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Play Notes ...

About the play ...

Bravura deals with David’s decision to enlist and then to request officer training, and his determination to be on the front line. Throughout the play David's music is heard as he makes the transition from concert violinist to lieutenant. The play brings Hochstein to life, and explains how this great Rochester hero left his "bravura" legacy as a performer, teacher, and soldier.

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The making of Bravura ...

I was asked to write a play about David Hochstein by Grace Kraut, who wrote Unfinished Symphony, a biography of his life. At the time I was working on Ashcakes, a play about Frederick Douglass which was produced at RAPA in 2009.


As I delved into the history, I became fascinated by David and his family, Emma Goldman (his aunt), and World War I. I love classical music and I learned about the great violinists who studied with Leopold Auer in St. Petersburg. Most of all, I wanted to probe the question, “Why did David enlist?” I learned about America’s war effort, and I read memoirs and letters written by soldiers who fought with David. The story behind Bravura is haunting and tragic, the music is beautiful, and it’s Rochester’s own history.

I am very grateful to Peggy Quackenbush, Executive Director of The Hochstein School, who has been encouraging and inspiring. Much of Bravura is about David and the Boy, reflecting the legacy David left us for teaching, making great music, and sacrifice. We all need heroes. Mine include Frederick Douglass, David Hochstein, the men who fought in the trenches, and the teachers at The Hochstein School as they continue his legacy.  And of course, Emma.

I’m grateful that Donald Bartalo accepted the offer to direct Bravura.  He has collaborated and led the charge as we took on this project. I hope you will enjoy the play and the music, and I hope you will discover great heroes of your own, as I have, right here in Rochester!

- Stuart Loeb

Listen In:

music featured in the play ...

Meet the Director & Cast ...

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Donald B. Bartalo,


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Denise Bartalo,

Helena Hochstein

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Stephanie Roosa,

Emma Goldman

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James Heath,

David Hochstein

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Richard Kendrick,

Major Baldwin

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Kate Osher,

Ernestine - nurse

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David Byrne,

Leopold Auer &

George Eastman

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Reece Gurell,


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Rachel Brill,

Lily, French girl

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Larry Ploscowe,

Private Crawford &

Sergeant Hopkins

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Jahaka Mindstorm,

Private Esposito


Nancy Fancher

Paganini Ghost

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