Shostakovich at 100

Image relating to Shostakovich at 100
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Location: 
Valley Beth Shalom

As many of you already know, Professor Joseph Dorfman passed away at the Jewish Music Commission concert on Wednesday, June 7th. He had just completed an amazing performance of his trio, In memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich, which concludes with huge chords in the piano and strings that recreate stirring Russian church bells tolling for Shostakovich. It was like some Dostoevsky nightmare then, that during intermission, directly after his performance, Joseph himself suddenly collapsed and was unable to be revived.

This man was a giant in composition. He played a huge role in advancing new music in Israel, and his works were regularly commissioned and performed in Europe and Russia. His passing, at age 65, is a tremendous loss to the entire world music community.

Dear Dick,
What an emotional evening we had: a splendid first
half with such
a strong piece of music in the trio. I watched Dr.
Dorfman leave
after the stunning performance. His eyes were glowing
and he
had a triumphal smile on his face.
And also such a tragedy.
I prayed for his health last night. Tonight I will
pray for his wife.
Carol Kaufman

Another sad reminder of how transient life is and how important it is to live, love, and mend the world everyday...we never know. Love bp

E. Composer JOSEPH DORFMAN (1940 - Wednesday, June 7, 2006)
passing of a musical giant

RUSSELL STEINBERG wrote on Thursday, "It is in shock and sadness that
I write to you of composer Joseph Dorfman's sudden death last night.
To the many of you who attended last night's concert, know that he was
thrilled and touched by your love and enthusiasm for his music.

Joseph's performance of his imaginative piano trio along with Mark
Kashper and Barry Gold from the LA Phil was dramatic. The piece was
written in memory of Dmitri Shostakovich, soon after that composer's
death in fact. Joseph told me just days ago that for him Bach and
Shostakovich were the two great musical spirits. If I remember his
words correctly, he said that Bach took music from heaven and brought
it to earth, and Shostakovich took the music from the earth and sent
it back to heaven.

Joseph's trio concludes with huge chords in the piano and strings that
recreate stirring Russian churchbells, tolling for Shostakovich. It
was like out of some Dostoevsky nightmare then, that during
intermission directly after his performance, Joseph himself suddenly
collapsed and was unable to be revived.

This man was a giant in composition. He played a huge role in
advancing new music in Israel and his works were regularly
commissioned and performed in Europe and Russia. His passing, at age
65, is a tremendous loss to the entire world music community. I feel
so fortunate to have known this genius for the short time we had. For
those of you at the concert, I am so happy that you had the experience
of hearing him perform his music."

Chairman of Jewish Music Commission L.A., RICHARD A. BRAUN, MD, wrote,
"As you have been told, the Jewish Music Commission presented a
concert last night celebrating the 100th anniversary of Shostakovich,
and which featured Professor Joseph Dorfman of the Buchman-Mehta
School of Music at Tel Aviv University. The first half of the program
concluded with his trio in memory of Shostakovich. It was a fantastic
performance by him and two great musicians from the LA Philharmonic.

"During the intermission, Professor Dorman was radiant and was talking
with friends and family in the foyer, when he suddenly collapsed. The
Emergency Rescue Team was called and arrived within five minutes. He
was taken to Encino Hospital, but could not be revived.

"It was a tragic culmination of a wonderful experience, watching him
and his colleagues perform a tremendously complex work with such joy
and enthusiasm. It's nice to think that he was so happy at that last
moment, but he leaves a great void in the world of music, in Israel
and throughout the world. May his memory be for a blessing."

Dear Friends,

Altho I did not make it to this program, I had intended to, since my father, Sidney J. Lawrence, was a devotee of Shostakovich's life, politics and music. I am a musician, as is my sister, who lives in Israel and earned a master's degree in music at several colleges there. I sent her your message of this morning and she has replied (below).

The news affects my family too. We send condolences to all those whose lives Professor Dorman has touched.

Sincerely,
Nadia Lawrence, DMA
Santa Monica, CA
***********************************************
From Gila Gilboa, Rehovot, Israel:
Oh my G-d!!
I didn't hear the 8:00 news--it was probably on there... Yes, I knew him. I studied with him at the Academy of Music, then called the Rubin Academy which is part of Tel Aviv Univ. He loved my work in counterpoint (Bach) and said that my counterpoint had the same mathematical analysis as Bach's! He was a good man. GG

NADIA LAWRENCE wrote:

Dear Gila,

Just rec'd this message and am forwarding it in case you know this professor and have not heard about him.

I had planned to attend the concert, but instead went to another performance last night.

Will this news affect anyone you know personally?

Nadia
Baruch Dayan Emet- May HIS Memory always remain as a Blessing. He will continue to live on through
His music and His teachings.

Dr. Rabbi-Hazzan David J. Kane.

Dear Dick,
What a terrible tragic moment for us all and especially for you who heroically tried your utter most, to revive him. Irma and I were sitting in the Balcony upstairs, and witness the drama from the second floor. Irma and I like to express our condolences to Mrs.Dorfman upon her loss. It is incomprehensible that from one moment to the other life is altered from life to death. The only words of consolation I can think of in this moment is from Tehillim, Pitchu Li
Open the gates of righteousness for me
I will enter and praise God
This is the gateway to Hashem
Through which the righteous may enter
Psalm 118:19

Sincerely,

Benny & Irma Sommerfeld
Thank you. Dick. I am so glad you were there and made such a valiant attempt to help him. My sense is that it was a thrilling evening for him as he walked past me several times with enthusiasm and a lilt in his step. I was watching him as he was talking with his friends and I believe with you and witnessed his collapse. I am so sorry that he died. it has had a tremendous impact on me, seeing someone so exuberant and then gone in a second. Please let me know if the commission will be doing something in his name, e.g. sending a donation to the School of Music at Tel Aviv University. I know that there was a donation box available last night, but the commission and the attendees may want to contribute in his memory.

Love,
Paula

Program: 
Joseph Dorfman, concert pianist, Shostakovich scholar Buchman-Mehta School of Music Tel Aviv University; Hila Plitman, soprano; Alma Mora, mezzo; Mark Salatzman, tenor; David Kasap, accordion; Mark Kashper, violin; Barry Gold, cello; Neal Brostoff,Piano. A Bouquet of Yiddish Folk Songs; From Yiddish Folk Poetry, Opus 79 - Shostakovich; Trio, in memoriam Dimitri Shostakovich - Dorfman {Professor Dorman died during intermission - the Shostakovich songs were not performed}

Click on an image to see a bigger version.

Photo of Mark Saltzman
Photo of Alma Mora
Photo of Neal Brostoff, pianist
Photo of Chagall Related to Shostakovich "Yiddish Folk Poetry"
Photo of Chagall Related to Shostakovich "Yiddish Folk Poetry"
Photo of Chagall Related to Shostakovich "Yiddish Fold Poetry"
Photo of Russian Image related to Shostakovich "From Yiddish Folk Poetry"
Photo of Russian Image related to Shostakovich "From Yiddish Folk Poetry"
Photo of Russian Image related to Shostakovich "From Yiddish Folk Poetry"
Photo of Front Page of Program
Photo of Shostakovich
Photo of Professor Joseph Dorfman
Photo of Professor Joseph Dorfman