arts & entertainment
Violinist Johnny Gandelsman follows in the
footsteps of his musically inclined relatives.
I Contributing Writer
ohnny Gandelsman learned
about musical collaboration by
growing up in a family of musi-
The violinist decided on an instrument
after watching the talents of his older sis-
ter, Natalie Sher, now first violinist with
the Israel Camerata Jerusalem.
Both have appeared on distant stages
to perform as a family with their parents,
violist Yuri Gandelsman and pianist Janna
When Johnny Gandelsman appears
Sunday afternoon, Nov. 11, with Brooklyn
Rider for the University Musical Society
in Ann Arbor, he will experience a family
reunion of sorts.
His parents do not have far to travel
to be in the audience. Yuri Gandelsman,
former principal violist with the Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra, is a professor
at Michigan State University, where he
teaches viola and chamber music.
"When my wife and I perform, we lis-
ten [very critically]; the professor says.
"When we listen to performances of our
kids, we just love everything:"
Although Brooklyn Rider is about to
make its debut for the University Musical
Society in Ann Arbor, all of its members
have performed for the society as part of
the Silk Road Ensemble.
This time, members will be joined
by Bela Fleck, banjoist, composer and
"The main piece and the reason for
this celebration is the new quintet, Night
Flight Over Water, that Bela Fleck wrote
for banjo and string quartet:' explains
Gandelsman, 35, in a phone conversation
from the road.
"It recently came out on an album (The
Impostor) of Bela's new works, which
includes a banjo concerto, The Impostor
Concerto, he wrote for the Nashville
"The rest of the program is up in the
air, but we know we will draw from Bela's
material and our own material written
by Colin Jacobsen, the other violinist in
Brooklyn Rider. There might be some sur-
prises as well:'
Also in the quartet are Nicholas Cords
on viola and Eric Jacobsen on cello.
Brooklyn Rider, presenting eclectic
programs, has appeared in a wide range of
settings — from New York City's Carnegie
Zankel Hall to the San Francisco Jazz
"We're a string quartet rooted in clas-
sical tradition, but we love the music of
today:' Gandelsman says. "We try not to
put ourselves into narrow boxes of defini-
tions. We look at being musicians and
creators in very broad terms.
"We commission a lot of new works and
have written pieces together. We try to be
as open as possible with the kind of music
that we make:'
The quartet's name is inspired by the
cross-disciplinary vision of Der Blau Reiter
(The Blue Rider), a pre-World War I,
Munich-based artists collective, and the
Special to the Jewish News
At The Movies
Charlie Countryman, opening on
Friday, Nov.15, stars Shia Labeouf, 27,
as Charlie, a nice American guy whose
late mother appears to him in a vision
and tells him to go to Romania. On
the plane, he sits next to a passenger
who dies mid-flight. Charlie conveys
the passenger's body to his daughter,
Gabi (Evan Rachel
Wood, 26) and falls
totally in love with
her. However, she's
married to a vicious
gangster, and Charlie
has to descend into
his violent world to
try and rescue Gabi.
At one point,
November 14 • 2013
Charlie has to take LSD, and LaBeouf,
a method actor, recently said he filmed
the "acid" scenes while really on LSD.
The Hollywood Reporter praised the
film, saying its mix of romance, com-
edy and action was "gratifyingly" out-
side strict genre classification.
Week nine of ABC's
Dancing with the
Stars has ended
with the elimination
of Farmington Hills
Berkley Lauren, 41,
and her pro dance
Chmerkovskiy, 27. They were favorites
to win it all, but ended up going out in
sixth place despite earning the second-
highest score of the night.
array of cultures and
artistic energy found in
the New York City bor- Johnny Gandelsman of Brooklyn Rider: Music rooted in
ough members define
classical traditions but speaking to the sounds of today.
"I grew up with tradi-
Among the violinist's memorable expe-
ional Russian music:' recalls Gandelsman.
riences in Israel are concerts initiated by
`I was focused on a solo career when I
former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after
ame to school in the United States after
the two met on a talk show.
studied in Israel, where my family had
The late prime minister invited the
young musician to highlight government
"I went to the Curtis Institute of Music in
programs hosted inside and outside the
Philadelphia and started doing more cham-
country. When Rabin was assassinated,
er music and orchestral work. I fell in love
the family contacted Gandelsman in the
with the feeling of sharing musical ideas
United States and asked that he play at the
and playing together with other people.
"The quartet has been around since
International tours, starting early with
006, but members have known each
family, helped prepare the violinist for the
other for more than 15 years. We've played Silk Road Ensemble, founded by Yo-Yo Ma
ogether in many different configurations
in 2000 to bring together musicians from
efore starting Brooklyn Rider!"
different countries working together on
The quartet's most recent recording is
stages and recordings.
A Walking Fire. Among the selections are
"I'm working on finding solo oppor-
Bartok string quartet and a work com-
tunities again:' Gandelsman says. "After
missioned from Lev (Ljova) Zhurbin, a
having the experiences of performing with
a quartet and ensemble, I feel I can bring
"Young musicians play all kinds of
something new and interesting to standard
music now:' says Yuri Gandelsman, who
repertoire of the solo violin and also con-
this year performed a Brahms concert
tinue to work with today's composers in
with his son and daughter for Bargemusic,
commissioning new pieces:'
popular program on a New York boat.
"My son and I have a lot of fun perform-
Brooklyn Rider will perform with
ng together although we don't do it very
Bela Fleck at 4 p.m. Sunday,
Nov. 24, in Ann Arbor's Rackham
Johnny Gandelsman, who rents a studio
Auditorium, 915 E. Washington.
or practice, has two young children with
Tickets start at $24. (734) 764-
his partner, Amber Star Merkens, a mem-
2538; ums.org .
er of the Mark Morris Dance Group.
In 2003, she wed artist Greg Lauren,
43, the nephew of Ralph, and the cou-
ple had their first child last year. She
recently told Joan Rivers, 80, that she
was fine with her son seeing her star
in old episodes of the '80s teen sitcom
Saved by the Bell, but he'd have to
wait a "long time" before she was OK
with him viewing her very adult movie,
Already-aired episodes of DWTS can
be seen on the ABC website. The 10th
week will air on Monday, Nov.18, at
8 p.m., with the season finale airing a
When the Tigers recently named Brad
Ausmus, 44, their new manager,
readers asked me: Who were the
other Jewish MLB managers? Here's
my list, vetted by Jewish Sports
Review. All except
Phillips were, like
Ausmus, former MLB
(1845-1893), the first
player of any faith to
sign a pro contract,
was a player/man-
ager of two teams
in the 1870s; Andy Cohen (1904-88),
Pittsburgh, one game,1960; Harold
"Lefty" Phillips (1919-72), Angels,
1969-71; Norm Sherry, 82; Angels,
1976-77; Jeff Newman, 65, 10-game
interim manager, Oakland,1986.
The following managers had one
Jewish parent but were raised
Christian: Lou Boudreau, Larry
Rothschild and current Oakland
manager Bob Melvin.