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ROMP! 2005 offers a fresh look at Johannes Brahms

Reed College's annual symposium on music and the liberal arts attends to the genius of Brahms

Portland, OR (February 9, 2005) ROMP!, Reed College's annual collaboration of music and scholarship, will explore "Rediscovering Brahms" on February 24-25 . Focusing on the historical and cultural milieu that the great German Romantic composer Johannes Brahms lived and worked in, this year's ROMP! features lectures and a musical partnership with the Oregon Symphony and Chamber Music Northwest.

ROMP! 2005 will be a part of a Portland-wide Brahms Festival from February 19-26 , celebrating the life and music of Johannes Brahms with special concerts by both the Oregon Symphony and Chamber Music Northwest. [See schedule below.]

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) has been called the "successor to Beethoven." His greatest vocal work, and a work central to his career, is the German Requiem (1868), combining mixed chorus, solo voices, and full orchestra in a deeply felt and monumental statement of faith. By 1890 he had resolved to stop composing, but between 1891 and 1894 he produced some of his best instrumental pieces, inspired by the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld.

Virginia Hancock, professor of music at Reed College and an expert in Brahms' music, suggests that it is important to see the broader genius of Brahms' work. "Most concert-goers think of Brahms primarily as the composer of four blockbuster symphonies and the ' German Requiem ,' but in fact he also wrote a lot of chamber music, smaller-scale choral music, and two hundred songs, all much loved by performers," she notes. Hancock wrote her dissertation on Brahm's choral music and is also a founding member of the American Brahms Society .

All ROMP! lectures will take place in Reed College's psychology auditorium (room 105), adjacent to the college's east parking lot off SE Woodstock Boulevard.

The ROMP! lectures are free and open to the public ; for information for these events, call 503/777-7755 or visit

Featured ROMP! lecturers will include:

7:30 p.m., Thursday, February 24
Celia Applegate , associate professor of history from the University of Rochester
" Brahms between Germany and Austria "

Applegate studies German regional and national identities and German musical culture. Her book, "Bach in Berlin: Mendelssohn's Revival of the St. Matthew Passion and the Making of German National Culture," will be published by Cornell University Press in 2005.

4:30 p.m., Friday, February 25
Anna Burton , a New York City psychoanalyst
" Brahms: Inner and Outer Ambiguities "

Burton has practiced psychoanalysis for 35 years of a long career in psychiatry.   She is a member of the New York Psychoanalytic Society, a past president of the New Jersey Psychoanalytic Society, and a faculty member of the N.Y.U. Psychoanalytic Institute. Burton's lecture is co-sponsored by the Oregon Psychoanalytic Center.

7:30 p.m., Friday, February 25
Walter Frisch , the H. Harold Gumm/Harry and Albert von Tilzer professor of music at Columbia University
" Brahms: Futures Past "

Professor Frisch is a specialist in the music of composers from the Austro-German sphere in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging from Schubert to Schoenberg.   He has written numerous articles and two books on Brahms, including " Brahms and the Principle of Developing Variation" (1984) and " Brahms: the Four Symphonies" (1996).   He served as editor of the volume " Brahms and His World "(1990) and was the founding president of the American Brahms Society in 1983.

About ROMP!
ROMP! (Reediana Omnibus Musica Philosopha) is Reed College's annual symposium on music and the liberal arts sponsored by the Roth Family Foundation. In past years ROMP! has explored the relationship between music and terror in Stalinist Russia , the problem of music and censorship in the 1930s, music perception, the music of Billie Holiday and just last year, "Bach's Cosmos."

The Brahms Festival
The Brahms Festival will feature concerts, in addition to a broad array of musical and scholarly resources.

Two Oregon Symphony Classical Concerts will be devoted to the Brahms Festival, both to be conducted by Brahms enthusiast and Music Director Carlos Kalmar.   The first, scheduled for February 19-21 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, will feature "Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D major."   The second, scheduled for February 26-28, will be a rare performance of Brahms' "German Requiem," last performed by the Symphony in 1975.

In addition, a group of Symphony musicians will collaborate to present performances of Brahms "String Quintet in F Major, Op. 88" and "String Quintet in G Major, Op. 111," on Friday, February   18, at Portland's Old Church.

For more information, visit .

Chamber Music Northwest will present two Brahms programs on February 22 and 23, both to be held in Kaul Auditorium at Reed College.   The first will feature his "Trio in B Major for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op. 8" and the "Quintet in F Minor for Piano and Strings."   The February 23 program will include Brahms' "Quintet in B Minor for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 115," and his "Quartet in G Minor for Piano and Strings, Op. 25."

For more information, visit .

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 24 the Reed Chorus, Chamber Orchestra, and Collegium Musicum will perform music by nineteenth-century composers, including Brahms and Clara Schumann. Admission to the April concert is free.

Books, recordings and other resources for learning more about Brahms (1833-1897) and his music will be available for sale at all Brahms Festival events.   Pre-concert talks will be featured at all Symphony and Chamber Music Northwest concerts.

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Reed College , in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes Scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit .