Jewish Journal

Rick Schultz

  • Meet the Kahanes: Father and son to perform together

    2 days ago

    In the super-competitive world of music, it is a rarity for both a father and his offspring to earn a significant measure of success. Rarer still is a father who finds himself playing and conducting his son’s music.

    Yet as part of his 2011 recital program at Walt Disney Concert...

  • Pianist Fred Hersch brings jazz recitals to Doheny Mansion

    December 16, 2015 | 10:21 am

    Coltrane, Monk, Miles. From the start, jazz musicians were the epitome of cool. So it’s no surprise the eminent jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch gravitated to that hip musical arena while growing up Jewish in the Midwest. But the image of Hersch, who was recently dubbed “a...

  • Handel’s ‘Judas Maccabaeus’ comes to Wilshire Blvd. Temple

    December 2, 2015 | 3:44 pm

    Although George Frideric Handel’s oratorio “Judas Maccabaeus” has come to be associated with Chanukah, it actually never touches on the miracle that the holiday commemorates: that a single day’s worth of oil lasted eight days. Yet Handel’s celebration of Judah Maccabee and the...

  • Songs in the key of Nero

    November 12, 2015 | 12:38 pm

    It may be hard to believe there was a time when George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” now a durable fixture of the American and international concert repertory, was thought of as suspect — an unclassifiable mix of concert music and jazz whose popularity seemed offensive to highbrow...

  • Yuval Sharon’s ‘Hopscotch’ an opera on wheels

    October 29, 2015 | 1:47 pm

    Call it the first Uber opera. 

    Performed live in 24 limos, Yuval Sharon’s “Hopscotch,” which opens Oct. 31 and is scheduled to run through Nov. 15, is loosely inspired by Julio Cortazar’s 1963 stream-of-consciousness novel of the same name. With four audience members in each...

  • András Schiff talks family, war and humanity

    October 15, 2015 | 10:54 am

    The acclaimed Hungarian-born pianist András Schiff, a part-time London resident who was knighted last year, returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall on Oct. 18 for a recital of late works by Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert. Later in the week, on Oct. 22, 23 and 24, he’s scheduled...

  • Every piece of music tells a story

    September 8, 2015 | 1:42 pm

    An intellectual pianist in the best sense, Jonathan Biss has a probing and poetic musical mind wedded to a playful, spontaneous temperament. Biss, 34, is also a musician who craves performing in public. So much so that even though he wisely canceled a concert in April with the New...

  • Yehuda Gilad teaches the importance of strong minds, muscles and funny bones

    September 8, 2015 | 1:29 pm

    Ever since Mozart discovered the clarinet’s versatility and tonal beauty in the 1760s, the instrument has grown in stature, relying on distinguished teachers to keep its wide range of joyous, jazzy, autumnal and rapturous moods thriving. And there’s no better caretaker of the...

  • Israeli Cellist Maya Beiser Makes Her Ojai Music Festival Debut

    June 3, 2015 | 11:08 am

    The Israeli-born cellist Maya Beiser doesn’t give conventional recitals, and that’s an attractive calling card at the Ojai Music Festival, which prides itself on innovation and diversity. In its 69th year, the five-day festival starts June 10, with Beiser making three appearances...

  • Lucas Richman guest conducts Long Beach Symphony Orchestra

    April 23, 2015 | 2:07 am

    In America, having a wide range of musical taste has always been accepted. These days, it’s even encouraged. But in Stalinist Russia, the “wrong” taste, one diverging from the party line, could put a composer in jail — or worse. When Josef Stalin’s cultural commissars heard the...

  • Conductor Joshua Weilerstein to debut with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

    April 15, 2015 | 3:41 pm

    In the old days, the conductor was king. Fritz Reiner, George Szell and Arturo Toscanini, for example, were leaders in the style of the film “Whiplash,” notorious for abusing musicians who didn’t meet their demands. But Joshua Weilerstein is one of a new breed of gentler, kinder...

