arts & entertainment
The Stephen Gottlieb Music Series presents the Haifa Symphony
— embarking on a first tour of the U.S. — at the Berman.
I Special to the Jewish News
n the late 1800s, a little city called
Haifa was welcoming its first modern
wave of Jewish immigrants, coming
In Russia in 1897, the first sym-
phony by a young composer named
Sergei Rachmaninoff had its premiere.
Critic Cesar Cui promptly compared
Rachmaninoff's music to one of the Ten
Plagues and said its only fans might be
"inmates" at a music conservatory in hell.
Today, Haifa is one of Israel's largest cit-
ies, home to the Technion-Israel Institute
of Technology, founded in 1912; numerous
museums; and a prominent symphony.
And Rachmaninoff's reviews have
On Feb. 20, the Jewish Community
Center of Metropolitan Detroit's Berman
Center for the Performing Arts will wel-
come the Haifa Symphony Orchestra,
making its first-ever tour of the United
States and performing Weber's Euryanthe
Special to the Jewish News
At The Movies
Winter's Tale, a 1983 novel by Mark
Helprin, now 67, was almost univer-
sally praised when first published and
is now often listed among the best
American novels of the 20th century.
It may be the
crown jewel in
ary career, which
includes other nov-
els, short stories, 20
years of New Yorker
columns and, some-
polemics. Helprin, an
American, is a veteran of the Israeli
air force and infantry.
The film version of Helprin's novel,
also called Winter's Tale, opens on
Friday, Feb.14. The official publicity
description of the film is short and
pretty vague: "Set in a mythic New
York City and spanning more than a
century, Winter's Tale is a story of
miracles, crossed destinies and the
age-old battle between good and
This is as good a short description
as any. The novel was a 700-page
opus with scores of characters; even
February 13 • 2014
Overture, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4
and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3.
The concert is part of the Berman
Signature Series and marks the second event
in the JCC Stephen Gottlieb Music Series.
"I am thrilled to have the Haifa Symphony
at the Berman for the Stephen Gottlieb Music
Series:' said Sarah Gottlieb, who founded the
music series with her husband, Harold.
"It's going to be a spectacular event"
Israeli pianist Roman Rabinovich, born
in 1985 in Uzbekistan and the winner of
the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International
Piano Competition, will perform the
Rachmaninoff concerto, which, he says,
lives up to its reputation for being excep-
tionally difficult to play.
The concerto is "gorgeous," he says, but
"ifs one of the most challenging pieces stylis-
tically and musically, a monumental work:'
The best way to prepare for such a perfor-
mance is "first figuring out what the music
means to you, then what the composer wants
to say:' and finally dealing with the technical
aspects. "Then, hopefully, you will master it
and forget about those difficulties:'
reviewers who loved the book were
unable to write a really concise plot
Still, almost all reviews agreed that
Helprin had pulled off a rare trick:
writing a sprawling fantasy novel that
went beyond just being coherent. It
was literary art.
Now critics will
judge whether Akiva
Goldsman, 51, who
adapted the novel
for the screen and
directed the film, has
, been able to trans-
late literary art into
film art. Goldsman
did manage to turn
the life of a Princeton mathematician
into A Beautiful Mind, a highly dra-
matic film that won him an Oscar for
Also boding well for this movie:
Goldsman coaxed an all-star cast
to appear in Winter's Tale for less
than their usual star salaries (actors
include Colin Farrell, William Hurt,
Eva Marie Saint and Beautiful Mind
co-stars Russell Crowe and Jennifer
In my last column, I noted that
American Simon Shnapir, 26, was
Rabinovich, also an accomplished art-
ist, was only 10 when he first played with
the HSO. Each symphony orchestra has a
"different sound and personality:' he says.
Two notable aspects of the HSO: Many
string players are from Russia, resulting in
a "lush sound:' while the brass section has
a number of younger players, which brings
a youthful energy, Rabinovich says.
The HSO, which received the Prime
Minister's Award for serving as the leading
performer of original Israeli compositions,
was founded in 1950 and has 5,000 sub-
scribers to its annual season. In additional
to classical concerts, the symphony has a
choir and a big band, a series for children
and a chamber-music series.
Today, Maestro Xu Zhong serves as
music director of the HSO. A native of
Shanghai, Xu Zhong came to head the
orchestra at the personal invitation of
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahay.
The HSO has an interesting connection
to Michigan. Last year, Israel native Arie
Lipsky, music director of the Ann Arbor
Symphony Orchestra, was named principal
competing in pair figure skating and
that Canadian Dylan Moskovitch, 29,
was competing in the same event.
One I missed:
Brown, 19. He earned
a spot on the United
States men's single
figure skating team
with his great upset
performance at the
Olympic trials, where
he finished second.
Brown celebrated his bar mitzvah in
2007 and grew up in Highland Park, a
If you are at all like
me — a Jewish/politi-
cal news junkie —
you're wondering who
is Jewish among the
names being cited
daily in news reports
about the New
I haven't run them all down, but
here are a few: David Wildstein, 63,
the former Port Authority official
implicated in the bridge shutdown, is
Jewish, according to the newspaper
the Forward, which couldn't (yet) run
Pianist Roman Rabinovich
guest conductor of the orchestra, which he
has conducted regularly since 1997. His
new appointment encompasses conduct-
ing two concerts a year in Haifa.
Elizabeth Applebaum is marketing director at
the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan
Haifa Symphony Orchestra will
perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb.
20, at the Berman Center for the
Performing Arts in West Bloomfield.
The concert is part of the
Berman Signature Series and the
second event in the JCC Stephen
Gottlieb Music Series. $67/$62
JCC members. (248) 661-1900;
down how observant his family was/is.
Democratic Mayor Steve Fulop, 36,
of Jersey City, is the son of working-
class Romanian Jewish immigrants. In
2003, Fulop left Goldman-Sachs, his
employer since college, and enlisted
in the Marines. He was deployed to
Iraq with his Marine Corps Reserve
unit. He was elected Jersey City
mayor last May.
Fulop is seen as a "Corey Booker-
reform type" with a great future. He
claims that long-scheduled meetings
with state government officials, aimed
at helping Jersey City right after he
took office, were canceled when he
refused to endorse Republican Gov.
Chris Christie for re-election.
Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer, 45,
is married to prominent jewelry com-
pany owner Stan Grossbard, 55. His
company's most famous product is the
radiant-cut diamond, which his father
Zimmer converted to Judaism a few
years after her marriage. She says
that she and her family reserve Friday
nights for "family and no work."
The Democratic mayor also says
that New Jersey's lieutenant gover-
nor told her that hurricane-recovery
funds for Hoboken would be held up
until she supported a big real-estate
deal important to Gov. Christie.