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Press Release

 

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.

Of 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.

He 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 community.

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.

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 concert.

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 gesture.”

For more information, to make a donation and/or purchase concert tickets, visit the Mother’s Day 2005 Project web site: http://mothersday2005.org

Contact:

Ramsey Ameen

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

Email: info@mothersday2005.org

 

Mother's Day 2005 Project

P.O. Box 312

Wanaque, NJ  07465-0312

Email: info@mothersday2005.org

Toll-free Hotline: 1-866-309-3952

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to: Rob Ain, Alexander Ameen, Amber Ameen, Mary Ameen, Aaron Beller, Bruce Block and BHSS'63 CAP, Jon Dreyer, Janie Fischbach, Rick Goldberg, Fred Goldrich, Stuart Grassian, Ed Levine, Susan Rogers, David Schreiber, The Sound Professionals, Inc., Karen Whittlesey, and everyone who is providing support and encouragement for this project.

 
     
 

 

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