  • For cellist Raphael Wallfisch, music is a family matter

    April 8, 2015 | 3:32 pm

    For renowned British cellist Raphael Wallfisch, music always has been a family affair. He’s the son of cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who helped to found the English Chamber Orchestra. A survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, she made her way to London, where she married pianist...

  • Tobias Picker’s ‘Thérèse Raquin’ has local premiere at Long Beach Opera

    January 22, 2015 | 11:50 am

    What would opera do without tales of adultery, murder and revenge? 

    Just ask composer Tobias Picker, whose adaptation (with librettist Gene Scheer) of Emile Zola’s once-scandalous novel, “Thérèse Raquin,” is being given its local premiere at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro...

  • Jeffrey Siegel brings his ‘Keyboard Conversations’ to The Wallis

    January 14, 2015 | 1:25 pm

    Sometimes, a stranger’s chance remarks can redirect and enhance a career. Pianist Jeffrey Siegel still recalls a woman at a party many years ago, who said, after one of his concerts, “I know I’m missing something not to have great composers in my life. What can you do to make the...

  • Edvin Marton: Rockin’ out with a 1699 Strad

    December 4, 2014 | 10:30 am

    If superstar virtuoso Niccolò Paganini were alive today, he might sympathize with a classical crossover artist like Edvin Marton. Paganini’s early 19th-century audiences were hypnotized and thrilled when he performed his fiery Caprices for unaccompanied violin. Some even swooned, a...

  • Milken Archive’s new wedding album

    November 13, 2014 | 2:15 pm

    So you’re getting married and trying to decide what music to play on the big day. You could choose Pachelbel’s “Canon” for the processional and Bach’s “Air on the G String” for the recessional. And why not? Those pieces are perfectly functional. 

    For the reception, the Internet...

  • ‘Voices of Light’ and Joan of Arc illuminate mystery of faith

    October 14, 2014 | 2:06 pm

    How did a nice Jewish boy from Short Hills, N.J., come to compose an oratorio to accompany Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent-film masterpiece “The Passion of Joan of Arc”? According to Richard Einhorn, his score “Voices of Light,” came into being by “sheer...

  • Cellist Steven Isserlis celebrates simplicity, honesty and humor

    September 18, 2014 | 3:40 pm

    Among world-class cellists, Steven Isserlis may be the only one ever to interview his instrument. On a website for young cellists, he asked his 260-year-old cello to list one of the best things about traveling. His cello responds, “Getting an extra seat so that Mr. Isserlis can sit...

  • Le Salon de Musiques: Chamber music at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

    September 18, 2014 | 2:47 pm

    Mikhail Gnesin and Leo Smit — ever hear of them? Most of us probably haven’t, and that’s one of the intriguing aspects of Le Salon de Musiques, an intimate downtown chamber music series founded by the French-born pianist Francois Chouchan in 2010. 

    The monthly series, which...

  • Pianist Inon Barnatan to bewitch audience with one of Mozart’s greatest concertos

    August 13, 2014 | 12:12 pm

    Soloists such as Van Cliburn and, more recently, Lang Lang, made their mark on the world’s stage at a relatively young age. But such careers often hit a plateau or, worse, suffer burnout. Other artists, like the 35-year-old Israeli-born pianist Inon Barnatan, grow more gradually....

  • Charlie Chaplin’s funniest film to be accompanied by orchestra

    June 4, 2014 | 10:56 am

    Imagine being 23 years old and summoned to Hollywood by Charlie Chaplin to work on his 1936 comedy classic, “Modern Times” — then being fired by the legendary star/director/writer after a week and a half. And then rehired. 

    That’s what happened to the great American film composer...

  • “The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts)” to premiere at Ojai Fest

    May 28, 2014 | 2:03 pm

    In addition to Uri Caine’s appearance, another highlight of this year’s Ojai Music Festival sounds like a joke, and, at least in part, it is. Festival music director Jeremy Denk, 44, one of the finest pianists of his generation, wrote a libretto for an opera based on “The Classical...

