Celebration of Life for Ernest Bloch II

This special event will take place on Thursday, November 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Lincoln Recital Hall at Portland State University.


In Memoriam Ernest Bloch II

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Ernest Bloch II (‘Ernie’ - known also as ‘Jody’) – grandson of composer Ernest Bloch - on Friday 10 August at the age of 79, following a severe stroke. He and his partner Judy had recently returned to their home in Portland, Oregon, from the Ceremony of Dedication of the Monument to his grandfather’s memory at the Ernest Bloch Memorial Wayside, Agate Beach, Newport, Oregon, in which he (and I) had participated. He had the pleasure and satisfaction of meeting with numerous family members and friends, some of whom he had not seen for some years; so there was a tangible feeling of reunion which everyone present at this event was able to observe and enjoy.

 

Ernie was born to Ivan (the eldest child of Ernest and Marguerite Bloch) and Marianna (of Dutch-Jewish ancestry) in November 1938, and grew up in Portland. Aspects of his early family life are vividly and touchingly described in his ‘Reminiscences of My Grandfather’, the Foreword to Ernest Bloch Studies (pp. xiv-xx), in which the following biographical details also appear (p. xi): ‘After graduating from Portland State University, he engaged in a business career, directing economic planning and development for the airline industry. He then joined an electric energy corporation managing government and public affairs areas. He describes his mission in life as ‘To have Ernest Bloch’s music heard.’

  

Despite having contracted polio at the age of five, and being physically restricted ever since that time, Ernie led a full and active life. In addition to his professional work in the field of philanthropy, he was a popular and highly respected chairman of numerous cultural organizations in Oregon over the years.

I first came to know him in 1995 when he and his aunt Suzanne, Ernest Bloch’s elder daughter, came to London to attend the performance of Bloch’s Avodath Hakodesh (Sacred Service), presented in St. Paul’s Cathedral by the Jewish Music Institute and conducted by Yehudi Menuhin. Ernie and I remained firm friends over the succeeding years, meeting periodically in Portland or Newport, and speaking frequently over the phone about Bloch matters and exchanging family news. I shall always remember the enormous warmth of his friendship, his ready wit, and his sparkling expression. He was an immense inspiration to everyone who came into contact with him: a role model in how to cope with adversity without complaint - and how to bring happiness to others. To have known Ernie is a true blessing, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to stay and spend quality time with Ernie and Judy in Portland during the last three days of my visit to Oregon last month.

 

We extend our sincerest condolences to Judy; to his daughter Suzanne and her family: husband Richard, children Heidi, Emily and Jackson; his son Peter; and to his sister Joni. In the picture which I took only a few weeks ago, we see Ernie Bloch (right), next to his partner, Judy Buffo. Next to her (right to left): Suzanne Bloch Boyer, Suzanne’s husband Richard (behind), Jackson (in front), Emily, Heidi.     Alex Knapp, August 2018


DEDICATION OF ERNEST BLOCH MEMORIAL WAYSIDE

The dedication of the Ernest Bloch Memorial Wayside took place on July 21, 2018. New to the wayside is a monument, benches and an interpretive sign, located at the south end of the wayside. The installation will now bear the name of the street sign at the entrance to the wayside: Ernest Bloch Place. Visitors to Newport will now be able to stop at the wayside and learn about the composer. 

 [Photo of Ernest Bloch Place. Dedicated July 21, 2018.]


Bloch's 1924 "Prayer"

GERMAN PARLIAMENT COMMEMORATES HOLOCAUST

Auschwitz survivor Anikta Lasker-Wallfisch addresses Bundestag

Lasker-Wallfisch's speech was preceded by a musical recital of the 1924 piece "Prayer" by Ernest Bloch, with Lasker-Wallfisch's son Raphael Wallfisch playing the cello. 

Read more at http://www.dw.com/en/german-parliament-commemorates-holocaust/a-42378576


• Essays by leading scholars on Bloch cover all periods of his creative output and its reception around the world • Offers unique insights, through firsthand knowledge, into the composer's character and personal development • Provides a reliable and comprehensive resource for Bloch and his music, correcting errors in previous sources.

