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Steve  Pollack  Lecture  Series

Steve Pollack, a seasoned professional possessing Broadway and Opera credits, lends his musical experiences  paired with extensive knowledge of the performing arts to the lecture circuit. His workshops incorporate multi -media presentations, historical renderings as well as live performance. His lively presentations fully capture the essence of the performance arts.


All seminars are multimedia programs that include live, recorded and video entertainment and examples.

Lecture Topics::

Music and The Brain (1 to 4 sessions)

  • How music affects us – Physically, Emotionally, Cognitively and Spiritually

Music and Sound in the Movies (5 to 7 Sessions)

  • The history of the development of synchronized sound in films

  • From silent films and theater music to music on film

  • Movie score writing and movie song writing


The History of the Piano

  • How the piano developed, from ancient Greece to the present

  • The In-Betweeners


Music from the Big Bands to Rock and Roll (music of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, 6 to 10 sessions)

  • How music evolved from the decline of the Big Bands to Elvis, Buddy Holly and Eddie Valenz

  • A look at The origins or swing/jazz big band music from ragtime and gospel and its decline

  • The rise of R&B and Bebop

  • Latin music and the importance of Latin Rhythm to all of American Pop

  • DooWop and the acapella groups

  • Country music – Hank Williams and the early country greats – their roots and influence

  • Folk music of the 40s and 50s – Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger, The Searchers and others

  • Mitch Miller and producers of the early 1950s

  • The great male & female pop stars of the 1950s, and why they disappeared when Elvis came around – Eddie Fisher, Joni JamesThe rise of Rock & Roll – Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, Elvis and others


Rodgers and Hart vs Rodgers and Hammerstein (4 Sessions)

  • The lives of these three great lyricists/composers

  • Their differing styles of writing

  • Their work, successes and legacies

  • Includes live performance and multi-media lecture


The history of Art Song: tradition of classical song in the Romantic and Post-Romantic periods (6 to 8 Sessions)

  • A look at the composers, the music and the special performance requirements demanded

  • Each week will be dedicated to songs of a specific country or language:

  • German – Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Wolf, Weill and Strauss

  • Robert Schumann – Dichterliebe and Liderkreis

  • French – Berlioz, Massenet, Faure, Duparc, Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc

  • Spanish – Sor, Valverde, de Falla, Granados and Rodrigo

  • Italian – Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi, Tosti, Leoncavallo, Respighi, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco

  • Eastern European/Russian – Dvorak, Liszt, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev

  • English – Delius, Vaughn Williams, Quilter, Britten and Finzi

  • American – Copland, Beach, Barber, Niles, Ives and Rorem

  • Each weekly program includes live performance plus lecture information


Three of the most famous unknown songwriters in American History (3 Sessions)

  • The lives and music of Harry Warren, Chester Babcock and Dmitri Tiomkin

  • These songwriters have more hits, more Oscars and more awards than anyone else in history, yet their names are not very well known


American Operetta – the road to Show Boat (Minimum 4 Sessions)

  • How American Operetta rose from European origins


THe RIse of Ragtime

  • The music of Victor Herbert, George M Cohan, Sigmund Romberg and Rudolf Friml and the popularity of the waltz

  • The rise of ragtime from Minstrel Shows, and how jazz found its way into American culture

  • Florenz Ziegfeld, the Folies Bergere and the Ziegfeld Girls

Jazz to the American Mainstream

  • Why Jerome Kern and Gershwin were so important in bringing jazz to the American mainstream and why Show Boat is so pivotal to American Musical Theater history


Music and Technology (6-8 sessions)

  • How technology, culture and politics have affected music throughout history

  • The evolution of instruments (water-pipe organ, piano, saxophone, oboe etc.)

