Classical KUSC Arts Alive Blog

Arts Alive Blog


Jacaranda Reincarnates February House - Brooklyn's Original Party Place

Posted By: KUSC · 4/3/2013 10:00:00 AM

In 1940, the brownstone at 7 Middaugh Street was transformed from an odd-looking residence to the headquarters of one of the most vibrant and remarkable salons of any era. For a brief period February House, as it was known, became home to celebrity artists, including composer Benjamin Britten, poet W. H. Auden, composer/writer Paul Bowles, novelist Carson McCullers and the famed burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee. The name February House was inspired by the unusually high number of February birthdays of its occupants.

The three-story house became a liberal hotbed and the place to be seen on the threshold of World War II. Among the frequent party guests were composer Aaron Copland, critic/composer Virgil Thomson and Balinese music expert and Canadian composer Colin McPhee. A 24-year old Leonard Bernstein partied there with choreographer George Balanchine, dance maven Lincoln Kirstein, artist Pavel Tchelitchew, and a house-trained chimpanzee.

Seventy years later and 3000 miles away, the concert series Jacaranda is bringing the fruits of this youth-fueled creative explosion to Santa Monica. In a mostly two-piano program, the music of Britten, Copland, McPhee, Bowles and Thomson, will tell stories of this wild house in the outer borough. The Australian piano duo Liam Viney and Anna Grinberg will be joined by two virtuoso wind players, Keve Wilson, oboe, and Eric Jacobs, clarinet.


Here's Patrick Scott, Jacaranda Artistic Director, on the creative enclave that was February House and how Jacaranda is paying tribute with their April 7th concert:


“February House” will be performed on Sunday, April 7th at 7:30pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica. This concert launches Jacaranda’s three-part concert series honoring Benjamin Britten’s centenary. Tickets and full program information are available online at

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