David Katz’s original play “Muse of Fire” will tell the modern-day story of a sorcerer and his apprentice in a battle to the death at 8 p.m. Friday in Markel Auditorium.
Katz, a conductor, playwright, and actor, performs as seven characters in this one-man play based on his own life as a young student at the Pierre Monteux Conducting School in Maine.
His teacher, the legendary and tyrannical maestro Charles Bruck, provides the inspiration for the sorcerer in “Muse of Fire.” The play follows the apprentice as he recollects his experience, going from fearing and hating to greatly loving his teacher.
“This is particularly fun homecoming for me,” said Katz in a post on “Muse of Fire’s” Facebook page. “I was on campus many times between 1988-2000, when I was music director of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra—none happier (before this weekend) than in 1992, when I led the ASO and Hillsdale Choirs at the dedication of the Sage Center for the Arts.”
Music Director James Holleman said he saw “Muse of Fire” last March and decided to bring the show to Hillsdale as a part of the Professional Artists Series.
“I found it to be interesting and enjoyable,” Holleman said. “And yes, there is a strong connection to the theme of studying conducting. Though in a broader sense it speaks to the student-teacher relationship from the viewpoint of the student after many years. I think many people will connect to the story.”
Peter Van de Graaff, host of WFMT Fine Arts “Radio Music Through the Night,” praised the show for its humor and gravity.
“It is a one-man play about the art of conducting,” Van de Graaff said. “It is about a man and his mentor, who is an intense, almost abusive man, but what he draws out of this conductor is the art of feeling music, of truly living the music … I’m someone who has spent a lifetime in music, as both performer and broadcaster, and I came away with a much deeper love of music from this play.”