Jewish music resurges in San Diego County

By Eileen Wingard

Eileen Wingard

Eileen Wingard

SAN DIEGO -A Shuffle Concert will take place this Saturday evening, April 26 at 8:00 p.m.  at the Encinitas Community Center, under the auspices of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture. The following week, Thursday, May 1, 7:30 p.m., Achinoam Nini, known as Noa, will be singing at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. I am happy to see the Center for Jewish Culture presenting these musical events, because, for a while, with the demise of the JCC Music Committee, there seemed to be a dearth of such programming.

I attended the two Shuffle Concerts previously staged in San Diego and found them to be impressive and entertaining. Under the innovative leadership of the Israeli pianist, Eliran Avni, six talented young musicians perform a variety of works in various combinations. Each patron is given a number. If his/her number is drawn, he/she can select one of the pieces. Thus, the audience determines which selections constitute the program of the evening. It is a cross between a concert and a bingo game, with the surprise element adding to the fun. Ultimately, a well-balanced, beautifully performed concert results, because the menu of pieces given each attendee allows for only one selection from each of a dozen categories.

In addition to Pianist Avni, Clarinetist Moran Katz (heard several times in San Diego for America-Israel Cultural Foundation events), Violinist Brendan Speltz, Oboist Jessica Pearlman, Soprano Ariadne Greif and cellist Sofia Nowik will be participating.f

I heard the attractive Yemenite-Jewish singer, Noa, in the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv during one of my trips to Israel. Relatives, living in Kfar Saba at the time, took my late husband and me to the concert and we were one of a standing-room-only crowd. There was something very “heimish” about this warm, full-throated vocalist. I recall her inviting her family on stage and introducing them all to us. At one point, we all rose and the entire throng of people sang and swayed to her music. She is one of Israel’s most popular singers and this appearance at the Belly Up Tavern will be her first in San Diego.

With these two concerts and the excellent programs given earlier in the season by Steven Cassedy and Nuvi Mehta, arranged by Noah Hadas of the Agency of Jewish Education, now under the umbrella of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture, the Center is once again presenting outstanding musical programs.

Earlier in the season, Steven Cassedy, Professor of Humanities, UCSD, gave a wonderful lecture on Leonard Bernstein, illustrated by piano selections by Bernstein and several composers who influenced his life.

Cassedy is not only an excellent lecturer, but he is an accomplished pianist. This program took place at the Coronado Library in Coronado and the Dove Library in Carlsbad. He also repeated it for a Jewish group from Irvine at a retreat held in January during the Martin Luther King weekend.

Another program was given by Nuvi Mehta, known as The Voice of the San Diego Symphony. He contrasted the lives of Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Wagner. A string quartet, comprised of the first desk players from the San Diego Symphony, performed three movements of a string quartet by Mendelssohn. This was the one musical event which took place in the Garfield Theatre of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, home of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture.

I hope the staff and lay leadership will be inspired by the popularity of these programs and bring comparable ones to our community in the coming seasons.

Eileen Wingard is a freelance writer specializing in the arts. She may be contacted via [email protected]  …  San Diego Jewish World seeks sponsorships to be placed, as this notice is, just below articles that appear on our site.  To inquire, call editor Donald H. Harrison at (619) 265-0808 or contact him via [email protected]

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