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L.A. Jewish Symphony goes mainstream at the Ford

Posted By Karen Young On August 3, 2009 @ 11:04 pm In Arts & Culture,Featured,Music,spotlight | 4 Comments

hannahBY HANNAH COHEN

Dr. Noreen Green, founder, artistic director and conductor of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony (LAJS),  has made strides in many areas of her life to bring  Jewish culture to the  greater public’s attention.

Dr. Noreen Green

Dr. Noreen Green

Under her baton (and since its inception in 1994), the LAJS has performed in concert with an international roster of Jewish and Israeli artists, including such entertainers as Billy Crystal, Tovah Feldshuh, Leonard Nimoy, Randy Newman, Theodore Bikel, Laraine Newman, Valerie Harper, Pat Boone, Lainie Kazan, Fyvush Finkel, Dave Koz and Marvin Hamlisch.

In addition to her work for the LAJS,  Dr. Green is the music director at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, as well as a world renowned  lecturer and educator. Through her work, she goads Jewish music, which has been a mere whisper in the modern music scene, to bellow a mellifluous tone which rings throughout diverse music halls and theaters.

Her upcoming concert,“L’Chaim” (To Life!): A Musical Celebration of Eastern European Culture, is Sunday, August 9 at the Ford Ampitheatre.

“L’Chaim” will showcase Jewish and Yiddish music and songs of Russia, Poland and other Eastern European countries. Featured performers include guest entertainer Mike Burstyn; soloists Mark Kashper, violin; Zinovy Goro, clarinet; and Yevgeniy Milyavskiy, piano, in an evening that will toast hallowed cultural traditions.

Playing at a mainstream venue without a Jewish orientation, such as the Ford Ampitheatre, would seem daunting to most, but Dr. Green thrives with the challenge. She says that classical Jewish music is underexposed and deserves the appropriate attention.  Through her driving passion for education, Dr. Green involves her audience in the pieces, remarking that many come away with an appreciation of the music, and moreover, with a love of the style.

Dr. Green derives the strength and assurance for this challenge from her experience in teaching.

Dave Koz and Dr. Noreen Green

Dave Koz and Dr. Noreen Green

“Educating the audience about the music being played is my personal mission and what makes up a truly great concert,” she says. “In every concert or musical endeavor, I want the audience or performers to come away with a deeper understanding of the music and feel more familiar and connected with the piece.”

She strives to gain the audience’s involvement in the concert through her unique philosophy that combines education and entertainment.  She intends to apply  this in her Ford concert by taking breaks from the music and creatively “teaching” from the podium.

Through this unifying interest, open mindedness and adoration for music, Dr. Green produces unique concerts such as “L’Chaim,” skillfully bringing  Jewish musical history, tradition and culture to life.

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Detailed program information for “L’Chaim” (To Life!): A Musical Celebration of Eastern European Culture: The first half of the program includes Wladislaw Szpilman’s Piano Concertino, featured in the Academy Award-winning film “The Pianist” and written while the composer was interned in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Rising pianist Yevgeniy Milyavskiy’s performance represents the LAJS’s artistic vision providing opportunities for young musicians to appear with a symphony orchestra.  Also on the program is The Fiddler, based on a Yiddish Sholem Aleichem tale, written by American composer Elliot Finkel for violin, narrator and orchestra, spotlighting LAJS Concertmaster Mark Kashper and entertainer Mike Burstyn.  Rounding out the evening’s first half is To the Wedding with soloist Zinovy Goro, clarinet, by Grzegorz Fitelberg (1879-1953), the legendary composer/conductor internationally known as “the Ambassador of Polish Music” whose life was dedicated to promoting Polish art, culture, and music worldwide.  The program’s second half features Burstyn and the orchestra presenting music, songs and stories, adding their voices to international efforts to promote the revival of the endangered legacy of Yiddish language, culture and history.   For further information on the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, log on to www.lajewishsymphony.com

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Noreen Green with concert soloists Mark Kashper, violin (left), and Zinovy Goro, clarinet Photo: Courtesy LAJS

The Ford Amphitheatre is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood, CA 90068.  Tickets, priced at $36 and $25 and $12 for full-time students with ID and children 12 and under, are available at www.FordTheatres.org or 323 461-3673 (for non-visual media 323 GO 1-FORD).

Hannah Cohen, a senior at North Hollywood High School’s Highly Gifted Magnet, is an easily inspired writer. Invigorating forces ignited by a plethora of arts, causes and issues have earned Hannah multiple L.A. Times awards. She constantly strives to find outlets such as writing and dance to unleash her passion and inspire others.

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