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FAU Concert Celebrates Purim Season

            BOCA RATON, FL ( March 3 , 2011) – Florida Atlantic University’s department of music presents the concert “Celebrating Purim: Klezmer and More” performed by ensemble-in-residence  Klezmer East  on Sunday, March 13, at 3 p.m. in the University Theatre on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road. The concert is free with a suggested donation of $10.

            The first half of the concert will be a variety of Klezmer music presented by Klezmer East, which is directed by Paul Green. Then, in the second half, Green, clarinet ; Birgit Fioravante, soprano ; and Heather Coltman, piano , will perform Vashti, o r T he Whole Megillah by David Schiff . Green commissioned th is work a few years ago as a celebration of the Purim season.

S ubtitled “A Purim Shpiel,” the work is a retelling of the biblical story behind the Jewish holiday. Ahasuerus, the dim-witted king of Persia, falls under the counsel of the evil Haman, who nearly convinces him to destroy the Jewish people. But Schiff, who also fashioned the witty libretto, throws in a few delightful twists. For starters, he makes the king’s first wife, Vashti, a leading figure, turning the tale into a feminist drama of sorts. Then, he puts all the characters into the voice of a single singer/narrator, accompanied by an ‘orchestra’ of clarinet and piano.

As Charles Passy of The Palm Beach Post wrote, “Schiff spices up the highly theatrical score with lots of charming elements, including jazzy syncopations, Klezmer-like melodies and a Bernsteinesque Broadway hustle-bustle.  The result is a charmer of a work, one that resonates both as true opera—there are definable areas and stretches of recitative—and a truly unusual concert piece. Schiff’s clever craftsmanship is evident throughout: witness the brilliant clarinet cadenza at the end. But this is that rare contemporary score that hides its cleverness to reveal a real musicality.”

            For more information about the concert, call 561-297-3820.

- FAU -

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University , established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges : the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science . FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit .

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