The Elie Siegmeister Society
c/o The Prof. Edgar H. Lehrman Memorial Foundation
for Ethics, Religion, Science and the Arts, Inc.
10 Nob Hill Gate, Roslyn, NY 11576
Tel. Mondays: (516) 626-0238
Other days: (516) 825-2939 [Court St. Music] FAX: (516) 256-4210
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan. 15, 2008
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Today is Elie Siegmeister's 99th birthday, and this is the 9th of our promised annual reports regarding the Elie Siegmeister Society, to which a number of us, beginning 9 years ago, pledged $10/yr. (or more) in support of the following goals, as many as possible to be achieved by the date of the Elie Siegmeister Centennial, Jan. 15, 2009:
1) publication & distribution of a complete catalog of works by and about Elie Siegmeister, incl. scores, books, articles, letters, recordings, tapes, videos, and oral histories;
2) premieres and recordings of all unperformed and unrecorded Siegmeister works;
3) completion and publication of an authorized biography of Siegmeister (1909-91);
4) preparation and publication of a critical edition of Siegmeister's works; and
5) an annual report on performances, recordings, and publications of Siegmeister's works, and progress toward all of the above.
This report represents item #5. Progress toward #1 is well under way: Leonard J. Lehrman and Kenneth O. Boulton have been working hard on the bio-bibliography of Elie for Scarecrow Press, to appear early in 2009, which will quote portions of letters from Elie to Leonard over the last 20 years of his life, and to Arthur Cohn over an even longer period, and will include a discography and works catalog. A draft of that catalog, in progress, was presented and distributed--courtesy of Carl Fischer--by Leonard at a presentation he gave on Elie's works at the joint convention of the Society for American Music and Music Library Association in Pittsburgh, Mar. 2, 2007. A small portion (under $100) of your contributions helped pay part of his expenses for that trip. The rest was paid by St. George's Church in Hempstead, where he was Music Director/Composer-in-Residence until this past September. The 2009 SAM convention will be held in Denver. We are hoping to present Elie's works there and at the American Music Research Center in Boulder, where we performed some of his music, and Marc Blitzstein's, in 2004 & 2005.
On Jan.1, 2008 Leonard became Music Director/Composer-in-Residence at United Methodist Church of Huntington & Cold Spring Harbor, where the celebration of Black History Month will begin with the singing of Elie's & Langston Hughes's "A New Wind A-Blowing" as the choral anthem for the 10:30am service, Sun. Feb. 3. Elie's & Langston's "Chalk Marks on the Sidewalk" will also be heard in Huntington, at the Cinema Arts Centre, as part of the Suffolk Peace Concert, Mar. 2, 2008 at 5:30pm, sung by our student Ijeoma Merenini, accompanied by Leonard, both of whom also performed it in her debut at PeaceSmiths in Amityville last Nov. 2. Earlier in the year, they performed it at Queens College May 6. She also performed it at a LICA student concert at Freeport Library Apr. 22, and at our annual Court Street Music recital in Valley Stream June 16, both times accompanied by Leonard's piano student Jasmine Choi, who also premiered Elie's "Harvest Time," and, in duet with Leonard, Elie's "Jamaica Lowdown."
Elie's & Langston's "Yes, No or Maybe" was included in our debut at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. June 3. And excerpts from The Mermaid in Lock No. 7 were included in a concert of Songs of Love & War, performed by tenor Gregory Mercer, Helene, and Leonard, at the Jericho Library Jan. 21, Bryant Library in Roslyn Feb. 4, and the People's Voice Cafe Feb. 17. "Christmas Is Coming" was not performed, as planned, at St. George's, but was announced and presumably performed (though unconfirmed) Dec. 9 at Grace Church in Yorktown Heights, NY.
New Music New York presented the world premiere of Elie's "Abe Lincoln in Springfield" Mar. 4 at Vertical Player Repertory in Brooklyn, and Mar. 6 at St. Peter's in Manhattan, on a program that also included his "Anne Rutledge," "Nancy Hanks," and "Strange Funeral in Braddock." Stanley Drucker, who's retiring from the NY Philharmonic, last performed the "Slow Drag" movement of Elie's Clarinet Concerto--with piano--at Suntory Hall in Tokyo 10/31/04. Naomi Drucker tells us that every concert of the American Chamber Ensemble in the 2008-09 season will include at least one work of Elie's. Bob Spiotto intends to perform "Dick Whittington & His Cat" at the Hofstra Cultural Center, in a concert organized by Herb Deutsch that is to include Leonard & Helene. "Let's see what we can all do in waving the flag for Elie!" Stanley just said to us on the phone. Other groups intending to program Siegmeister in 2009 include the Great Neck Choral Society, L.I. Choral Society, Hofstra Symphony & Chorus, and Queens College. Waiting to be heard from are: NYU, Brooklyn College, and the National Opera Association.
