This year’s festival will pay tribute to Yiddish as “a thriving culture that spawned its own theater and literature,” according to a statement by the festival’s director, Aron Zelkowicz. “This lovely and versatile hybrid of German and Hebrew is brought to life in its own concert series as part of the seventh annual Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival.”
Here is this year’s concert lineup:
• The opening concert, slated for Monday, June 7, 7:30 p.m., at Rodef Shalom Congregation, is titled “Hidden Yiddish Treasures: the Art Songs of Leo Zeitlin.” Zeitlin (1884-1930) brought to life the spirituality, humor and hardships of Old World Europe, according to Zelkowicz. “Only in recent years has his music been discovered and performed. Accompanied by the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival’s resident AGAM Ensemble, mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, baritone Guenko Guechev and singer/actress Daniella Rabbani will interpret his music. Also included is a world premiere of a new Yiddish song setting by Pittsburgh composer David Stock.
• “100 Years of Jewish Theater Music: From the Yiddish Stage to the Klezmer Revival,” featuring Zalmen Mlotek
with Susan Leviton, will be performed Thursday, June 10, 7:30 p.m., at the
Katz Performing Arts Center of the
Jewish Community Center, Squirrel Hill.
Mlotek uncovers Yiddish melodies in contemporary stage and film and transforms them into Gershwin, Berlin and Cab Calloway jazz numbers, according to Zelkowicz. Artistic director of The National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene, America's only Yiddish theater, he is an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music. Accompanied by vocalist Leviton, this historically informed program features a slide show and English supertitles.
• “Yiddish Meets Klezmer!” with Adrienne Cooper, Marilyn Lerner, and Alicia Svigals, Sunday, June 13,
7:30 p.m., Temple Emanuel of South Hills; and Monday, June 14, 7:30 p.m. at the Katz Performing Arts Center,
• Cooper is a Yiddish concert diva. Lerner is a pianist known for improvisations of klez-jazz fusion. Svigals, a founding member of the Klezmatics, is one of klezmer music’s most distinctive violinists.
Visit proartstickets.org or call (412) 394-3353 for tickets.
The Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival is co-sponsored by the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Temple Emanuel of South Hills and Rodef Shalom Congregation.
The Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival is made possible in part by Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Diskin Music Fund and the Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative.