April 15, 2024
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World-Class Arts Couple Coming to Congregation Beth Sholom in Teaneck

On May 11 at 7:30 p.m., Steve Reich, who has been called our greatest living composer (New York Times and The New Yorker), and his wife, Beryl Korot, one of the pioneering video artists of our time, will be showing excerpts from their video opera, “The Cave”. This theater of ideas uses video, music, and the spoken word to explore the life and legacy of Abraham and the importance of The Cave of Machpelah, a volatile site holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. “The Cave” has been referred to in Time Magazine as “a fascinating glimpse of what opera might be like in the 21st century.”

“The Cave” is the culmination of a number of individual works by Reich and Korot that draw upon their Jewish heritage. Among Reich’s more than 50 musical works, several use compositional tools such as textual chanting and Jewish themes (e.g., Tehillim, Different Trains, and Daniel). Similarly, Korot’s videos incorporate Jewish texts and history (e.g., Dachau, Etty, and Babel).

Steve Reich has won the Pulitzer Prize in music, as well as two Grammy Awards and the Gold Medal in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Steven Sondheim called Reich his favorite composer. According to the Guardian “There’s just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them.”

Beryl Korot was the founding co-editor of Radical Software in 1970, a publication designed to show the potential of the new video medium. Her work is in both private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Modern in London. Her works have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum and many other leading museums in the United States and Europe.

Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald has called Steve and Beryl the “mother and father of Beginners’ Services” founded during the mid-1970s for people with limited synagogue experience while the couple was studying Bible with him at Lincoln Square Synagogue. Steve went on to study biblical Hebrew, advanced grammar, and cantillation at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Buchwald noted that Steve, who is now an observant Jew and studies Torah regularly, is not only a world-class musician, but also “a world-class Jew.”

In a moderated conversational format, Reich and Korot will describe their roots, working process and current interests.

This program is generously sponsored by the Alfred and Rose Buchman Endowment for the Arts at Congregation Beth Sholom in Teaneck (354 Maitland Avenue). The program is free and open to the public. No advance reservations are necessary.

Reuben M. Baron and Joan Boykoff Baron are writers for artcritical.com, the online magazine of art and ideas.

By Reuben M. Baron and Joan Boykoff Baron

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