Hollywood, CA (PRWEB) July 15, 2010
The rich tradition of Jewish composers’ contributions to film history is celebrated at Cinema Judaica, a concert by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony (LAJS) on Sunday, August 8, 2010, 7:30 pm, under the stars at the Ford Amphitheatre. The orchestra, lauded for its exploration of Jewish culture and led by Artistic Director Noreen Green, pays tribute to Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, Steven Schwartz, Danny Pelfrey, Charles Fox, Yuval Ron and other major composers with performances of their scores from memorable movies whose themes, resonating with Jewish heritage, are as significant today as when the films were made. Guest artists include Yuval Ron himself, percussionist Jamie Papish, and Israeli-born pianist Andy Feldbau, a scholarship recipient of the America-Israel Culture Foundation, which is sponsoring his appearance. For more information, see http://www.lajewishsymphony.com .
The program features music from two exciting Goldsmith works, Masada and QB VII; the expansive score of Bernstein’s Ten Commandments Suite; the thrilling music of Schwartzs songs heard in Dreamworks’ Prince of Egypt; Pelfrey’s Symphonic Suite from Joseph: King of Dreams, another Dreamworks film; Fox’s riveting Victory at Entebbe Suite (with pianist Andy Feldbau); and Ron’s West Bank Story, with the composer on oud, the exotic Middle Eastern string instrument, and Papish on ethnic percussion. Additional concert highlights include the world premiere of new arrangements from The Chosen and Thoroughly Modern Millie.
“The dramatic and wide-ranging history of the Jewish people comes alive through the film music in our Cinema Judaica program, a perfect fit for the LA Jewish Symphony’s mission which includes performing works both familiar and unfamiliar by Jewish composers or with a Jewish theme,” says Green. “With our wonderful musicians and soloists at the most intimate outdoor venue in Hollywood, it will be an evening to remember. We’ve sold out our Ford concerts for the last two years, so we encourage people to get tickets right away.”
Jerry Goldsmith (1929 – 2004) was among the most accomplished creators of movie music, and one of his five Emmys for outstanding television music was for Masada (1981), an eight-hour miniseries that chronicled the efforts of nearly 1,000 Jewish men, women and children who held off an entire Roman legion from a mountaintop fortress near the Dead Sea before ultimately committing mass suicide in 73 A.D. The suite incorporates the score’s primary themes: martial rhythms of advancing Roman soldiers and the alternately heroic, dance-like and bittersweet music associated with the courageous zealots and their families.
Legendary composer Elmer Bernstein (1922 – 2004) won the highly coveted task of writing and scoring the music for The Ten Commandments, also a complex problem because the composition had to express scripture, history and drama in music. His resulting score is composed of symphonic themes identifying momentous events and significant personages as well as the great mass of people through whose trials and triumphs the story’s history moves.
American musical theater lyricist and composer Stephen Schwartz in a career already spanning over four decades has written such hit musicals as Godspell, Pippin and Wicked. Schwartz’s score (with Hans Zimmer) for The Prince of Egypt is considered to have played a critical role in the film’s commercial success, and it was nominated for a Best Original Score Oscar. One critic wrote, “The soundtrack helps to carve the film’s highs and lows and propels the epic story forward. At the same time, the music remains an entertaining stand-alone listen. When You Believe won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Danny Pelfrey is a two time Emmy Award winner, a six-time BMI Award winning composer and multi-instrumentalist who has performed and recorded with Carole King, Diana Ross, Tower of Power, Bobby Caldwell, Eric Clapton, Smokey Robinson, Luther Vandross and many others. His television composing credits are extensive, and his work has also been featured in many game titles, most notably the Star Trek franchise for Activision as well as the theater piece Cyrano de Bergerac performed at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Symphonic Suite from Joseph: King of Dreams was recently performed by the Knoxville Symphony under Lucas Richman. Joseph: King of Dreams won the Video Premiere Award for Best Video, the score was nominated for Best Score, and Pelfrey’s arrangement of the song “Better Than I” won for Best Arrangement and Production of a Song.
Charles Fox won a Grammy award for his international hit Killing Me Softly With His Song first recorded by Roberta Flack. Credits in film and television include acclaimed themes from Love, American Style, The Love Boat, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley and Wide World of Sports as well as the music for the films Nine to Five, European Vacation and The Gods Must Be Crazy II. Regarding his music for the Warner Brothers film Victory at Entebbe (about the daring Israeli raid that liberated the passengers of a hijacked American plane in Libya) Fox says, “I was very excited to be a part of the film, because I thought there was a chance to fulfill some of my own feelings toward Israel and in particular towards my Jewish heritage. The orchestral suite uses themes originally composed for the film and develops them into a form which evokes the dramatic tensions, the identification with the characters, and the ultimate exhilaration of victory.”
World music musician/composer Yuval Ron’s West Bank Story Suite from the Academy Award-winning film West Bank Story (2006) is based on the original motion picture soundtrack he composed and orchestrated. The suite interweaves Arabic folkloric motives with East European Klezmer Jewish music. The two “opposing” styles find a union within the unlikely musical tradition of Broadway show tune style, while paying homage to Leonard Bernstein’s original West Side Story score. Although the West Bank Story score doesnt quote any of the lines of West Side Story, it does incorporate the jazzy snapping on beats 2 and 4 which became one of the signatures of Bernstein’s musical masterpiece. Ron’s score incorporates the Oud (Middle Eastern lute), and Middle Eastern percussion along with sounds for a traditional western classical orchestra.
The mission of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony (LAJS), founded by Artistic Director and Conductor Dr. Noreen Green in 1994, is to perform orchestral works of Jewish composers (both known as well as not commonly recognized); establish opportunities for the presentation of new compositions by Jewish artists; serve as a professional resource for aspiring Jewish and non-Jewish musicians; act as an educational medium for Jewish music and composers; and provide educational opportunities for diverse populations of school age children. Over the last 16 years, Green has brought neglected as well as new and familiar orchestral works to the concert stage. Since its debut performance in 1994, LAJS has served over 60,000 people through 49 full symphony concerts, 54 community events and fund raising concerts and 25 educational concerts. The Symphony has premiered 33 works by Jewish composers and works never before performed in America, as well as world premieres and Israeli premieres in Israel. LAJS has provided aspiring musicians of all ethnicities and backgrounds an opportunity to play with a full orchestra, and more than 12,000 students have participated in LAJS’ music education programs. In May 2000, members of the Symphony performed two concerts in Israel with the New Symphony Orchestra of the Samuel Rubin Israel Academy of Music of Tel Aviv University. In recent years, Dr. Green has taken her unique programming and repertoires to South Africa, Canada, and Israel where she served as guest conductor for local orchestras. In September 2008, the Symphony was the featured performing arts group at the historic raising