Not Your Typical Birthday Celebration

Written by Shamai Leibowitz on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Legendary pianist celebrates 90th birthday with live performances in the Greater Washington area.

Concert pianist Leon Fleisher marked his 90th birthday by performing a series of live concerts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. I attended his Jan. 5 performance at the Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda, Maryland, and in between the notes, played with grace and elegance, you could hear his message of finding hope and optimism in the face of adversity.

Uri Davidi, Simcha Leiner, and 8th Day Band Headline Annual NCSY Benefit Concert

Written by Miriam Cleeman and Aaron Tessler on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

On Dec. 23, hundreds attended Atlantic Seaboard NCSY’s annual benefit concert at Baltimore’s Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The 44th Annual Isaac H. Taylor Jewish Music Festival drew a crowd from across Baltimore and the Greater Washington area and featured musical performances by popular Jewish artists Uri Davidi, Simcha Leiner, and 8th Day band.

The Bluebird of Happiness

Written by Larry Shor on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Jan Peerce was one of the greatest voices of the 20th century, and I was lucky enough to meet him twice — once by accident, and once on purpose. Those meetings remain wonderful and cherished memories to this day. To understand how special he was, let’s start at the beginning.

To My Father, Nathan Shor, On His 14th Yahrzeit

Written by Larry Shor on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

My father, Nathan Shor, of blessed memory, was a man of honor and respect. Every part of his life was seen through that prism. He was born in Albany, New York, but as a first generation American, his outlook was completely influenced by his European parents, grandparents, and other relatives. He lost his father when he was only 19, and had to assume many family responsibilities way before his time. He became the substitute father, even walking all four of his sisters down the aisle in place of his father at each of their weddings! Yet I never heard a word of complaint from him. If it was the respectful thing to do, he simply did it.

The Multi-Talented Maestro Gajewski

Written by Anis Modi on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Burly, engaging, and wearing a plain National Philharmonic polo shirt, Maestro Piotr Gajewski, 59, has an everyday air that seems contradictory to the often-archaic nature of classical music. Maybe because Gajewski — certified to practice law in Maryland and Virginia and still active in two recreational soccer leagues — is anything but your ordinary conductor.

Fighting Ignorance With Knowledge, Prejudice With Empathy

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recognized seven individuals at the 24th Annual ADL In Concert Against Hate, held Nov. 8 at the at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The recipients of the Kay Family Award are individuals who work to bring communities together in response to bigotry, injustice and extremism – using their experiences as catalysts to build a better world.

Remembering Chazan Dr. Mordechai Sobol

Written by Larry Shor on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

The world of Jewish music, and especially chazanus (cantorial music), recently lost a giant figure. Dr. Mordechai Sobol — chazan (cantor), composer, arranger, conductor, and broadcaster — died suddenly in September while in the United States for the High Holidays. He was 67 years old.