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April 24, 1987 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-04-24

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56 . Friday, April 24, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

began by sponsoring per-
formances in people's homes.
Konikow can say, with
certain justification, that he
and his board of 20 members
dramatically increased
attendance at CMS perform-
ances and brought the organ-
ization to artistic heights no
one would have believed
possible years ago.
"Tiny has done well with
the Chamber Music Society.
It's known in other cities as
one of the finest in the coun-
try," said Jeanette Miller
who, with her husband Jack
(Milton), has served on the
CMS board for many years.
Robert Gold, one of the two
vice presidents for the CMS,
explained why people credit
Konikow with the success of
the society. "Tiny is responsi-
ble for developing our series
into one offering world-
renowned visiting artists,
such as pianist Murray
Perahia, the Boston Sym-
phony Chamber Players, the
Tokyo String Quartet, the Is-
rael Chamber Orchestra, the
Cleveland Quartet, soprano
Elly Ameling, and others.
"He's able to hire these
people because he gets to
know many of the artists and
agents so- well and therefore
has developed a terrific rap-
port with them," Gold con-
tinued. "His unique personal-
ity sells the Chamber Music
Society of Detroit to the stel-
lar performers."
How does Konikow do this?
With his love of people and
music, he answered in his
deep, resonant voice."My easy
relationship with children
has carried over into my av-
ocation with music. When a
group comes in to perform, I
treat the members like a
mother hen treats her chicks.
Many of the artists have be-
come true friends and consul-
tants. They've stayed at our
house. My wife of 37 years,
Lindy, and I have played
tennis with them, taken them
on hikes, shown them around
the Detroit Institute of Arts
where Lindy is a docent. We
do whatever they want be-
cause we know it isn't easy
for musicians to live out of
the suitcase. We try to make
them feel like they are coming
home when they come to De-
troit to perform," Konikow
explained.
Many artists only come to
Detroit because of Tiny, ac-
cording to Gold. "After all,
some don't see Detroit as a
cultural center. Those come
here because they know
they'll be treated like family
by Tiny and Lindy," he
added. In addition to Gold,
the other CMS vice president
is Ed Schnee. Leonard Soltar
serves as treasurer.
A number of artists also
perform for the CMS because
they know they will play in
Detroit's acoustically-brilliant
Orchestra Hall. And Konikow

also had a hand in making
Orchestra Hall the home of
the CMS.
"I can't think of very many
individuals who have done
more to advance the classical
music scene in Detroit than
Tiny," said the hall's Director
of Public Relations Jeff
Montgomery. "There are
hundreds of classical music
artists who know Detroit be-
cause of him. Also, Orchestra
Hall has an even deeper,af-
fection for Tiny because he
encouraged the Chamber
Music Society to be the first
major organization to make a
deep commitment to use Or-
chestra Hall when it still was
in shambles.
Konikow's affection for the
hall is just as deep.
"When we scheduled our
first concert there about 12
years ago, all I asked for was
heat and for it not to rain so
we wouldn't get wet from the
leaks in the roof. The place
was filled with bats, spiders
and broken plaster. We did
one concert with the Guar-
neri String Quartet. The
sound was so wonderful that
we sponsored four more con-
certs there and then decided
to make Orchestra Hall our
home," said the man who is
on the board for the restora-
tion of Orchestra Hall.

Konikow had no trouble re-
calling a favorite experience
at Orchestra Hall. It was on
a snowy Friday. years ago
when the flutist Jean-Pierre
Rampal was playing a con-
cert with the Detroit Sym-
phony Orchestra. Rampal had
played the previous year for
the CMS and Konikow was
hoping he'd do another per-
formance for his organization
the next year.
"I picked Jean-Pierre up for
lunch and took him to Or-
chestra Hall first. He walked
on stage with his flute. Be-
fore he played a note, he
clapped his hands, paused,
looked at me and said, `Zal-
man, this is where I want to
play.' Then he hugged and
kissed me. I already had the
contract for a concert for the
next season waiting in my
pocket," Konikow added.
Two of Konikow's main re-
sponsibilities with the CMS
are planning the concerts for
each season and booking the
talent. He keeps up with ar-
tists by talking to others in
the musical field, by reading
The New York Times and by
studying his "musical bible,"
the yearly edition of Musical

America.

The articulate man does
much of his work from the
lower level office in his West
Bloomfield condominium. "I
do most of my work over the
telephone. I love talking on
the phone. In fact, I'm sure I
have telephonitis," he confes-
sed.
He works in an environ-

ment filled with art and
music that stems from collec-
tions begun years ago by both
Lindy and him. It's much like
the surroundings in which he
grew.
"We always had music
playing at our house where I
grew up in Detroit. My
mother, Mania, loved people.
They were over all the time.
My father, Nathan, who
turned 95 April 10, played
the violin. My parents took
us to every type of concert,"
he said.
Konikow also remembers
his father reading stories in
Russian and Yiddish to his
brother Gershen, his cousin
Leon Jaroff who lived with
them, and to him. Gershen is
a doctor of musicology in
New Jersey. Jaroff is the sci-
ence editor for Time-Life Inc.
and founder and first editor
of Discover magazine.
"I ruined a Caruso concert
for my parents by coming
into this world when they
were supposed to go to the
concert," said the man who
weighed less than five pounds
at birth. He has the picture
in his home to prove it, too.
The Konikows have main-
tained a similar environment
for their daughters Lisa and
Kim. Lisa is the manager of
Xochipilli Art Gallery in
Birmingham. She has a black
belt in Ikito and is studying
Japanese. Kim has a master's
degree in stage direction. She
planned the highly-successful
125th anniversary party that
occurred in March for the
Brooklyn Academy of Music,
where she's worked for more
than four years.
Both Lisa and Kim
attended the Jewish Parents
Institute when they were
younger. Lindy was one of
the original teachers. Lindy,
an art historian also is a
former art teacher in
Ferndale. She met Konikow
when both of them were
camp counselors at Camp
Nahelu in Ortonville.
Konikow studied piano for
10 years but knew from the
time he was a young boy that
he wanted to be a children's
dentist. After serving in the
Army Medical Corps during
World War II and after
attending Wayne State Uni-
versity, he went to dental
school at the University of
Michigan. He earned his
master's degree in pedontics
from there in 1952. He's been
working with children, and
sometimes adults, ever since.
Tiny has earned many ac-
colades from his work as a
dentist and as president of
the Chamber Music Society of
Detroit. He was the keynote
speaker four years ago at the
national conference for the
organization, Chamber Music
America. He'll be its keynote
speaker again this summer at
the group's national confer-

K

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