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World Premiere Matt Herskowitz's "Jerusalem Trilogy" at Victor Borge Centennial Celebration


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Montreal-based pianist and composer Matt Herskowitz, the lead thinker behind MaD Fusion, a regular contributor to the Absolute Ensemble and Artist-in-Residence at the Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York, is presenting the world premiere of his latest work, “Jerusalem Trilogy," as part of the Victor Borge Centennial celebration at Scandinavia House in New York City on April 29, 2009.

Presented by the Lyric as part of their CHAMMZ (Chamber Music + Jazz) Series, the evening explores music of the Jewish Experience, which was written after 1900 either by Jewish composers or used in a context narrating the history of Jewish people.

Ernest Bloch, a Swiss-born Jew, who moved to the U.S. in 1916 after studies in Germany, often drew on Jewish liturgical and folk music in his writing. John Williams wrote the music for the film Schindler's List. Our Artist-in-Residence, Matt Herkowitz, arranged excerpts of that soundtrack for piano and violin. Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman, a poet andsongwriter, was the first Yiddish musical figure to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship in 2005 for her work and teachings in Yiddish culture at the Sholem Aleichem Yiddish School. Avraham Sutskever is a Yiddish poet, now living in Israel, who wrote about his experiences as a Jewish partisan and life in the Vilnia ghetto in Lithuania during World War II. Several of his poems were set to music by Avraham Brudno, a composer he had met in the Vilnia ghetto and who later died in an Estionan concentration camp.

The program concludes with the world premiere performance of Herskowitz's “Jerusalem Trilogy," written under a commission by the Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York, which fuses elements of Jewish, Arab and Western music to explore differences and communalities of our cultures.

For this program, Mad Fusion's Matt Herskowitz (piano), Mat Fieldes (acoustic and electric basses), David Rozenblatt (drums) are joined by Ittai Shapira (violin) and Mike Block (cello).

For tickets call 212-239-9190 (credit cards & checks accepted). For more information on the Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York

Program Details
WEDNESDAY APRIL 29, 2009, 7:30PM
Victor Borge Hall, Scandinavia House
58 Park Avenue @ 38th Street

Matt Herskowitz - Piano, Lyric Artist-In-Residence
Mat Fieldes - acoustic and electric bass
David Rozenblatt - drums
Ittai Shapira - violin
Mike Block - cello

Suite from Schindler's List:
Schindler's Theme
Jewish Town

Jewish Life
Jewish Song

You Ask Me Why (arr. Matt Herskowitz)

Under Your White Starry Heaven (arr. Matt Herskowitz)

If I Were a Rich Man (arr. David Rozenblatt)

Jerusalem Trilogy
(WORLD PREMIERE performance, commissioned by the
Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York)
Allegro Assai

MATT HERSKOWITZ, Piano, Lyric Artist-in-Residence

Pianist, composer, songwriter and arranger, Matt Herskowitz has distinguished himself in several musical genres. As a pianist, he has released several solo albums, most notably the recent Matt Herskowitz Plays Gershwin, featuring his own solo piano arrangements of Gershwin's Concerto in F and Cuban Overture, as well as the great Rhapsody in Blue, and his 2005 release Gabriel's Message/L'Ange Gabriel, which features his own arrangements and compositions based on popular Christmas themes, nominated for Qubec's prestigious Flix award in 2006. Matt's performance on the soundtrack of the Grammy-nominated film The Triplets of Belleville has earned him much popular and critical acclaim. He performs Bach's Prelude in C minor in the film, loosely posing as Glenn Gould, and Bach à la Jazz, his own jazz arrangement of the same Bach prelude, which is also featured on the award-winning hit soundtrack CD of the film. In 1997 Matt won first prize at the Orford International Piano Competition, which led to his recording of Glazunov's Second Piano Concerto with I Musici de Montral for Chandos Records in 1998. The recording was hailed by Strad Magazine as “by far the best recording on disc."

As a jazz pianist, he has performed at major jazz and music festivals around the world with his group MaD Fusion, featuring drummer David Rozenblatt and bassist Mat Fieldes, including the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Etnafest music festival in Italy and the Hamburg and Bremen international music festivals in Germany, as well as a nine-city tour of Belgium. Their debut recording, Forget Me Not, received wide critical acclaim and was also nominated for Flix award in 2005.

Dave Brubeck, upon hearing the album, wrote to Matt, “Hearing such technique almost ruined my day. This is the final straw, I'd better retire now."

Barry Manilow, after hearing this recording, invited Matt and his trio to join him on his 2007 Christmas release for Hallmark, In The Swing Of Christmas, which went gold in the U.S.

As composer/soloist, Matt recently premiered his piano concerto, Undertow, with Absolute Ensemble at the Bremen International Musikfest in Bremen, Germany. The piece was part of a program called Reinventions, in which five composers were asked to write original pieces based on a Bach Invention. Undertow was one of four major pieces composed for the festival. The German daily newspaper Weser Kurier commented on the performance: “Matt Herskowitz proved himself a highly energetic rhythmian, without comparison in his mastery of the piano ... He could also conjure up absolutely lyrical moments of the compositional structure of his Bach Invention."

