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What Keeps Mankind Alive: Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, and the Epic Theater

| New England Conservatory: Jordan Hall

New England Conservatory’s (NEC) internationally renowned Contemporary Improvisation Department presents What Keeps a Man Alive: Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, and the Epic Theater.

On August 31, 1938 Brecht and Weill’s Threepenny Opera, a satiric critique of capitalism and morality from the perspective of the slums, opened to a confused but enthusiastic crowd, rapidly becoming so popular that “everyone in Berlin later insisted they had been there.” Tonight, NEC alumnus Simon Hanes, known for his wildly creative mini-orchestra, Tredici Bacci, returns to NEC with acoustic quartet Anonym with a new take on Brecht/Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins and an earthshattering arrangement of Last Train of Johannesburg featuring the entire CI student body. Other performances feature the Ted Reichman Jazz Ensemble, Anthony Coleman’s Survivors Breakfast Ensemble, Lautaro Mantilla’s House Band, traditional Korean music, and other student ensembles.

Featuring a contemporary perspective on Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, and the Epic Theater, with works from The Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, The Seven Deadly Sins, Huckleberry Finn, Lost in the Stars, and more…

Produced by Eden MacAdam-Somer and Lautaro Mantilla with Anthony Coleman, featuring special guest Simon Hanes with Anonym, Anthony Coleman’s Survivors Breakfast, the Ted Reichman Jazz Ensemble, the CI Chamber Music Ensemble, student works, and the entire CI department.

This event is part of NEC’s celebratory 150th anniversary season. The 2017-2018 season continues to build on the school’s rich legacy featuring 150 years of innovation showcasing the work of the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory as well as the pioneering CI department. The new season showcases diverse musical offerings from today’s most talented artists performed in NEC’s renowned concert halls, including three new state-of-the-art venues at the Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC).


  1. Program TBA