Yale Strom, composer

Composer Yale Strom gives a first look at what Song of Songs will bring to the Lyceum Theatre.

By Cindy Case

Yale Strom, composer
Song of Songs will feature the first composition that Yale Strom (pictured) has composed for San Diego Ballet.

This continuation of the Jazz & Dance series focuses entirely on the famous “Song of Songs” poem, which is part of both the Jewish and Christian faiths and celebrates romantic love. The evening will be broken into three works. The first work will be backed by a spoken-word recitation of the poem, and the second will feature a world-premiere composition by Yale Strom, who is a scholar-artist of klezmer culture and history as well as the founder of the band Hot Pstromi. The third work will have another world-premiere, this one by San Diego Ballet’s resident composer Charles McPherson.

While Charles has been composing for the company since 2015, this is Yale Strom’s first time. Of Yale’s piece in the show, he says:

My composition “Song of Songs” is a tone poem. A tone poem is generally one movement, about a descriptive or rhapsodic theme. The composition can be interpreted in many ways, the love of a man for a woman and the love of man for God. I see the Song of Songs also as an allegory for the two genders of God both female and male. In the Jewish tradition the female half of God is the “shekhina”. When a man is making love to a woman it is as if he is making love to God as in the Jewish orthodox tradition man/woman is created in the image of God. Lastly, I used classical, Middle Eastern and Khasidic motifs and rhythms to create this tone poem; this love letter.

San Diego Ballet dancers will soon be taking on Yale Strom’s tone poem in rehearsals, along with that of Charles McPherson. Keep your eyes open for a guest blog from Lynn and Camille McPherson next week with reflections on Charles’ own Song of Songs contribution. Jazz/Dance: Song of Songs is only a few weeks away—visit our ticket page to reserve your seats now!