Maria Newman, Composer
On April 29, 2018, the LAJS will perform Bernstein at 100/Israel at 70 in the Gindi Auditorium of the American Jewish University. This concert will celebrate Bernstein's centenary and Israel's 70th birthday, bridged by a world premiere of a newly commissioned work by composer Maria Newman.
Recognized and Commended by the United States Congress, Maria Newman is an award-winning composer, violinist, violist and pianist. As an Annenberg Foundation Composition Fellow, a long-standing multiple Mary Pickford Foundation Composition Fellow and violin soloist/featured composer in such diverse venues as the United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C., Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia's Academy of Music, Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Ms. Newman has become a visible symbol in modern classical music and makes her living from commissions and performance. Her works include large-scale orchestral pieces, ballet scores, chamber music, choral and vocal works, and new scores for restored classic silent films.
Youngest daughter of nine-time Academy Award-winning film composer Alfred Newman, she is a distinguished member of one of the most famous and influential musical families in Hollywood. She recently spoke and performed on a CBS Sunday Morning feature entitled A Family of Note: The Newmans of Hollywood. Ms. Newman received her Bachelor of Music degree (Magna cum Laude) from the Eastman School of Music and her Master of Music degree from Yale University.
The LAJS has commissioned this fine composer to write a special tribute for Leonard Bernstein’s centenary and Israel’s 70th birthday. Conceived by Dr. Green as a bridge between the music of Bernstein and the traditional and concert music of Israel, Maria Newman's The Baton of Hope combines the two commemorations in a work for soloists, orchestra and narration.
The narration for The Baton of Hope was created by David Bruskin, a Los Angeles-based motion picture story analyst, writer, editor, and educator. He worked for 25 years as a union story analyst at the Hollywood studios and has lectured on the topic at various universities (including UCLA) and film institutions (including the Directors Guild of America). Mr. Bruskin is the author of Behind the Three Stooges: The White Brothers and has written screenplays, children's books, and nationally-aired docudrama episodes and music videos. He also created, wrote, and produced the song parody revue The Hollywood Hills.
The emotional heart of The Baton of Hope centers on Bernstein’s historic concert of November 20, 1948, in Beersheva, a strategically located town in the Negev desert. Thirty-five intrepid volunteers from the Israel Philharmonic joined their conductor on a journey from Jerusalem in an armored bus. Wounded soldiers were brought in from local hospitals to join the men and women of the front-line army, forming an audience so massive that the nearby Egyptian army retreated in fear of imminent attack!
For the rest of his life, Leonard Bernstein maintained his passionate relationship with the country and its people. The love was mutual.
Maria Newman and the LAJS wish to thank The Leonard Bernstein Office and the Bernstein family for permission to use his own words in the narration of The Baton of Hope.