Contents

Foreword: reminiscences of my grandfather Ernest Bloch, II; Chronology; Alphabetical list of Bloch's published and unpublished works Alexander Knapp; Bloch resources: recordings in the age of the Internet Stanley Henig; Introduction Norman Solomon; 1. From Geneva to New York: radical changes in Ernest Bloch's view of himself as a 'Jewish composer' during his twenties and thirties Alexander Knapp; 2. The 'suffering and greatness' of Ernest Bloch: concepts of the composer as genius Klára Móricz; 3. Bloch, Wagner and creativity: refutation and vindication Malcolm Miller; 4. Sacred service: the mass Bloch never wrote, the two that Leonard Bernstein did write, and Shulamit Ran's Credo/Ani Ma'Amin David Schiller; 5. Oregon years: the man and his music David Z. Kushner; 6. 'The future alone will be the judge': Ernest Bloch's epic journeys between Utopia and Dystopia Philip V. Bohlman; 7. The reception of Bloch's music in Palestine/Israel to 1948 Jehoash Hirshberg; 8. Bloch's reception and his standing in Israel since 1954 Zecharia Plavin; 9. A performance history of Bloch's opera Macbeth: Paris 1910-Manhattan 2014 Stanley Henig; 10. King Solomon and the Baal Shem Tov: traditional elements in Bloch's musical representation of two iconic personalities from Jewish history Alexander Knapp; 11. Postscript: the legacy Norman Solomon.

Contributors

Ernest Bloch, II, Alexander Knapp, Stanley Henig, Norman Solomon, Klára Móricz, Malcolm Miller, David Schiller, David Z. Kushner, Philip V. Bohlman, Jehoash Hirshberg, Zecharia Plavin


Exploring the Legacy of Ernest Bloch:

Past, Present, Future

The Ernest Bloch Legacy Project is composed mostly of individuals who live in and near Newport, Oregon, where Ernest Bloch lived during the last eighteen years of his life. As noted above, we are currently working on the planning for the formal dedication of the Ernest Bloch Memorial Wayside.  We are also hoping to update the bronze plaque on the Ernest Bloch Memorial, which was originally dedicated in 1976.  We are also looking forward to working with the Lincoln County Historical Society in creating a display to accompany the dedication activities in 2018.


The International Ernest Bloch Society

The International Ernest Bloch Society invites you to become a member. Go to www.ErnestBlochSociety.org to learn more about membership. 


 Bloch Discography!

We would like to ackowledge the long-term dedication of Bloch discographer, Claude Torres.  Find the "Discography" tab to the left!

Claude Torres of Montpellier, France, has assembled a fine array of references for the Bloch scholar on his website. This includes several sections, including a comprehensive discography with biographical information, a chronology of the works, and an alphabetical listing of works.  He can regularly inform you of new offerings if you sign up for his periodic email messages by contacting him at <claude.torres1@sfr.fr>.

Thank you Claude!


 Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and . . .

Just over seventy-seven years ago a man was driving up the Oregon coast, having just completed a series of lectures at UC Berkeley. (See "The Man in the Long Woolen Cape" at The Ernest Bloch I Knew" tab above) He was on his way back to his son's home in Oswego.  He found himself stopping in Agate Beach along the beautiful Oregon coast. During his visit he discovered a property which intrigued him.  

This was a man who several years before, in 1937, had a society formed in his honor.  The members of this society included such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Sir Thomas Beecham, Serge Koussevitzky, Havelock Ellis, Romain Rolland, Sir Donald Francis Tovey, and Bruno Walter. This would become the most permanent homesite this nomadic composer would ever have. He had spent the previous 9 years living off of a trust established by patrons of the arts in San Francisco. He had left his post as administrator and teacher of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (1925-1930), where he had landed after five years heading the Cleveland Institute of Music (1920 – 1925). Bloch achieved American citizenship in 1924. He returned to Europe in 1930 to compose full time, returning to the U.S. finally in 1939 when the Hitlerian menace began to threaten all of Europe. 

This man who, during his lifetime, was considered the fourth B after Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, would commence the third phase of his musical life in Agate Beach. During his illustrious career, which took him from his birthplace of Geneva, Switzerland to the place of his final resting in Agate Beach, this man was celebrated throughout the western world for his unique musical compositions.  

It has been 70 years since that summer of 1941 when Ernest Bloch first arrived on these shores.  He was at the height of his career.  All metrics which can be mustered give testimony to the impact this composer has had on his profession.  Perhaps the number of recordings give the scope: about 850 CDs and 400 LPs.  Perhaps the number of major awards.  Perhaps when you search the name Ernest Bloch online to discover nearly 600,000 hits.  

