The Breman Museum has expanded beyond history into the arts, including the Molly Blank Jewish Concert Series, which museum Executive Director Aaron Berger said has hit the right formula in its third year.
The goal of the series is to show Jewish contributions to music across genres and periods, and with the help of partners, the series this year is presenting three very different programs.
The first program, held Jan. 24 with the Atlanta Opera, featured selections of music that the Nazis considered degenerate and examples that the Nazis celebrated as pure. Two children of Holocaust survivors, Atlanta Opera maestro Arthur Fagen and Kennesaw State music scholar Laurence Sherr, provided insights into the music and its history.
The second show, set for Sunday, March 6, at the Breman, 1440 Spring St., Midtown, is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Music of Harold Arlen,” the Jewish composer of the “Wizard of Oz” theme, “Stormy Weather” and 400 other songs.
Theatrical Outfit, a first-time Breman partner, is putting on the show and insists that it will be far more than a concert, Berger said. “We originally pitched to them another concert idea. They came back and said, ‘What we’d really like to do is a night of Harold Arlen.’ The more they showed us, the more excited we got.”
Such shows also are producing excitement beyond the museum membership. Berger said 40 percent of last year’s Molly Blank audience had never attended a Breman program, and 20 percent of the audience in January was not Jewish.
The Arlen show starts with a reception at 4 p.m.; the performance is at 5. Tickets, available at thebreman.org, are $49 for Breman members and $59 for nonmembers.
The series will conclude May 15 with a night of Benny Goodman music in partnership with the Atlanta Jazz Festival. The show will include a clarinetist who played with Goodman, but it might be worth the price of admission just to see an 18-piece swing orchestra crammed into the Breman auditorium.