Great Performances

The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in

Series Website »
Episode Guide »
This program brings to life the words and music of the American Yiddish theater. The story's lead characters -- Bessie and Boris Thomashefsky -- also happen to be the grandparents of San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas. Bessie and Boris emigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe in the 1880s, and while still in their teens, they began to play major roles in the development of New York City's Yiddish theater. For Jewish immigrants who settled on the lower East Side of Manhattan, the Yiddish theater was central to their lives, and provided a stage for the new ideas that were shaping the transition to an American way of life. In "The Thomashefkys," Tilson Thomas serves as guide through the lives and repertoire of his grandparents. Performed at the New World Symphony's Frank Gehry-designed home in Miami, Tilson Thomas shares the stage with a 30-piece orchestra and ensemble cast to bring the repertoire and words of Bessie and Boris to life. With time, aspects of klezmer and cantorial sounds became more integrated and more American, as Jewish composers became immersed in their new surroundings, greatly influencing composers like Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.

More Episodes

  • Sting: The Last Ship
  • Barrymore
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!"
  • San Francisco Opera's Moby Dick
  • Great Performances 40th Anniversary Celebration
  • Dancing at Jacob's Pillow: Never Stand Still
  • Paul Taylor Dance Company in Paris
  • Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy
  • Magical Mystery Tour Revisited
  • Paul McCartney's Live Kisses
  • Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebration
  • The Thomashefskys
  • Let Me Down Easy
  • LA Phil performs An American in Paris
  • The Little Mermaid from San Francisco Ballet
  • Hugh Laurie: Let Them Talk
  • Placido Domingo: My Favorite Roles
  • A Concert for New York
  • Rigoletto from Mantua
  • Carnegie Hall 120th Anniversary Concert
  • Celebracion! Dudamel, Florez, and the L.A. Philharmonic
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Pierre Boulez Conducts Mahler
  • Macbeth
  • Renee Fleming & Dmitri Hvorostovsky


Comments

Share your thoughts, questions, and comments on "Great Performances" here.
 

Vermont Public Television is holding free screenings in February, March and April in commemoration of Black History Month.

In connection with The Story of the Jews, WNET Education is launching an essay contest for high school aged students to examine how stories shape our identities.

Meet some extraordinary women in Vermont.

A new PBS site for America's booming 50+ population as they plan for a new life stage.

Lifelong Learning


PBS Kids
Tons of videos and games for children from PBS!

Educator Resources
Lesson plans, online courses, and videos for teachers and parents


VPT Weekly

Our weekly email newsletter highlighting upcoming shows and important station news.
Sign Up Today

Vermont Public Television

204 Ethan Allen Avenue
Colchester, VT 05446
(802) 655-4800
© 2014 Vermont Public Television
All Rights Reserved

Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn Pinterest