During the past several decades numerous individuals have considered how the house where Bloch lived could become a national historic site.  The house is currently owned by a private party, who would have to be approached with a serious offer of purchase.  In 2009 the house was finally put on the National Register of Historic Places.  This was a recommendation from the Oregon Historic Preservation Commission.  At the time, it was even suggested that the house be nominated to be a National Historic Landmark. 

We who live in Newport now have the opportunity to help realize this dream.  Not a "George Washington Slept Here" story, rather a considerable 18 years of major compositions.  During this time, 1941 to 1959, Bloch, though physically removed from the great musical centers of the world, would not be forgotten. That Bloch was so widely honored in his own lifetime attests to the fact that his achievements did not go unnoticed by many of his contemporaries.  Today there are societies honoring the composer in the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Israel, and major efforts to preserve his legacy in many other countries, including France, China and Japan.

Anyone who has ever stepped foot in the house can attest to the spiritual feeling immediately evident when entering the space where some of the world's greatest musicians came to pay their respects, including Yehudi Menuhin.

Anyone who reads this account and feels so moved to volunteer their interest in helping the community create a truly important national historic site is invited to contact Frank Geltner on the Contact Us link to this website.


 "Rue Ernest Bloch"

 Contrasting street signs can be found in the two towns marking the beginning and ending of the life of Ernest Bloch: 1880 to 1959.  Above is the sign in Geneva, Switzerland.  The photo for Agate Beach (Newport), Oregon, thanks to the Newport City Council, is posted at the Photo Resources tab.  That sign now marks a point on Highway 101 in Newport (Agate Beach), Oregon near the home where Ernest Bloch lived from 1941 until his death in 1959. That sign was temporarily removed to make improvements to the Ernest Bloch Memorial Wayside.


 The Ernest Bloch I Knew

"The Ernest Bloch I Knew: The Agate Beach Years" by Helen Johnston Kintner

Helen Johnston was "a private student and close friend of Ernest Bloch" for the last thirteen years of his life. "My goal in putting this story together is simply to offer some glimpses into the inner dynamics of those final years of Ernest and Marguerite Blochs' lives in Agate Beach, Oregon, from an insider's perspective."

It was published on August 4, 2009 (Heirloom Edition of 100 copies) by the author in Oregon. Anyone interested in securing a copy should "Contact Us" by link to the left.


 

A worldwide celebration (International Jubilee Festival 2009) of Ernest Bloch’s works commemorating the 50th anniversary of his death was initiated by the Jewish Music Institute in 2007 at Cambridge University. "Ernest Bloch Studies" from Cambridge University Press is the culmination of that event in 2007.

Musical organizations large and small, including opera companies, orchestras, choirs, ensembles, soloists and venues worldwide were invited to include Bloch’s music in their programs for 2009-2010  – and beyond.  If you are programming Bloch and would like your event listed on this website's "Calendar Watch," please contact festival@ernestbloch.org . To begin the 50th year the International Ernest Bloch Society was launched on July 8, 2008 in London.

Keep your eyes on the calendar link to the left for day to day events scheduled far and wide honoring Ernest Bloch.

This International Jubilee Festival of performances and workshops was coordinated by the Jewish Music Institute SOAS University of London, Joint Presidents Lady Solti and Leopold de Rothschild CBE, by the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, and by the Ernest Bloch Legacy Foundation, Agate Beach, Oregon, Chairman Ernest Bloch II.

Please contact festival@ernestbloch.org for information on having events posted to the calendar, or gaining authorization to post events from your country of origin.

International Committee:
Ernest Bloch II, Dr Frank J.M. Geltner (USA); Alain Hirsch. Oliver Margulies (Switzerland); Professor Dalia Atlas, Professor Jehoash Hirshberg (Israel); Ms Li Jin (China); Mr Akinori Itoh (Japan). Norman Solomon, Alexander Knapp, J Audrey Ellison (UK)
 


 

Producing events featuring Ernest Bloch and his music?

(Let us know details of upcoming events and we will add to "calendar watch" in vertical navigation bar to left - or contact us to request adding an item to the "calendar watch.")


Site last updated August 11, 2018.


Visit the Ocean18.net website for the "Ernest Bloch Legacy Project" link.  

 Ernest Bloch Legacy logo print created by Lucienne Bloch Dimitroff from original photograph by Walt Dyke.


The Ernest Bloch Legacy Project
P. O. Box 1215, Newport, Oregon 97365
 
www.ernestbloch.org · Email Us

All material ©2007-2017 by Ernest Bloch Foundation and the Ernest Bloch Family. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.