composer

A Composer Has His Debut — At 82

03/19/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

It’s unusual for a composer to debut his first opera at the age of 82.

Then again, Harry Bialor is an unusual composer. His opera, “Masada,” is having its world premiere March 23 at the JCC of Staten Island (1466 Manor Rd. 718 475-5200) as part of a UJA-Federation of New York-funded Jewish Music Month program. The piece will be performed by Voyces and Young Voyces, two S.I.-based ensembles, conducted by Michael Sirotta and accompanied by pianist Mimi Stern-Wolfe.

A Holocaust survivor, Harry Bailor tackles the story of “Masada” for his first opera. George Robinson

Before Wagner Was Taboo

When Jews were inspired by the composer associated with Hitler.

07/30/2013
Associate Editor

The orchestral rolling thunder of Hitler’s favorite composer Richard Wagner is almost as taboo in Israel as Hitler himself. To even suggest that Wagner’s music be performed in Israel is to invite a maelstrom of outrage, as if “Der Ring,” Wagner’s operatic cycle (now being performed around the world in celebration of the bicentennial of Wagner’s birth), is morally indistinguishable from the Horst Wessel, the Nazi anthem. And yet, when Wagner died in 1883, the idea that his music would be virtually banned in a future Jewish state would have been baffling to Wagner’s Jewish contemporaries. The Jews of the 19th century thought his music was terrific and, OK, Wagner was anti-Semitic but who in Europe wasn’t?

Richard Wagner

Mahler's Ninth at 100: The New York Phil Gives It Its Due

Gustav Mahler was Jewish though not religious.  Yet he was superstitious.  When he began composing his ninth symphony, in 1908, he refused to name it by its number.  Many of his artistic heroes—Beethoven, Schubert, Bruckner—died before they could finish their ninth symphonies, so Mahler thought he would out-do fate and simply call it by another name.  He dubbed it “Das Lied von der Erde,” and its one of his best.

A Fiddler’s Goodbye

11/09/2010
Editorial

The recent passing — just nine days apart — of Jerry Bock, 81, composer for “Fiddler On The Roof,” and Joseph Stein, 98, who wrote the musical’s book (based, of course, on Sholom Aleichem’s short stories), leads us — those old enough, anyway — to recall and honor the remarkable energizing impact that the show had on the Jewish community of 1964.

Jerry Seinfeld said the other week that his first visit to Broadway “was when my parents probably shlepped me to ‘Fiddler on the Roof.” So it was for a lot of us.

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