His other works for piano and orchestra include his Chorale and Variations on a Theme of Dave Brubeck, a concerto for jazz trio which he performed with the Ensemble Contemporain de Montral in 1998; Serial Blues, which he recorded and performed with the Absolute Ensemble in 2000-2002; Bang, performed with the Absolute Ensemble in 2002-2004; and an expanded arrangement of Forget Me Not for jazz trio and orchestra, performed with the Absolute Ensemble in 2004-2006.

As a songwriter and arranger, Matt has collaborated with pop diva, Lara Fabian, on several occasions. His Piano Nocturne, a nearly 17-minute solo piano piece featured on Lara's album Nue (2001) earned him many thousands of fans in Europe and was a milestone in pop recordings. As a result of its success, Matt and Lara started writing songs together. Two of their songs were recorded by major French artists; Invitablement was recorded by Star Academie winner, Nolwenn Leroy, on her debut album and later became a single, and Avant was recorded by Franco-Israelien star Daniel Levy on his album Le Coeur Ouvert. Matt is currently working with Lara on her latest album, Toutes les Femmes en Moi, a cover album of songs sung by female artists that have inspired her throughout her life, scheduled for release in February 2009. Matt is the lead arranger and musical director of the project. This album is a new and exciting departure for Lara, so leave your expectations at the door! Matt will also be touring with Lara and the band in the fall of 2009.

A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Matt is originally from Albany, New York, and has made Montreal his adopted home of nine years.

MAT FIELDES, Acoustic and Electric Bass

Mat Fieldes is one of the most sought-after bass players on the New York freelance scene today. Equally comfortable in jazz, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and classical genres, Mr. Fieldes has collaborated with such luminaries as Joe Jackson, John Cale, Ornette Coleman, Steve Vai, Peter Erskine, Paquito D'Rivera, Kristjan Jrvi, Joe Williams, Arturo Sandaval and Toni Tennille, among others. His recent appearances include Dream Engine--the latest vehicle for legendary song-writer Jim Steinman. Mr. Fieldes was honored to perform with the acclaimed crossover hip-hop virtual band the Gorillaz, live at the Apollo Theater, and hip-hop luminary Jay-Z at Radio City Music Hall in the spring of 2006. In 2001, he performed on Joe Jackson's album Symphony, which won a Grammy Award for “Best Pop Instrumental."

Mr. Fieldes tours extensively as a solo bassist for the Absolute Ensemble, an electro-acoustic crossover chamber orchestra, which performs at major venues worldwide. Recent appearances include the Sydney Opera House, Klner Philharmonie, London Barbican, the Estonia Concert Hall, and residencies at Bremen and Adelaide Festivals. In 2000, the ensemble won the coveted German Record Critic's Award for its album Mix. The ensemble received a Grammy nomination in the “Best Small Ensemble" category for its album Absolution (2002, Enja Records). Concert collaborations include recordings and touring with Joe Zawinul and a Frank Zappa tribute featuring Mike Keneally and Napoleon Murphy Brock.

As a soloist, Mr. Fieldes has performed Mark Anthony Turnage's concerto for jazz quartet Blood on the Floor with Peter Erskine, at Miller Theater, New York City in 2001. In 2004, he performed the same concerto with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Also that year, he premiered Gene Pritsker's concerto for electric and acoustic bass, Lost Illusions, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, in front of 30,000 people.

Mr. Fieldes is currently a member of the acclaimed MaD Fusion. Other performances and collaborations include the New York based Quasilulu, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestras, Continuum, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Second Generation Productions, and the Jose Limon Dance Company. Mr. Fieldes was born in Hastings, New Zealand. He earned his Master's degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Eugene Levinson, Principal Bass of the New York Philharmonic.


David Rozenblatt's talents have drawn him to all corners of the globe and all styles of music, performing in the world's most revered concert halls as well as intimate nightclubs. He has performed and collaborated with some of the finest talents in pop, jazz and classical and is currently performing with Barry Manilow, with whom he can be seen on the 2006 Emmy Awards, A&E's Live By Request, PBS's Soundstage, ABC's Good Morning America, The Ellen Show, The Society of Singers honoring Elton John, BBC Television, The Jerry Lewis Telethon, and currently in his Emmy-nominated show Music and Passion in Las Vegas. Mr. Rozenblatt performed and/or collaborated with Paul Simon (involving the first stages of his Broadway show The Cape Man), Judy Collins, Cindy Lauper, Donna Summer, Micky Dolenz, Jon Secada, Joe Sawinul, Paquito D'Rivera, Ornette Coleman, Dave Koz, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Mike Keneally, Mark Egan, Danny Gottlieb, Peter Erskine, the Executioners, Pierre Boulez, Dimitry Hvorostovsky, Vladimir Spivakov and Elliot Carter. Mr. Rozenblatt has performed at Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum, the Meadowlands, Gund Arena, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House, Avery Fisher Hall, Blenheim Palace, Santori Hall, the Barbican and Shostakovich Hall.

