I had previously written about Hannukah at Symphony Space. I now wish to cover the experience of being a part of the WQXR musical celebration of Hannukah. My trio was one of three groups to be showcased at this event. It was streamed live last Thursday the 5th of December at 7 PM. It will be post-produced and made into a special Hannukah program for 2014. When it gets aired it will be on stations all over the country. I wanted our “Ashkenazi” portion of the program to show diversity within our Klezmer music. We started with “Tumler’s Bulgar”. I don’t know who wrote this one but I do know it was a favorite of my dad’s. He recorded it two separate times treating it differently each time. The czardas is a standard Hungarian song form. We played our “Hungarian #2” as our second selection. Jacob Jacob’s Farges Mich Nit was third as we wanted to include a song from the Yiddish Theater, We closed with the “Beresh Katz Sher” which was written by Katz himself. Prior to the music I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by WQXR radio host Naomi Lewin. She did a great job as hostess for the evening. I was thrilled that they used some family pictures that I incorporate into my lectures. There’s something cool about a picture from 1898 in Kiev streaming live all over the webworld!!!! It was a pleasure to hear the two other groups: East of the River and Shashmaqam. We all got on stage at the end of the night for Mao Tzur and Hava Nagila. I must thank my band members Mike Cohen and Christina Crowder for their musicianship as well as a great performance. I will add the link below if you’d like to see the show. Our part starts at the 57:50 mark…..
There’s a lot to cover as of late. I will get to everything within the week and over a few blog entries. This past Monday evening I was involved in a very special event at Symphony Space. I was invited to be a part of the orchestra for the annual Hannukah concert put on by the Folksbiene. (National Yiddish Theater Co.) It also served as a 90th birthday tribute to the great Yiddish actor and singer Theodore Bikel. I remember when he played the butcher on All in the Family many years ago. Fyvush Finkel joined Bikel on stage and they acted out a scene from Fiddler On The Roof. They were right on and really put it over. Fyvush has a long alliance with my family. In the 1950’s my grandfather worked with him as a piano accompanist. In 1952 my great uncle Lou was roommates with Mr. Finkel at the Brookside hotel in the Catskills. My dad also knew Fyvush from working the mountains back in those days. Fyvush wrote a lot of comedic material for my parents to use in their “act” back then. Believe it or not I came across these papers with all the “shtick” written by Finkel from the late 1950’s. I immediately contacted Fyvush’s son Ian who happens to be a xylophone virtuoso as well as an author. He was excited to hear what I had found and I scanned and emailed him all the material……..Getting back to this past Monday…….Symphony Space was packed with 800 people to see the show. We had a great band backing up some top flight talent including: Joanne Borts, Magda Fishman, Elmore James, Avi Fox-Rosen and others. Many of these talented folks I had had the pleasure of working with before. I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet and work with some of these performers for the first time. The orchestra was led by Zalmen Mlotek who is the artistic director for the Folksbiene as well as a talented pianist. Bikel wowed the crowd as he threw down his cane and started to dance at one point. He and Finkel together were a pure delight. The night was filled with great music and nice words for the man of the hour, Theodore Bikel. I was glad to be a part of the evening and have a bird’s eye view of Bikel and Finkel as they both worked their magic!!!! Next entry will cover my trio’s involvement in the WQXR Hannukah extravaganza.