  • Bringing Klezmer to Ojai Music Festival

    May 28, 2014 | 1:53 pm

    Growing up Jewish in Philadelphia, Uri Caine, the genre-bending jazz pianist and composer, said he was “too cool for klezmer.” Although that Eastern European musical tradition surrounded him — his childhood friend, Hankus Netsky, became a klezmer authority — Caine preferred the...

  • The Rubinstein legacy, from piano to stage

    May 7, 2014 | 11:21 am

    “The first and last bullfight I ever saw was with my father and Picasso,” actor John Rubinstein said via cellphone on his way home from the set of “Perception,” a new TV series in which he plays an FBI agent.

    The Picasso line would make a pretty good opener for a memoir. Indeed,...

  • Composer makes new music to honor mentors, friends

    April 23, 2014 | 1:13 pm

    As a baby boomer, composer Russell Steinberg has lived long enough to see admired mentors and friends pass away. Instead of falling into a deep funk, however, Steinberg decided the best way to honor those who inspired him was to take his composing career, begun when he was 10 years...

  • ‘Klinghoffer’ opera gets SoCal revival

    March 12, 2014 | 2:54 pm

    On Oct. 7, 1985, Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer were celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary onboard the Achille Lauro cruise ship. Leon, 69, retired andin a wheelchair, and his 58-year-old wife, who was in remission from cancer, had a lot to be thankful for, including their two...

  • Haifa Symphony: Welcome to America, finally

    March 5, 2014 | 2:09 pm

    For Polish conductor Boguslaw Dawidow, long tours with symphony orchestras have become a way of life. In 2011, as music director of the Opole Philharmonic of Poland, he took the orchestra on its first transcontinental United States tour, which included 48 concerts in 19 states....

  • Magical music of the Middle East

    November 22, 2013 | 4:13 pm

    Almost two years ago, while watching a YouTube video of Mohammed Fairouz’s “Tahrir for Clarinet and Orchestra,” Neal Brostoff, a visiting lecturer in Jewish music history at UCLA, had an idea. The concerto sounded “surprisingly Jewish,” he thought, and not just because the soloist...

  • A new ‘Magic’ for Mozart’s opera

    November 20, 2013 | 3:55 pm

    Opera director Barrie Kosky didn’t like Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” when he first saw it at age 10. Mozart’s Singspiel — a genre of opera characterized by spoken dialogue, along with singing — was a big hit in 1791, and the composer himself goofed around on stage during some of the...

  • Kristallnacht, honored musically

    November 6, 2013 | 2:44 pm

    On Nov. 9, music by Samuel Adler, Steve Reich, Arnold Schoenberg and Eric Zeisl will observe the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht as part of the enterprising Jacaranda concert series. 

    Kristallnacht was the night in 1938 when the Nazis launched a two-day pogrom throughout...

  • Israel Philharmonic Orchestra: A gift for all ‘Seasons’

    October 23, 2013 | 10:37 am

    When the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) performs Vivaldi’s evergreen “The Four Seasons” at a benefit at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Oct. 30, the orchestra won’t be made up of its 100-plus players. Instead, the event, which is a fundraiser for the orchestra and its only Los...

  • ‘Einstein on the Beach’ finally hits L.A.’s shore

    September 6, 2013 | 2:09 pm

    The 1976 premiere of “Einstein on the Beach” shook audiences up, recalling the shock at Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” in 1913. There was something incomprehensible, even infuriating, about Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s “Einstein,” but in spite of that — or perhaps, in part,...

  • Rediscovering Ben-Haim

    September 6, 2013 | 2:03 pm

    In 1920, Paul Frankenburger was 23 and an up-and-coming German conductor and composer. For the next four years, he assisted two of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, Bruno Walter and Hans Knappertsbusch, but by 1933, the Nazis had forced him to immigrate to Palestine. At...

