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August 11, 2011 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-08-11

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

Stev-n Greenman:

Kledmer music will

be t the center of

hi performances at

Strings That Go Zing!

the Great Lakes Folk

Festival and at his

Klezmer music comprises the soundtrack to violinist
Steven Greenman's professional and personal life.

Suzanne Chessler
Contributing Writer


lezmer violinist Steven Greenman
is getting ready for two major
events in Michigan — one public
and one private but both with lots of tra-
ditional Jewish music.
First, the Ohio-based entertainer will
be appearing with his Steven Greenman
Klezmer Ensemble at the Great Lakes Folk
Festival, running Aug. 12-14 in downtown
East Lansing.
Just weeks later, he and attorney Tamar
Gontovnik, who grew up in Huntington
Woods, will be married at Congregation
Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, where
klezmer-playing friends will be providing
melodies for the reception.
"At the festival, my ensemble will be
performing a combination of klezmer
music:' says Greenman, 44, scheduled to
perform 9:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, on the
M.A.C. Stage and 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13,
on the Dance Stage.
"We'll be doing the Eastern European
Jewish folk music for weddings plus some
Romanian, Moldavian and Gypsy tunes. It
will all be very traditional with traditional
instrumentation. My original composi-
tions will be included, and they have tradi-
tional sounds:'
The festival, produced by the Michigan
State University Museum, marks its 10th
anniversary with a wide range of eth-
nic sounds, including Cajun, Celtic and
Chinese. There also will be a marketplace
of recycled and up-cycled goods, children's

activities and culturally diverse foods.
Greenman, who last appeared at the
festival in 2003, will be joined by Walter
Mahovlich on accordion and clarinet,
Alexander Fedoriouk on cimbalom and
Ken Javor on string bass.
Greenman's other Michigan engagements
have included work with two other ethnic
musical groups: Yiddishe Cup, featuring
Jewish music for shows and special occa-
sions, and Harmonia, regularly featuring
Eastern European folk and Gypsy music at
the Hungarian White Rose Balls in Dearborn.
"I always had a love for Eastern
European and Jewish music:' says
Greenman, who grew up in Pennsylvania.
"I spent a lot of time singing in the syna-
gogue and leading services, and those
sounds shaped my music.
"I like klezmer because it expresses all
the human emotions and feelings. It has
rejoicing, pure happiness and exuberance
as well as seriousness, soulfulness and
maybe even tragedy. It also has religiosity
and profoundness."
Greenman became fascinated with music
listening to his parents play a recording of
Fiddler on the Roof The solos of Isaac Stern
made him want to play violin, and lessons
began when he was 8 years old.
"I took classical studies and played in
the junior-high and high-school orches-
tras:' recalls Greenman, who went to dis-
trict, regional and state youth festivals. "I
attended the Cleveland Institute of Music
and received both my bachelor's and mas-
ter's degrees in violin performance.
"In the middle of my training, I took a

trip to Austria in 1989. There was
an opera festival, and I was part
of the orchestra. Colleagues and
I performed some music in the
street, and we met a gentleman
playing Yiddish and klezmer
"We all started playing together, and
that opened me up to really exploring this
music that I loved deep down but wasn't
fully pursuing at the time."
When Greenman returned to Cleveland,
he connected with other klezmer instru-
mentalists. Working with Harmonia and
Yiddishe Cup, he started traveling to
Jewish folk-art festivals.
"I began doing performances in Europe
with several bands while making time
for teaching and leading workshops and
master classes in klezmer music:' says
Greenman, who also continues his atten-
tion to classical music.
Besides writing his own arrangements,
he writes music for klezmer shows. In a
different direction, he writes music for
Jewish prayer, sometimes coming up with a
melody and then looking through a prayer
book for the appropriate sentiments.
"I think the best pieces I've written have
been from inspiration," says Greenman,

ofwn wedding a few

eeks later.

