Join us Nov. 20th for our Mid-Winter Concert at St. Joseph's

On Friday, November 20 at 8 pm in St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village, 371 Sixth Avenue at Washington Place, the Washington Square Music Festival offers a pre-holiday gift to music lovers – A Celebration of Strings, a free concert of 20th century music by Jerome Kern, Ernest Bloch, & Richard Strauss.  Lutz Rath conducts Festival String Chamber Orchestra.   


St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village, 371 Sixth Ave.

 West 4th St on A, B, C, D, E, F, M

Christopher St. on 1 train

Washington Square Music Festival Chamber Orchestra

Lutz Rath, conductor



Lutz Rath, conductor


Jerome Kern: “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" for string quartet

Ernest Bloch: Concerto Grosso # 1 for strings & piano obbligato

Richard StraussMetamorphosen for 23 solo strings

Festival info line: 212-252-3621


Jerome Kern (1885-1945), is an American composer who studied at the New York College of Music and at Heidelberg University in Germany.  One of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, he wrote more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage productions.  “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” is from the 1933 musical Roberta.

Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was born in Geneva, studied in Frankfurt, and settled in the United States before WW II.  He wrote principally for strings, and his music is marked by great spiritual expressiveness.  Pupil Roger Sessions praised him for his special ability to express “the grandeur of human suffering”.

 “The Concerto Grosso (1925) was composed in response to the doubts of some students that such a work could still be written.  The composer's daughter, Suzanne, writes that they were skeptical when Bloch told them that one could still write alive and original music with the means that had existed for so long.  When the student orchestra played it with obvious enthusiasm, Bloch shouted, ‘What do you think now?...  It has just old fashioned notes!’  And so it is that we have today a work that successfully demonstrates the vitality of traditional approaches while remaining unmistakably twentieth-century”.  -- Geoff Kuenning

Richard Strauss (1864-1949) Conductor Vladimir Jurowski wrote:  “We know the inspiration for Metamorphosen (1944) came when he saw those pictures of the destroyed opera houses, and these were the opera houses in his life, so he felt his lifework was finished with them.  It was not so much about the ruins in which the entire country was under, but specifically the destruction of the cultural heritage, which devastated Strauss, telling you something about the way this man was thinking: Art was everything for him, and the daily lives of other people meant nothing to him.” 

At the end of Metamorphosen, Strauss quotes the first four bars of Beethoven’s Eroica Marcia Funebre with the annotation "IN MEMORIAM!" written at the bottom where the basses and cellos are playing the Eroica quote.  As one of his last works, Metamorphosen masterfully exhibits the complex counterpoint for which the composer showed a predilection throughout his creative life.

The Washington Square Music Festival is made possible with public funding through Councilmember Margaret Chin & The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.  Generous grants from The Earle K. & Katherine F. Moore Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Washington Square Association, The Margaret Neubart Foundation Trust, New York University Community Affairs & NYU Community Fund, Salamon-Abrams Family Fund, Three Sheets/Off the Wagon/Down the Hatch, Con Edison, the Washington Square Park Conservancy and The Alec Baldwin Foundation, are deeply appreciated.