“Bravura” tells Hochstein’s story

“Bravura: The Life and Death of David Hochstein” will be on stage at Rochester’s Multi-use Community Cultural Center November 8-18.

The play’s author Stuart Loeb and the director Don Bartalo discussed the new play Friday during News 8 at Noon.

“Bravura means passionate performance, and the play is about David Hochstein who grew up on Joseph Avenue,” said Loeb. “He was the child of immigrant parents, and he was a prodigy violinist. He was supported by George Eastman, Emily Sibley Watson, who sent him to Europe, and bought him a Stradivarius. He was a great concert violinist. When the war broke out, he had a deferment, and then he changed his mind and enlisted, and insisted on being on the front lines. So it’s his story, and bravura means passion, I think the passion that he used to play the violin is the same passion he used to insist on fighting in this war.”

Hochstein was killed while serving in World War I. “He died just 100 years ago, so this is a 100 year celebration of his death and of the armistice of the war which was November 11,” Loeb noted.

This story has never been told on the stage. ” It’s amazing, how many people who live in Rochester who have heard of Hochstein but know very little about him,” said Bartalo. “This play will help them learn quite a bit.”

Loeb was inspired to take up Hochstein’s story by the prodigy’s biographer. “There was a woman named Grace Krout who wrote a book about David Hochstein, and she asked me to write the play about 10 years ago. As I started to study who he was, and I’m a great lover of classical music so I was immersed in the violin and what he was playing, and I wanted to focus on this decision he made, and on why he gave up this wonderful career. He was swept up in the passion of World War I and it was a very tragic time for America and for the world.”

Bartalo anticipates two important takeaways for audience members. “They’re going to have a better understanding of David Hochstein, who he is, where he came from and everything. And second, I think there’s going to be a deep appreciation for the men and women who served during World War I.”

Veterans can see “Bravura” for free during the matinee on November 18. Proceeds from all of the performances will benefit the Hochstein School of Music & Dance in Rochester. Get your tickets at the door, or online ahead of time at