whose recordings include Stempenyu's
Dream, original klezmer music; Khevrisa-
European Klezmer Music, the listening rep-
ertoire of the traditional Jewish wedding;
and Stempenyu's Neshome, original Jewish
spiritual music.
"I'll hear a theme and develop it. I play
a little bit of piano so I can compose at the
keyboard or violin. Sometimes, I sing to
myself or just jot something down."
A project with the Cleveland Orchestra
has him telling stories with Jewish music.
He wrote one story and combines that
with traditional tales.
Greenman, who met his fiance while
teaching violin at the KlezKanada
Summer Festival, continues his interest in
Judaism through leisure reading, such as
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael
Chabon and Born to Kvetch by Michael
Wax. He also likes playing sports, conced-
ing that's not always best for his fingers.
"I'm working on my vocal abilities," he
says. "I hope to build more creative part-
nerships with other musicians." II

The Steven Greenman Klezmer Ensemble will perform twice at the Great Lakes
Folk Festival in downtown East Lansing: 9:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, on the M.A.C.
Stage, Albert and M.A.C., and 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, on the Dance Stage at
Albert Ave., Lot 1. The festival runs Aug.12-14: 6-10:30 p.m. Friday, noon-10:30
p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. $10 donation suggested per day. For a
full schedule of events, call (517) 432-4533 or go to greatlakesfolkfest.net .

4v c i Ws


Nate Bloom
Special to the Jewish News

Film Notes

30 Minutes or Less, opening in the-
aters on Friday, Aug.12, is a black
comedy inspired by a true-life horrific
411 event.
In 2003, a pizza-delivery guy,
Brian Wells, was caught robbing a
Pennsylvania bank. He told police that
criminals had kidnapped him, put an
explosive device around his neck and
told him he had to rob a bank within a
certain time period before the device
went off. Not long after being caught,
Wells was killed when the device blew
up. Subsequently, it came out that
Wells was involved in the planning of
the robbery. He thought the device
was a fake. His criminal buddies, who
were later caught and convicted, had
betrayed him.
The film stars Oscar nominee



August 11 . 2011

Jesse Eisenberg
(The Social Network),
27, as Nick, a pizza
deliverer. Unlike the
Wells case, Nick isn't
in on any scheme;
his kidnapping by a
couple of goofball
criminals, played
by Danny McBride
(HBO's Eastbound &
Down), 34, and Nick
Swardson, is genu-
ine. They force Nick
to rob a bank while
wearing a bomb vest
attached to a 10-hour
timer. 30 Minutes is
directed by Ruben
Fleischer, 36, who is best known
for deftly helming Zombieland, a hit
send-up of zombie films that was
both hilarious and touching and also
starred Eisenberg.

Earlier this sum-
mer, the hit TV show
Glee became a record-
breaking summer-
concert phenomenon,
selling out most ven-
ues almost instantly.
Dianna Agron
Beginning Aug.12
– and for two weeks
only – Gleeks everywhere will be able
to experience the concert experience in
the immersive magic of a 3-D theatri-
cal movie event, Glee: The 3D Concert
Movie. Most of the TV cast will appear
in the film, including (real-life) Jewish
actresses Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray),
25, and Lea Michele (Rachel Berry),
24. Also appearing is Glee recurring
guest-star Gwyneth Paltrow, 38.

Fine Romance

On Aug.1, the seventh season of the
hit ABC show The Bachelorette ended
with University of Pennsylvania dental

student Ashley Hebert, 26, accepting
the proposal of J.P. Rosenbaum, 34, a
construction manager from a New York
suburb. On Aug. 2, the couple spoke to
the website realitytvworld.com . Here's
part of what they said about religion:
Hebert: "At first, I was nervous that
his family wouldn't be accepting of
me, but obviously, that's not the case.
I mean, we talked about it. The truth
is, three of my closest friends are
Jewish so I know a lot about it. I know
a lot about the religion and the cul-
ture. I think that I'm open to whatever
J.P. wants to do. If he wants to raise
our kids Jewish, then yeah, whatever
you want. I'm very open, and I'm not
really set in anything, so whatever
makes him happy makes me happy."
Rosenbaum: "Religion was never
really a factor for me ... at
family's going to love whomever I
love. They're accepting of whomever I
would bring home." II

David Kaufman

arts & entertainment

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