  • Klezmer, classical royalty at the Bowl

    August 14, 2013 | 1:15 pm

    “Energy is eternal delight,” the poet William Blake said, and klezmer music proves his point. For centuries throughout Jewish Eastern Europe, rhythmically high-strung klezmer bands, which often featured a virtuoso violinist and clarinetist trading licks, were a provocation to...

  • Full of sound and fury: Bloch’s ‘Macbeth’ opera gets a rare airing

    May 29, 2013 | 11:55 am

    Ernest Bloch, the renowned 20th century Swiss-born American composer, wrote just one opera, “Macbeth,” and it has rarely been produced in the United States since its 1910 Paris premiere. Now, the Long Beach Opera is presenting the opera’s first U.S. staging since John Houseman’s...

  • Matt Haimovitz: Global yet grounded

    March 20, 2013 | 7:05 am

    Speaking by phone from Montreal, Israeli-born cellist Matt Haimovitz revealed that he’s a great admirer of the American singer Nina Simone. Looking at his life and career, one can easily see why. Like Simone, Haimovitz is admired for his solid classical grounding, eclecticism,...

  • ‘Hebrew Melodies’ all in the Shaham family

    February 20, 2013 | 9:56 am

    Gil Shaham does his most eloquent speaking with his violin, but as a recent interview by phone from his home in New York revealed, he’s not a bad singer either. 

    Over the course of an hour, Shaham rendered in a soft baritone voice memorable snippets from Prokofiev’s Violin...

  • Cellist Weilerstein brings worldly depth to SoCal stages

    November 21, 2012 | 1:40 pm

    Cellist Alisa Weilerstein grew up in a thriving Jewish community in Cleveland, where before she became a bat mitzvah, she had already made her debut at age 13 with the Cleveland Orchestra. 

    Now 30, Weilerstein is the first cellist in more than 30 years to be signed to an...

  • Joshua Bloom: His voice is more than the sum of his parts

    September 11, 2012 | 11:32 am

    The old theater saying that there are no small parts, only small actors, can also be said for opera. Just ask Australian bass Joshua Bloom, who was in town last month to begin rehearsals as Masetto for the Los Angeles Opera production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” The opera’s seven...

  • Benjamin Wallfisch has music in his genes

    September 10, 2012 | 4:26 pm

    Film composers who venture into the hallowed domain of the concert hall are sometimes greeted with raised eyebrows. Maybe that’s why film-music scholar Jon Burlingame called movie scores a “much-maligned stepchild of 20th-century composition.” Yet for English composer and conductor...

  • Technique, sensitivity the keys to pianist Bronfman’s success

    July 25, 2012 | 11:45 am

    When Yefim Bronfman performs Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto with conductor Lionel Bringuier and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl on July 31, he will be tackling what is known as a real “finger buster,” a term used for a work that is awkwardly conceived for a...

  • Global repertoire inspires international ensemble at iPalpiti Festival

    July 18, 2012 | 5:16 pm

    Among the pleasures of the summer music season is the annual iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates, now in its 15th year. iPalpiti (the name translates loosely as “the heartbeats”) is a string orchestra of 28 young professionals from Israel, Tatarstan, Azerbaijan, Norway and...

  • Slatkin's last stand at the Bowl?

    June 13, 2012 | 12:24 pm

    Maybe it was his heart attack during a concert in Rotterdam in 2009, or perhaps it’s just a matter of aging, but conductor Leonard Slatkin, a venerable fixture with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl for many years, is now thinking about summer as vacation time.

  • The passion of David Lang

    May 31, 2011 | 1:24 pm

    It may seem a sign of overconfidence for someone to tell you he’s rewriting a major work by Beethoven, but for David Lang, who reconceived Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” for his Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning 2008 opera, “The Little Match Girl Passion,” it’s...

  • The Mandolin Rock Star

    May 17, 2011 | 5:44 pm

    Avi Avital plays the mandolin sitting center stage in a hard-back chair. He curls into himself, his face turned downward, and nestles the small stringed instrument on his lap. His intense concentration draws a listener in, whether he’s performing a piece composed by mandolin...

