Donald Berman

Music Department Colloquium: Donald Berman—“Challenging Authority in Editing Ives”

Thursday, March 28, 2024 at 4:30pm
Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall, Room 003 (Daltry Room), 60 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown


Pianist Donald Berman ’84 will speak about “Challenging Authority in Editing Ives.” Berman currently serves as Chair of Keyboard Studies at Longy School of Music of Bard College, and leads Tufts University's New Music Ensemble. He is also President and Treasurer of the Charles Ives Society, where he is leading an extensive expansion of the Society's digital archives.

"I'll be talking about what it was like to edit the music of Ives: what the process was, and how I had to unlearn what I learned from John Kirkpatrick to do it," Berman said.

As an undergraduate at Wesleyan, Berman was the first winner of the Elizabeth Verveer Tishler Competition in 1982, following the establishment of the prize in 1981. Berman's trajectory as a musician and scholar was set in motion by several important teachers including at Wesleyan with George Barth '72, and in New Haven with John Kirkpatrick (who premiered Ives' "Concord" Sonata in 1939).

Berman will share a little bit of his Wesleyan story of studying with Kirkpatrick, and how he came to understand Kirkpatrick not just as a teacher but as an editor, and how profound that was for him. "People's work is brought to the public long after they pass away, which was true with Charles Ives," Berman said. "It is so crucial to its reception. And Kirkpatrick had a very particular take on it, which wasn't necessarily Ives' vision." 

Learn more about Music Department Colloquia events.


Donald Berman Piano Concert: Other Transcendentalists
Friday, April 5, 2024 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall

Pianist Donald Berman ’84 returns to Wesleyan to perform a solo piano program, which pairs two works by 20th-century iconoclast composer Charles Ives (1874-1954), in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Ives' birth, with four newly commissioned musical portraits of women who were pivotal figures in American Transcendentalism, written by Eve Beglarian, David Sanford, Marti Epstein, and Elena Ruehr. This concert will be the world premiere of Eve Beglarian’s work "as syllable from sound."