this concept with musical excerpts that he will play for the audience.
"Through the presentation, the students should have a very good grasp of the connection between spirituality and creative activity as expressed in the work and life of Ernest Bloch."
Not only will both events be a learning experience for the audience, but Batey also said the tribute will be a new experience for the performers as well.
"This will likely be the only experience in the singers' lifetimes in which they sing a major work in Hebrew," Batey said. "The learning curve for the majority of our singers is steep, and it provides a rich fabric of diversity to our students' musical experiences here at UT."
Ticket prices for the musical tribute range from $15-$85, with discounts available for students, and may be purchased from knoxvillesymphony.com