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October 01, 1993 - Image 95

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Al l Tha t J azz
1: : 1 1

Sasha Burshtein came to the United States to gain musical freedom.

SUZANNE CIESSLER SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

programs and whose audition
for the group was decidedly
informal.
Ms. Horowitz was invited to
hear him play at Opus One, the
Renaissance Center club that
remains his continuing em-

Mr. Burshtein said he left a
successful career to come to the
United States at the urging of
friends who made their decision
years earlier.
"I wanted more artistic free-
dom," said Mr. Burshtein,

pleted, he vigorously pursued
his career, forming his own
band and touring the country.
He also had the Sasha Bur-
shtein Trio, which was featured
on two Soviet television shows,
"Nocturne" and "After 11."

hotos by Glenn Triest

efore Sasha Bur-
also features soprano Valerie
shtein knew
Yova. Together they will pre-
America,
sent songs from classic films in-
he
cluding Singing in the Rain. A
knew American
music. With a
Man and a Woman, Casablan-
ca and The Wizard of Oz.
special apprecia-
tion for jazz, the
Film music awakens some of
his happiest career memories.
42-year-old pi-
anist immigrated to the United
"Playing for the movies was
States from Byelorussia in
my favorite work in Russia be-
1989, looking for greater op-
cause it was very creative and
portunities to perform that style
exciting," he said. 'The pay was
as well as other kinds of music.
good, and it felt good watching
He believes this new year will
the movies that I helped make."
mark a professional turning
Mr. Burshtein's program is
point for him.
the first in the LCE pops series
"I see the signs now that my
planned for the Gem Theatre,
career is moving," said the in-
where three other Sunday
strumentalist. His work in what
brunch musicales will be held.
was the Soviet Union included
In its 14th season, the LCE
touring as a pianist and band
has two other series — three
leader, playing background mu-
concerts at Orchestra Hall and
sic in films, appearing on TV
five concerts at the Grosse
and radio and teaching.
Pointe War Memorial. The sea-
Part of his optimism stems
son, which also features mem-
from a debut association
with the Lyric Chamber
Ensemble (LCE), which
has scheduled him as a
featured performer in one
of 12 concerts planned for
its 1993-94 season.
Although Mr. Bur-
shtein found work as a
musician soon after relo-
cating, the jobs have been
more commercial than
artistic, making the LCE
program very important
to him.
He started out with the
LCE by teaching in the
group's 1993 Summer
Music Experience, a two-
week day camp for musi-
cally-gifted youngsters.
He demonstrated how the
traditional birthday song New sounds from old songs.
can take on innovative
sounds using different pi-
ano techniques.
bers of the Detroit Symphony
"I improvise when I play the
Orchestra, will highlight works
by composers from the Far East
piano," Mr. Burshtein said
and by Western composers
about his personal style and
whose works were inspired by
why he considers it unique. "I
the Orient.
play the way a song was writ-
"Fedora Horowitz (LCE
ten by the composer, then com-
founder and artistic director)
pletely change everything with
finds interesting material and
different harmonies and un-
usual key movements."
has the ability to create inter-
est in concerts," said Mr. Bursh-
He is now preparing for the
tein, who enjoys attending LCE
Nov. 14 LCE pops concert that

ployer.
The LCE artistic director is
one of four Michigan people the
pianist credits for helping him
progress professionally. His
cousin, Rita Lipsky of South-
field, introduced him to Jerry
Ross of Lorio-Ross Entertain-
ment, the agency that found his
early job placements. Jack
Christian, who heard him at the
club, also acts as his promoter.

whose teachers had discouraged
him from playing jazz. He also
felt composing opportunities
were not open to Jews in his for-
mer country.
Mr. Burshtein started to play
the piano by ear at age 6, en-
couraged by his father, a music
school director. The pianist be-
gan to read music at age 8, and
in the seventh grade was sent
to a Minsk school, where he
could focus on his talent while
completing standard educa-
tional requirements.
After attending a conserva-
tory, he taught for six months
until being drafted into the So-
viet army and serving for two
years.
With military service corn-

Mr. Burshtein moved to the
United States with his wife,
Ludy, a music teacher, and his
daughter, Zhanna, currently a
student at Oakland Community
College.
Unable to find any work in
her field, Mrs. Burshtein en-
rolled in beauty school and has
been employed by a Farming-
ton Hills salon, still hoping the g,)
future will allow her to ex- —
change her combs for _-
metronomes.
Since experiencing his recent co
ui
successes, Mr. Burshtein plans c)
to turn some of his time toward
his wife's goals.
"Now I am trying to help
her," he said. El

71

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