OPENING NIGHT: Musical Fortunes
Musical Fortunes: New music based on Jewish and Romani (Gypsy) Routes. A world premiere of new music based on two rich traditions, mined by Oakland composer/performer Dan Cantrell with Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble, Michael Alpert, Rumen Shopov, Dusan Ristic and others. This work has been commissioned by the Jewish Music Festival thanks to grants from the Creative Work Fund, the East Bay Community Foundation-Fund for Artists, and Leonard Kurz in memory of Ursula Sherman.
Award-winning composer Dan Cantrell began composing at age 11. His main instruments, piano, accordion, and musical saw have given way to a unique stylistic voice at once eloquent, eclectic and eerily harmonious. In 2002, Dan earned an Emmy award for his composition work on the KQED documentary "Home Front". The same year his score to "Divided Loyalties" earned him the Golden Gate award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Dan is also the co-founder the record label Odd Shaped Case, an organization that features some of the best and most unique Bay Area artists and musicians.
Michael Alpert has been a pioneering figure in the current renaissance of East European Jewish klezmer music and culture for more than twenty-five years. He is internationally known for his work with Brave Old World, Khevrisa, Kapelye, David Krakauer, Itzhak Perlman, Theodore Bikel and other artists. He is considered the finest traditional Yiddish singer of his generation. Adept at 20 languages, he is also the leading contemporary researcher and teacher of East European Jewish traditional dance.
Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble started in 1979 as a grassroots group of amateur singers from diverse backgrounds who met regularly to share their passion for the stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, lush harmonies, and resonant strength of Eastern European women's vocal music. Kitka has grown to earn recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chorus America, and the American Choral Directors' Association as one of this country's premier vocal ensembles.
Rumen Sali Shopov hails from Gotse Delchev, Bulgaria. An astonishing master of the tambura (long necked mandolin), bouzouki, and an accomplished drummer and vocalist, Rumen was the concertmaster of the Nevrokopski Folk Ensemble, Bulgaria's first national folk ensemble, for more than 20 years. He was also lead member of two of the Pirin region's hottest bands: "Shturo Make" and "Orkestar Orbita.". Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, he has assembled a band that captures and showcases the sparkling fretwork, incendiary rhythms, and expressive soul of his native Bulgarian/Turkish-Romani musical tradition.
A native of Valjevo, Serbia, Dushan Ristic is enthusiastic about giving the world a window on his culture as an artist, musician and Roma activist. With his brother Dragan, he is a founding member of the Serbian Romani band, and began the Amala School with the goals of promoting Roma culture and providi
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
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