  • The evolution of musical style as affected by new developments in technology

  • How war influences music and technology


The Famous Duo

The Wonderful Music of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald (1-2 sessions)
A look at the lives and careers of the famous duo
Their music presented in recordings and live performance


The Real Lili Marlene (1 session)
How the famous song came about during WWI as a German song
Why the song changed from a favorite of the Germans in WWII to the “call to soldiers” of the American, British, Russian and French armies, inspiring them as they defeated the Germans


Gilbert and Sullivan and The Marx Brothers (4 sessions)
The lives, partnership and shows of William Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan and Richard D’Oyley Carte
The influence of Gilbert and Sullivan on Broadway and the Movies

The Marx Brothers, Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Harburg, Harnick and others (Gilbert Sullivan in the Wizard of Oz, Finnian’s Rainbow and other examples)


The Masters to Gershwin – Why Gershwin is so Important (6 to 8 sessions)
Music History from 1820 to Gershwin, focusing on:
The French from Berlioz to Ravel
The Germans from Beethoven to Strauss
The Russians from Glinka to Rachmaninoff

How Gershwin incorporated the music of the great composers with American influences of Latin and Jazz music to create a new American musical legacy
Why Gershwin may be one of the 3 or 4 most important composers of the 20th century.


Stephen Sondheim--- Sitting on the shoulders of Oscar Hammerstein (2 sessions)
A look at the relationship between Steven Sondheim and Oscar Hammerstein
Musical examples of Sondheim’s music, especially pieces related to the topic


Quincy Jones His life and music (1 Session)
The life and music of Quincy Jones, who might be the most important music producer since 1950
History of his jazz development, life in Europe and return to America and his relationships with Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and the movies


The Life and Music of Tony Bennett (1 session)
The great story of Tony Bennett’s life
History of his jazz development, life in Europe and return to America and his relationships with Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and the movies


The Life and Music of Nat King Cole (1 session)
Nat King Cole history – Capitol Records and “The House That Nat Built”
Live and multi-media musical samples
Eddie Fisher and Joni James King & Queen of the 1950s (2 sessions – or individual programs)
The lives of the two most successful singers of the 1950s – over 100 million records sold – EACH!
Musical samples with multi-media presentation


Leonard Bernstein – A Life in Music (minimum 4 sessions)
An overview of Bernstein’s life, music and legacy
· His life story
· Bernstein as musician, teacher and conductor
Bernstein – Musical Theater and Opera
Bernstein – The Classical Works


The Musical Comedians (3 Sessions)
The role of parody and comedy in music
Famous comics of music – Allan Sherman, Ernie Kovacs, Steve Allen, Tom Lehrer, Spike Jones, PDQ Bach, Weird Al Yankovic and many more
Why we love them


Traditions of Jewish Music (Minimum 4 Sessions)
A look at the musical traditions in Jewish music from ancient times to the present
The role and history of music in Jewish liturgical culture
The influence of Jewish music on other cultures and vice-versa
The cantorial role and traditions
Jewish secular music

The Ashkenazy, Sephardic and Mizrahi cultures and their music


Disney (1 to 4 sessions)
The music of Disney from Snow White to the present
The songwriters and the famous performers
The Oscar winning music and the music that has become classic in our lifetime
The inspiration of the Disney ideas to others; the popularity and growth of animated musicals

     "Steve Pollack has been a valued member of the faculty of Kleinlife Lifelong Learning since 2014. The continuing adult education program has won national recognition and awards for the scope of its curriculum and the quality of its faculty for over 45 years.

      Steve’s extensive knowledge in all forms of music has been displayed in his curriculum.  He has lectured on operetta, Broadway, classical and contemporary composers and the influence of Art Song on the world of pop and jazz.  The development and the technical side of music have also been explored.   The pioneers in the field of sound in film, radio, television and theater have been presented in lecture and film.  He has also included lectures on how current music and film have been influenced by world events and the music of British artists such as the Beatles. Steve will often sing when appropriate.  This is a real treat!  

      I am very impressed with Steve’s professionalism and his ability to make learning fun.  Steve is an excellent teacher.  He respects his students and makes them feel very comfortable.  He is always willing to answer questions and will listen to contrary opinions.

                Steve Pollack is also a wonderful entertainer.  He has the ability to sing everything from opera to pop.  He is very personable and holds an audience in his hand.

                Steve is an asset to any faculty or stage."


 - Linda Hershman, Coordinator Lifelong Learning

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