  • Philip Glass’ ‘Akhnaten’ at Long Beach Opera

    March 22, 2011 | 6:24 pm

    Who was Akhnaten? For composer Philip Glass, this mysterious Egyptian pharaoh, said to be Queen Nefertiti’s husband and the father of King Tutankhamen, was a rebel-hero. In the 14th century B.C.E., Akhnaten defied tradition by attempting to forge a monotheistic religion, and even...

  • String theory’s huge and heavenly harp

    February 16, 2011 | 11:12 am

    The harp of biblical times could be played in the hand while walking, but the instrument has come a long way since then. On Feb. 19, String Theory, a Los Angeles-based multimedia ensemble, returns to the Broad Stage in Santa Monica with its signature visual-musical element: a Curve...

  • Ethan Bortnick: Child prodigy, entertainer, mega-fundraiser

    January 25, 2011 | 6:42 pm

    Ethan Bortnick was just 6 when he first appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” playing snippets of piano works by Bach, Mozart and Scott Joplin. He even performed his own composition, “The Tiger Ran Away at the Zoo.” By that age, he had already raised $12 million for...

  • Le Salon de Musiques debuts with emphasis on the classics

    November 16, 2010 | 9:01 pm

    The pianist François Chouchan has nothing against contemporary music, but for the first season of the monthly chamber music series Le Salon de Musiques, he and co-artistic director violinist Phillip Levy have filled all eight concerts with masterpieces of the Western classical...

  • Shul roots sprout into grand arias

    September 23, 2010 | 6:01 pm

    Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, soprano Shira Renee Thomas was drawn to the music played during services at Northridge’s Reform Temple Ahavat Shalom, where her father, Rabbi Jerry Brown, presided. She especially loved Kol Nidrei, and when she finally got to sing that...

  • For many Jews, it’s a hate-love relationship with the anti-Semitic composer

    April 6, 2010 | 8:16 pm

    “Amoral, hedonistic, selfish, virulently racist, arrogant, filled with gospels of the superman ... and the superiority of the German race, he stands for all that is unpleasant in human character,” The New York Times music critic Harold Schonberg wrote about Richard Wagner in...

  • Music Banned by Nazis Finds New Life With L.A. Chamber Orchestra

    March 16, 2010 | 5:05 pm

    If you ask 35-year-old violinist Daniel Hope about his Jewish heritage, make sure you have time. It’s a complicated question.

    “On my mother’s side was an incredibly Orthodox Jewish family that goes back to the first rabbi of Potsdam,” he said during a recent late-night cell...

  • Itzhak Perlman — The Incurable Optimist

    December 3, 2009 | 5:58 pm

    Itzhak Perlman left his native Tel Aviv in 1958, as a 13-year-old, to perform on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and kept on going. In a career spanning more than 50 years, the violinist has performed with almost every major conductor and orchestra in the world. Awarded a Kennedy Center...

  • ‘Dirty Dancing’ Comes Alive on Stage

    May 20, 2009 | 6:48 pm

    Remember the classic line from the 1987 hit movie, “Dirty Dancing,” when the lower-class Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) walks up to the cosseted Jewish girl, Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey), and in front of her parents says, “My Baby belongs to me. Is this clear?”...

  • Wagner’s Music to Ring Out

    February 19, 2009 | 12:44 am

    L.A. Opera to perform its first full cycle of “The Ring,” the German composer’s 15-hour masterpiece.

    There’s an old saying: If you want something done, ask a busy man. In the next few months, James Conlon, who is in his third season as music director of the Los Angeles...

  • Mitisek and Co. expand boundaries of opera with puppets, poetry and ‘Frankenstein!!’

    March 13, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Critics have called the Long Beach Opera (LBO) "daring," "unconventional" and "innovative." While all those are accurate, another word that perhaps better describes the company is "playful."

    Still, one wonders how the seasoned, classically trained LBO musicians reacted when their...