A presentation by Eric Johnson, Cal Poly Professor Emeritus, on Ernest Bloch’s life, music, and photography, and his relationship with Alfred Stieglitz, father of modern photography. Concludes with a performance of Ernest Bloch’s From Jewish Life, featuring Susan Azaret Davies, piano.
Associated with the exhibit Johnson produced a book surveying Bloch’s photography. The first published survey including 80 of Bloch’s photographs,
“A Composer’s Vision: The Photographs of Ernest Bloch” is available to purchase at Blurb.
Music: A Sequence of Ten Cloud Photographs
One hundred years ago, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) considered the father of American Photography, invited his protege Paul Strand to edit the 1922 edition of the publication Manuscripts (MSS.) Strand and Stieglitz posed the question: Can a photograph have the significance of art? An invitation was sent out to 40 prominent people in the arts to respond. This question, which graced the cover came at a time when American artists were attempting to forge a distinctively modern style, proclaiming the machine age as their era. However, when artists of this period were producing paintings with streamlined depictions of urban and industrial landscapes, photographs of the same subjects were not necessarily considered art. Stieglitz, since the late 1890’s, had been trying to convince the art world otherwise. He argued that the camera was not just a machine that took photographs, it was a tool for artists just like a paintbrush. Nineteen Twenty-Two was the moment Stieglitz and Strand launched the question in order to provoke a dialogue with the luminaries of the art world, forty of whom responded. Among those who replied were Marcel Duchamp, Carl Sandberg, Georgia O’Keeffe, Waldo Frank, and the composer Ernest Bloch.
January – May 2011
A major exhibit of prints made by Eric Johnson from Ernest Bloch’s negatives was mounted at the Oregon Jewish Musuem in Portland in 2011. Including 40 prints made in 1974-75 from negatives dating from 1897-1955, the show is by far the most extensive survey of Bloch’s photographic work. See the installation here.
In June of 2009 Eric traveled to Washington DC to donate prints he made from Bloch’s negatives in the 1970’s to the Library of Congress. A collection of 102 prints covering 45 years of Bloch’s life were donated to the Music Division. This collection is the largest Bloch archive and this donation added significantly to the quality and depth of the LOC collection.
See a blog from the Music Division: “Remembering Ernest Bloch.”
Friday April 26, 2019 at 3 PM
Eric B. Johnson
H.P. Davidson Music Center, Rm 218
1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
A presentation by Eric Johnson, Cal Poly Professor Emeritus, on Ernest Bloch’s life, music, and photography, and his relationship with Alfred Stieglitz, father of modern photography. Concludes with a performance of Ernest Bloch’s From Jewish Life, featuring Andrew Davis, cello and Susan Azaret Davies, piano.
Saturday April 27, 2019 from 7 – 8 PM
Eric B. Johnson
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
1010 Broad Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
An informal discussion with Sita Milchev, granddaughter, Lucien Allen, great-granddaughter, and Eric Johnson about the life and times of Ernest Bloch, especially those years surrounding the composing of Avodath Hakodesh (Sacred Service). Hosted by Thomas Davis, music director and conductor of the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale.
Sunday April 28, 2019 at 3 PM
Eric B. Johnson
Harold Miossi Hall, Performing Arts Center
The San Luis Obispo Master Chorale and Orchestra, Thomas Davies, music director and conductor present Ernest Bloch’s Avodath Hakodesh, commissioned by Temple Emanu-El of San Francisco in 1929. Baritone Gregg Haueter sings the role of Cantor. Rabbi Janice Mehring, Congregation Our Tzafon, Atascadero, is featured as the minister.
Eric Johnson recently collaborated providing Ernest Bloch’s photographs for a video done by the Milken Archive of Jewish Music
The Jewish Community Library in San Francisco hosted a lecture by Eric Johnson on Ernest Bloch’s photography on May 8, 2012. The lecture was a rare occasion when Bloch’s direct decendants were in attendance including his four grandchildren Ernest Bloch II, Joni Metolius, Sita Milcev and Pencho Dimitroff along with Pencho’s son and wife and daughter.
Eric Johnson wrote an article about the beginning of his work with Ernest Bloch, and published it in Aperture Magazine in 1972, titled: A Composer’s Vision Photographs by Ernest Bloch (Eric Johnson, Aperture magazine 16.3).