For immediate release
Lives of Two Renowned Bronx Science
Classmates Intersect 40 Years Later
NEW YORK, April 4, 2005 — The world premiere of “Cancione,” a work for
strings by award-winning jazz violinist Ramsey Ameen, will be dedicated to
the memory of the wife of one of Ameen’s Bronx High School of Science
classmates, eminent forensic psychiatrist Stuart Grassian, formerly of Harvard
Medical School. The
premiere will take place on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8, at 3:30 p.m. at
the Grassian family’s synagogue, Temple Shir Tikvah, 34 Vine Street,
Winchester, MA 01890, Tel: 781-729-1263.
Grassian, the class valedictorian, and Ameen have not seen each other
since 1963, when the two graduated. “This project is an outgrowth of old
friendships reawakened and new friendships begun since the 40th
reunion of the Bronx Science class of ’63,” said Ameen, who has toured and
recorded with jazz great Cecil Taylor.
Ramsey Ameen, acclaimed critic, journalist, and novelist Stanley Crouch
has written: “…always a bright mind, always a full heart, always willing
to go the distance demanded by integrity…”
Ameen was inspired to write “Cancione” after learning of the tragic death
of Grassian’s wife, Dr. Nancy Friedman Grassian (1951-2004), through an
e-mail listserv established a year before the 40th reunion of
the Class of ’63.
conceived the idea of honoring the life of Nancy Grassian, a celebrated
psychologist and community activist, through a performance of the
composition she inspired in a memorial Mother’s Day concert and an
associated fund-raiser in her name to find a cure for her particularly
virulent form of cancer, leiomyosarcoma.
“If 100 donors contribute $50 each, we will have achieved the minimum
$5,000 funding target,” Ameen said. “Ticket sales will add additional
funds.” The project Ameen has organized to produce the memorial concert
and raise charitable funds includes an ad hoc committee of Bronx Science
alumni working in cooperation with members of the Temple Shir Tikvah
Besides “Cancione” for string sextet, the concert will include the Borodin
Second String Quartet as well as solo piano works by Bach, Beethoven,
Bartok, and Ellington, performed by Ameen’s 16-year-old son, Alexander.
Ameen’s performance of Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1, Prelude and
Fugue in D Minor,” will be dedicated to the late Mara Beller (1945-2004),
a renowned historian of science and author of “Entanglement,” a play about
an imagined encounter between Albert Einstein and
Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, which will be
premiered in Israel this spring. Dr. Beller was the wife of mathematician
Aaron Beller, also a 1963 graduate of Bronx Science and a childhood friend
of Ramsey Ameen. Beller will be traveling from Israel to attend the
Dr. Grassian, whose groundbreaking work on the terrible impact of solitary
confinement on prisoners’ mental health is recognized worldwide, will host
a private gathering of friends, including the Bronx Science classmates who
have supported this effort, at his home the day before the concert.
Grassian is moved by Ameen’s plan. “When Ramsey told me that he had
composed music in Nancy’s memory, I was touched and grateful,” he said.
“But when he told me that he wanted to organize a concert to raise money
for the Sarcoma Foundation of America, I was overwhelmed by his generous
For more information, to make a donation and/or purchase concert tickets,
visit the Mother’s Day 2005 Project web site: http://mothersday2005.org
Toll-free Mother’s Day 2005 Project Hotline: 1-866-309-2952
Mother’s Day 2005 Project, P.O. Box 312, Wanaque, NJ 07465-0312