The Educational Bridge Project’s 18th festival opened at MIT’s renowned Saarinen Chapel (10/25) with Ludmilla Leibman’s lecture on “The Nature of Musical Language” accompanied by performances on the piano (Anton Faynberg) and the samchillian, an electronic instrument (Leon Gruenbaum, creator). The next day at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics, there opened a show of the drawings of well-known Russian artist Luba Kostenko. Later at the Harvard Club she lectured on her technique - a remarkable artist whose special interest is in illustrating musicians while they perform.
A new EBP initiative –the collaboration of children from two countries - resulted in one of the festival’s most exciting events, the production of “Brundibar,” a children’s opera which was originally performed 55 times in the Terezin concentration camp during WWII. American students from the Lincoln Elementary School in Brookline and Russian kids from the prestigious “Zazerkalie” Theatre in St. Petersburg, spent a week together rehearsing, performing, and sharing after-school activities. The opera was performed at the Lincoln School (10/27 and 10/28) and at Boston University (10/29).
The middle part of the festival calendar was filled with a series of “Concerts with Historic Commentaries.” These were presentations of musical events dedicated to commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust: Jennifer Thomas presented “Different Trains,” a creative work of the American composer Steve Reich at Boston University and Brookline High School (10/28); “Bridge to America,” a panel discussion by survivors of the fascist oppression of WWII with musical accompaniment (10/29); a reflection on her family experiences under the Nazis by Rosalie Gerut called “We Are Here” (11/4); original music by Boston composers Matti Kovler and Ruth Lomon (11/3), and a deeply moving presentation at the Goethe Institute of Boston by the German Consul General Friedrich L. Loehr and the talented Moscow pianist, Jacob Katsnelson, of the music of Viktor Ullmann, victim of the Holocaust (11/1). Jacob also performed a program of Rameau, Janachek and Chopin, at Harvard University’s Lowell House (10/31) and in the intimate setting of the home of Dr John Silber, Boston University President Emeritus (10/29).
A group of Russian librarians from St. Petersburg came to Boston for a second time to study the ways in which American education prepares librarians to work with elementary students. They toured the campuses of Tufts University (11/5), Boston College (11/7) spent a day in discussion with students and teachers at Simmons College known for its outstanding Libraries and Information Science Program (11/8) and then visited Brookline High School and Park School in Brookline, a private school offering perhaps the best training in library science for young students.
Two other special offerings of the Educational Bridge Project’s 18th festival were several lectures at Boston University and local community centers on the “Beatles” and “Jazz in Russia” by Professor Zina Kartasheva of the Moscow University of Arts and Culture, and the opening at Boston University’s Mugar Library of a unique exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of prima ballerina Galina Ulanova. This exhibit was put together by the former Russian dancer, Tamara Bogdanova, now living in Boston, who had danced with the world renowned Ulanova in the 1940’s.
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