As a drummer and composer for the critically acclaimed and GrammyAward-nominated Absolute Ensemble, Mr. Rozenblatt can be heard on the group's eight released CDs and serves as a producer on Fix (2002, Enja) and their latest CD Arabian Nights (2006) featuring the great Marcel Halife. He is also featured on many renowned artists' albums of various genres, and on the soundtrack recordings for the feature films The Chamber, WideAwake, You've Got Mail and Swat.

On Broadway, Mr. Rozenblatt performed in Swan Lake, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Sunset Boulevard, The King and I, Miss Saigon, Elton John's Aida, and JimSteinman's Dance of the Vampires, featuring Michael Crawford. He has performed with the Met Orchestra, NYC Opera and Ballet, St. Luke's Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Jupiter Symphony, Concordia Orchestra, EOS Moscow Chamber Symphony, the Moscow Virtuosi, and as a soloist with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Rozenblatt received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from theJuilliard School, where he became a founding member of the critically acclaimed New York Percussion Quartet. Born in the Ukraine, Mr. Rozenblatt moved to the United States at the age of four and one year later began playing drums professionally. He began his formal training at the Kaufman Cultural Center in New York City and, following graduation, was appointed to the faculty--a position he held for over ten years. Mr. Rozenblatt also devotes his time to producing music from his recording studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.


Israeli violinist Ittai Shapira has been engaged and re-engaged by orchestra such as the Detroit Symphony under Yoel Levi, the Royal Philharmonic, the Russian Philharmonic with Thomas Sanderling, the Czech National Symphony under Libor Pesek, the English Chamber Orchestra on tour with Yuri Bashmet at the Barbican Centre, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the London Philharmonia, the Polish Chamber Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic, Israeli Virtuosi at Alice Tully Hall hosted by Itzhak Perlman, the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Jerusalem, Budapest, Shaghai, Omaha and Harrisburg. He has recently assumed the role of conductor/soloist with various chamber orchestras, including the ECO, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and the Israel Chamber Orchestra.

Ittai Shapira made a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut in 2003 with the Orchestra of St Luke's performing the world premiere of the violin concerto written for him by compatriot Shulamit Ran. The recording of this concerto is due to become part of a compilation of Ms Ran's works performed by Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Shapira has performed as recitalist and chamber musician throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and China, at venues such as the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Louvre Auditorium and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. He has appeared at the Ravinia, Banff, Aspen, and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals. He also performs regularly as a chamber musician with Concertante. His discography (EMI, Meridian Records, Sanctuary Classics, Quartz and Sony/BMG) represents his interest in both standard and unusual repertoire, ranging from Bruch to Berio. He is the dedicatee of 14 concertos, and his diverse projects range from the standard repertoire to the eclectic and popular. In September 2006 he reached and audience of 55 million playing on the Jerry Lewis Telethon which was televised nationally in the US. In October, he will be featured in a soundtrack for a film made about Daniel Pearl, The Journalist and the Jihadi and in 2006 will launch a special touring project, performing a concert piece written for him by Glen Roven, The Runaway Bunny. He has recorded this work with the Royal Philharmonic and Brooke Shields for Sony/BMG. Other special projects include a Ragtime Suite for violin, percussion and orchestra; He will be touring with his own compositions as well, titled Virtuoso Variations and Concerto Latino, Liberation for Violin, Orchestra and Chorus and has recently premiered the Avner Dorman Concerto.

Shapira, who now lives in New York, grew up in Israel, where he studied with the renowned pedagogue Ilona Feher. He continued his studies at the Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay and Robert Mann. A recipient of the prestigious Clairmont Award, Shapira has recently founded the Ilona Feher Foundation with esteemed colleague Hagai Shaham, dedicated to the nurturing and promotion of young Israeli violinists.

Ittai Shapira plays a 1745 Guadagnini Violin.


In addition to playing with the Silk Road Ensemble, Mike Block plays in many genres and groups, including his own band for which he sings and writes. The Mike Block Band created two studio albums in 2008, Get In Line and Greetings From the B Side.

Block performs regularly with Grammy Award-winning fiddler and composer Mark O'Connor as the cellist in his Appalachia Waltz Trio (classical/folk crossover), and is also a member of Kristjan Jarvi's Absolute Ensemble (jazz/world/classical crossover), the Sirius String Quartet (modern improv/crossover), the Hanneke Cassel Band (celtic fiddle), and Bassam Saba's New York Arabic Orchestra. Block has also played regularly with the Flux Quartet, the Knights Chamber Ensemble, Argento New Music Ensemble, and the Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York. He has recorded on albums for Lenny Kravitz, Joe Zawinul, The Working Title, Jaymay, and has performed on CBS and VH1 with Teddy Geiger, as well as NPR's St. Paul Sunday Morning with the Appalachia Waltz Trio.

A graduate of the Juilliard School and the Cleveland Institute of Music, Block studied with cello teachers Richard Aaron, Joel Krosnick, and Darrett Adkins. Block also trained with Pamela Devenport to become a Suzuki teacher.

In the summers, Block regularly teaches and performs at many festivals, including both of Mark O'Connor's Fiddle Camps, the Kansas City Cello Clinic, and the Swannanoa Gathering.

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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