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November 29, 2012 - Image 74

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-11-29

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arts & entertainment

Modern Woman

Violinist coming to DSO performs works
by contemporary classical composers.

I

Suzanne Chessler

Special to the Jewish News

V

iolinist Leila Josefowicz brings
new serious music to audiences
around the world.
When she performs Dec. 8-9 with the
Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra
Hall, Thomas Ades will be the composer
whose Violin Concerto ("Concentric Paths")
she will introduce.
Working with conductor Susanna
Maalkki, Josefowicz's performance will
be preceded by Tchaikovsky's Romeo and
Juliet Fantasy Overture and followed by a
Prokofiev Suite from Romeo and Juliet.
"Thomas Ades is a friend of mine," says
Josefowicz, 35, in a phone conversation
from her New York home. "He's one of the
most famous living composers, and I've
performed his work many times over the
past few years. It's a very important staple of
my repertoire.
"Often, when I do very contemporary
music, the symphony likes to balance it out
with something more classical, and Romeo
and Juliet will contrast to the piece I'm
going to play"

Josefowicz recently premiered concer-
tos written for her by Esa-Pekka Salonen
of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Steve
Mackey of the St. Louis Symphony and
Colin Matthews of the City of Birmingham
(England) Symphony Orchestra.
In recognition of her advocacy for mod-
ern music, she was awarded a MacArthur
Foundation Fellowship.
"I support the webcast (at 3 p.m. Sunday,
Dec. 9, at dso.org/live) of this program,"
she says. "The more we experience classical
music in any way is very positive!'
Josefowicz began studying violin as a
3-year-old and graduated from the Curtis
Institute of Music while still a teenager. She
decided in her 20s that she would switch
her repertoire to mostly contemporary
music. Stage and recording work preceded
her graduation.
"Going to contemporary music was prob-
ably the best decision I could have made for
myself' explains the violinist, who started
with the Suzuki method through private
teachers at the encouragement of her father.
"There's so much fantastic music that peo-
ple don't get to hear.
"They do get to hear fantastic music in

The Power Of Love

JET presents I Do! / Do!

Suzanne Chessler

Special to the Jewish News

F

red Buchalter, accustomed to
singing within the large produc-
tions of Michigan Opera Theatre,
takes on a more intimate role as one of
two characters in I Do! I Do! — the musi-
cal running Dec. 5-Dec. 31 (with a special
New Year's Eve celebration) at Jewish
Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield.
Stacy White plays the other character
looking back on 50 years of marriage.
"This is a show that resonates today
as much as it did when it was first done
in the 1960s; says Buchalter, who has
appeared in a number of JET productions,
including Hello Muddah, Hello Fuddah!,
Brooklyn Boy and Boy Gets Girl.
"It spans a time from the late 1800s
until just after World War II, but it's really
a timeless story of love and marriage
through good and bad times and is a nice,
warm comfortable piece!'
Based on the Jan de Hartog play The
Fourposter, the musical takes place in the
bedroom of Agnes and Michael Snow.

74

November 29 • 2012

m

With book and lyrics by Tom Jones and
music by Harvey Schmidt, this version is
directed by Mary Bremer.
"I sing about 16 songs, mostly with
Stacy!' says Buchalter, 62, who has
appeared with religious choirs, at
Congregation Beth Abraham as a young-
ster and Temple Israel recently.
"The song 'My Cup Runneth Over' was
made famous by Ed Ames, and there are
many other songs, including 'Together
Forever: 'I Love My Wife' and 'I Do! I Do!'
"The play actually weaves the story
through the music, which will be played
on one or two pianos. The play is not
about the orchestration or the music itself;
it's more about the lyrics and the presenta-
tion!'
Buchalter, a continuity director for
CBS radio tracking commercials for two
stations, had a long radio career portray-
ing different characters on Dick Purtan's
program.
A Mumford High School graduate
who studied business at the University of
Michigan, he also had production respon-
sibilities while pursuing stage opportuni-

the standard repertoire, which in itself is
very good, but the repertoire gets predict-
able. I wanted to stir things up a little bit.
"I also wanted to commission works by
today's composers. It's a very exciting time
[in new music], and my goal is to get new
concertos written as a musical donation for
the future!"
Josefowicz, the only musician in her fami-
ly, has brought new compositions to the DSO
a number of times. Recalling appearances
with conductors John Adams and Oliver
Knussen, she appreciates the opportunity to
work again with Maalkki, a bridesmaid at
Josefowicz's wedding.
Maalkki, music director of the Ensemble
Intercontemporain, is the first woman to
conduct an opera at La Scala in Milan.
"I met Susanna doing contemporary
repertoire a few years ago when we had a
concert together in the Netherlands!' the vio-
linist recalls. "We had so much in common
with music that we hit it off. We loved life,
food, shopping and talking. She became one
of my deepest, dearest friends. Even though
she lives in Paris, we talk very often!'
Josefowicz's Detroit visit will surround her
with others who are close. Her grandfather,
Ian Harris, lives in Sarnia, Ontario, and will
be at the concert, so her family is coming to
see him as well as her.
The musician, raised in a Jewish house-
hold, will be joined by her husband,
Benjamin Borton, who works in finance, as
well as her two sons and mother. She was

ties as time allowed.
"When I reached midlife, I went
through a mini-crisis, and I went to New
York to study theater and acting!' he says.
"I learned a great deal about the craft and
myself at the Actors Studio!'
The skills he learned in New York come
in particularly handy for this musical.
"From a work standpoint, a two-charac-
ter play can be particularly hard because
we're on stage nearly the entire produc-
tion!' explains Buchalter, who has trained
with a voice coach. "There's a lot of music
and dialogue to learn.
"The other side is that it can be easier
because of the continuous flow. We're not
moving in and out in different scenes, and
we're always relating to the same person.
We're growing as characters.
"We go in and out occasionally to make
changes, but a good deal of the aging and
changing takes place in front of the audi-
ence!'
Buchalter, who recently appeared in
MOT's The Barber of Seville and is sched-
uled for both Fidelio and Aida in the
spring, feels very comfortable with the
aging of his character and the themes cov-
ered in the JET production, which relate to
the importance of family in Jewish culture.
"I believe I have the looks and energy
to play the younger man and am well-

Leila Josefowicz

previously married to conductor Kristjan
Jarvi, son of the DSO's former music director
Neeme Jarvi.
"It's not usual for me to have so many fam-
ily members at concerts!' says the musician,
who plays a Del Gesu made in 1724. "I love
it when they come because the life of a musi-
cian is often very isolated!"



Leila Josefowicz will perform at 8
p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and 3 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 9, at Orchestra Hall in
Detroit. Tickets start at $15. (313)
576-5111. www.dso.org .

Fred Buchalter and Stacy White
rehearse for I Do! I Do!

qualified to play the older man!' he says.
"Considering the fact that I've never been
married and have no children, I still find
bits of all of us in this show as it has poi-
gnant and funny times:'



I Do! / Do! runs Dec. 5-31 in the
Aaron DeRoy Theatre at the
Jewish Community Center in West
Bloomfield. $38-$45 with student
and senior discounts. New Year's
Eve tickets: $50 at 6 p.m., $60 at
9 p.m. ($85 for the complete party
package, with food, music and cham-
pagne). (248) 788-2900;
www.jettheatre.org .

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