April 16, 2004
Scott Brickman, associate professor of music at the University of Maine at Fort Kent has returned from Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Massachusetts where he was recognized for one of his musical pieces performed at the Horace Mann Auditorium on the Bridgewater campus.
The concert entitled "A Musical Response to Injustice" was performed by Deborah Nemko on piano as part of the Faculty Concert Series.
Nemko performed works by composers who felt compelled to react to historical, social, and political events. The resulting musical masterpieces included three world premieres of works by Brickman, Salil Sachdev, and Carol Nicholeris- expressive pieces invoking the power of the human spirit
Nemko, an accomplished concert pianist, has recently performed at recitals in Belgium, Prague, and throughout the United States. She won the Bridgewater State College Jordan D. Fiore Research in World Justice Prize in 2003.
Brickman's Daughters of Israel was written especially for Nemko's performance.
"Since my conversion to Judaism some 11 years ago, I have read the section on Martrydom in the Mahzor every Yom Kippur. However, only during last year's service was I struck by the Hillel Bavli poem, Tavalnu et beasranu (Clean and pure), about the 93 Martyrs of Israel," said Brickman.
"The story goes, that there were 93 women in Agadut Israel - the Daughters of Israel, who were given an ultimatum by the Nazis. Rather than cave to the Nazis' demands, the maidens choose to take their own lives," said Brickman.
While researching Bavli, and the poem, Brickman had to grapple with the issue that Bavli may have fabricated the incident on which the poem is supposedly based. Nevertheless, he felt moved by the idea of "saying Kaddish for those who have no one to say it for them" to pay homage to the sentiments of the Bavli's poem.
"Additionally, I suspect that the experience of seeing the play Golda's Balcony over the immediate past winter holiday season, bore in my thoughts while working on this piece, Agadut Israel - the Daughters of Israel. Since I am Moshe ben Avraham, Israel, my three daughters, are "daughters of Israel", said Brickman.
"While I do not ascribe to musical essentialism, in this piece, there is a reinterpretation of material from minor to major and atonal to tonal. I hoped that this would have the affect of putting a positive feeling on the dramatic narrative," said Brickman. "My daughters, the "Daughters of Israel", and my family's affirmation of our Jewishness, is a living testimony that those who have sought harm to the Jewish people have not succeeded."
Among Brickman's other compositions are Snowball (2003) for violin, guitar, and piano which premiered in June by the Strung Out Trio at the campus of Eastern Mediterranean University in Gazimagusa (Famagusta) in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and Vacationland, which had been featured in three performances during 2002, in Southampton, United Kingdom in September, at the Northern Arizona University in October and in November at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse.
Brickman also composed Sketches of Maine in 1999, which has been recorded by pianist Jeffrey Jacob and available on New Ariel AE 005 CD.
Brickman who was born in Oak Park, Illinois holds a B.M. from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Music Theory/Composition from Brandeis University. His music has been performed in major cities throughout the United States as well as in Brazil, Canada, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Yugoslavia.
He teaches music theory and history at UMFK, is the co-chair of the New England Region of the Society of Composers, Inc. and is also treasurer of the Northeast Chapter of the College Music Society.
Brickman has taught at the Chautauqua Institution, as well as having served as a reader for the High School Advanced Placement Music Exam.