A song without words Elie wrote in April 1955 that he called "Untitled" was premiered, with words by Leonard, at La Pommerie outside Montreal by Leonard on Aug. 17, and by Shawn Norton & Kim Rich at Community Cabaret at Community Church in Manhattan, Sept. 28.
Bridge Records put out a delightful children's record by Daniel Dorff, Elie's former student (and Leonard's), who writes: "Elie was the angel who lined me up into that path and got my first commission for a professional orchestra," namely Carter Nice and the Sacramento Symphony, which premiered Elie's Symphony #8. (Of Elie's 9 symphonies, only #7 remains unperformed.)
The People's Music Network/Songs of Freedom & Struggle, which featured a workshop with Elie & Pete Seeger in 1989, intends to feature Elie in its Jan. 2009 Gathering. Also that month, Alan Mandel plans to perform the Piano Concerto at the Library of Congress Jan. 17, and the Metropolitan Philharmonic Chorus is to perform "I Have A Dream" on 3 successive Sundays: in Huntington, a venue in Nassau County, and St. Marks-in-the-Bowery in Manhattan, with soloists Ivan Thomas & Lars Woodul, with Mimi Stern-Wolfe at the piano, conducted by Leonard.
In order to raise money for that event, and for an album on Original Cast Records of songs by Elie (see program below), we are offering the following premiums to Society members:
Capstone CD #CPS-8667 Helene Williams Sings MORE Songs of Love (1999),
incl. 3 of Elie's;
Original Cast CD #OC 6055 Abel Meeropol Centennial Concert (2003),
incl. 8 numbers by Elie;
Metropolitan Philharmonic Chorus Concert at Great Neck House, 2/26/06 CD,
incl. 4 by Elie;
Manhattan premiere of "I Have A Dream" & world prem. of "Lonely Star" 1/15/89 DVD.
This last item has been generously licensed by Carl Fischer, with fees waived.
For contributions of $35 or more, choose any 1 item.
For contributions of $50 or more, choose 2.
For $75 or more, choose 3. For $100+ get all 4.
Tax-deductible checks should be made out to:
The Prof. Edgar H. Lehrman Memorial Foundation -
with the memo: Elie Siegmeister Society
Please give as generously as you can. Thanks in advance for everything.
Do let us hear from you.
With all good wishes -
(Dr.) Leonard J. Lehrman & Helene Williams
Co-Founders, The Elie Siegmeister Society
Program for Original Cast Records Siegmeister Centennial CD:
As I Was Goin' Along (Edward Eager, from SING OUT, SWEET LAND!) 1944, rev. 1967
Johnny Appleseed (Rosemary Benet) "for Miriam, aged 4 weeks" 3/20/1940
Euclid (Vachel Lindsay) "to Hannah" 4/15/1940
Nancy Hanks (Rosemary Benet) "for Hannah on her birthday" 6/27/1941
Abraham Lincoln (Rosemary & Stephen Vincent Benet) 9/20/1941
(sketch compl. by LJL, 2006)
Anne Rutledge (Leo Israel, pseud. Victor Lear/Leo Daniels) 12/1941
Lonely Star (composer) 6/6/1950
Floatin' Down the River (composer) 1/1952
Ballad of Adam and Eve (from THE WIZARD OF ALTOONA) (Langston Hughes) 1951
Yes, No, or Maybe (Langston Hughes) "for Hannah on her birthday" 6/27/1951
Two Songs of the City (Langston Hughes):
Childhood Memories 6/29/1951
Chalk Marks on the Sidewalk 7/12/1951
No Rose Need Ask (duet from THE WIZARD OF ALTOONA) (Langston Hughes) 1951
Must There Be a Reason? (from THE MERMAID IN LOCK NO. 7) (Edward Mabley) 1958
Dublin Song (from THE PLOUGH & THE STARS) (Edward Mabley, after O'Casey) 1963-9
Isabella's Broom Dance (from MARQUESA OF O) (Norman Rosten, after Kleist) 1979-86
For My Daughters (Norman Rosten) 3/1-5/15/1952
Have You a Question?; Rain; May I Escape?; Good Morning;
What Did You Do Today? Saying Good Night; Growing ; Goodbye, Goodbye
Languages (Miriam Waddington) "to Mimi" 9/16/1987
Outside My Window (Kim Rich) (2 versions) 12/21/1989
To a Little Girl (composer) "for Lauren Kabat" (2 versions) 6/3/1942, 6/3/1943
Untitled 4/1955 (Leonard Lehrman, 6/2007)
Elie Siegmeister (Leonard Lehrman, 1/1984)