In recognition of the centennial of the death of David Hochstein comes the world premiere of Stuart Loeb’s “BRAVURA: The Life and Death of David Hochstein.”
Hosted by the Multi-Use Community Cultural Center and Hummingbird Theatre Co., Rush-Henrietta seventh-grade student Reece Gurell (above) will star as Hochstein in his younger years and James Heath portrays Hochstein as an adult.
Hochstein was born to Jewish immigrants in 1892 and grew into a violin prodigy. He studied with the best teachers in Europe, thanks to Emily Sibley Watson and George Eastman’s patronage.
Hochstein played in what would become the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, taught at what would become the Eastman School of Music and made his Carnegie Hall debut with a Stradivarius violin provided by Eastman.
Hochstein’s life was cut short when he enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight in the “Great War” in 1917 and was killed in the Forest of Argonne campaign.
“Most of all, I wanted to probe the question, ‘Why did he enlist?’ David had a deferment to support his mother, and his music career was really taking off,” says Loeb, a child psychiatrist and lifelong classical music enthusiast. “Then, when he was assigned to conduct the Army band, he requested officer training to become a second lieutenant so that he could fight instead. Why was he determined to be on the front lines?
“With the help of Tchaikovsky’s and Paganini’s music, the play brings Hochstein to life and explains how this great Rochester hero left his ‘bravura’ legacy as a performer, teacher and soldier,” Loeb says.
Directed by Donald Bartalo, “the story behind BRAVURA is haunting and tragic, the music is beautiful and it’s Rochester’s own history,” says Loeb. See website for full schedule of performances. bravuratheplay.com