Musicians to honor Robert Stern in concert

Musicians from the Department of Music and Dance and the Pioneer Valley will perform music by Amherst resident Robert Stern to honor him in concert on Sunday, April 3 at 4 p.m. in Bezanson Recital Hall. The concert will include seven vocal and instrument works, three of which will be world premieres.

Performers include singers William Hite, Marjorie Melnick, Paulina Stark and Kayla Werlin and pianists Deborah Gilwood, Estela Olevsky and Nadine Shank. Salvatore Macchia, contrabass, Arthur Cook, cello and Don Albo and Eduardo Leandro, percussion, will also perform.

Repertoire for the concert was composed between 1986 and 2004 and will include five works on Jewish themes. Three of those five relate directly to the Holocaust, which has ignited Stern''s creative energies throughout his career. The Holocaust-related works include the “Fantasy Variations” on a Maccabee Song, “Du bist wie eine Blume” and “My Blue Piano.”

Robert Stern taught composition and theory in the Department of Music and Dance from 1964 until retiring in 2002. His music has been widely performed in the United States, Europe, Japan and Israel. Stern’s recent commissions include the Library of Congress under the auspices of the McKim fund (a work for Joel Smirnoff, violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet), the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Apple Hill Chamber Players and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He was also commissioned to write a piece for the cello and piano duo of Joel Krosnick, cellist for the Juilliard String Quartet, and Gilbert Kalish.

Stern was educated at the University of Rochester, Eastman School, and UCLA. In addition to composition awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music and ASCAP, Stern has enjoyed many fellowships at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and the Millay Colony for the Arts.

Admission is $10 general public and $5 for students, senior citizens and children under 18. Tickets are available at the Fine Arts Center Box Office (545-2511).