Meira Warshauer’s Concerto for Shofar/Trombone and Orchestra Premiered in North and South Carolina
Meira Warshauer’s Tekeeyah (a call) - Concerto for Shofar/Trombone and Orchestra, was given its Premiere performances with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra on October 24 at Kenan Auditorium of University of North Carolina in Wilmington, NC, with the Brevard Philharmonic on November 15 at Porter Center for the Performing Arts of Brevard College in Brevard, NC and with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra on November 17 at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia, SC. Shofar/trombone virtuoso Haim Avitsur (above, with the composer) was soloist at all three performances.
The October 24 Wilmington Symphony performance was led by conductor Dr. Steven Errante.
The November 15 Brevard Philharmonic was led by their Conductor and Artistic Director Donald Portnoy. Classical Voice of North Carolina reviewer Laura McDowell wrote of the new work, “Seldom have I been so moved on the first hearing of a new work.” Read the complete review here.
The November 17 University of SC Symphony Orchestra performance was again led by their Conductor and Artistic Director Donald Portnoy.
One reviewer wrote of this performance, “Some people hear music in colors. Some in images. Some in harmonic analysis. Some as passive entertainment. But somehow, Tekeeyah seemed to make us hear a search for meaning...”
A segment of the piece can be heard (and seen) on YouTube.
Tekeeyah (a call) is the first concerto ever written for shofar/trombone soloist and orchestra and was commissioned by a consortium of orchestras that includes the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Philharmonic, University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Western Piedmont Symphony (Hickory, NC), John Gordon Ross, Music Director and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Neal Gittleman, Music Director. The commission was also supported by Lilly Stern and Bruce Filler, and Linda and Bill Stern in loving memory of their parents, Jadzia and Ben Stern.
The composer, who began work on Tekeeyah (a call) during a residency at the MacDowell Colony in spring of 2008, has written this about the piece, “I believe this is a time which calls for awakening to our true essence as human beings. Our planet needs us, and we need each other, to care for and heal our suffering world. The shofar (ram’s horn), with its natural power and centuries of service in calling Jews to awaken, can be an important instrument in this collective renewal of purpose.” Read her complete program notes here.
The Jewish Daily Forward wrote an article about the project, which also featured an audio excerpt of the piece as well as an excerpt from her Symphony No. 1, “Living, Breathing Earth.” The Wilmington (NC) Star News also published a nice article about the composer and the music here, as did The Beat, also based in Wilmington.
Israeli trombonist Haim Avitsur (pictured here in the Wilmington performance), has premiered over 60 new pieces encompassing a broad range of styles from solo trombone to chamber music and orchestra. Mr. Avitsur is Trombone Professor at West Chester University School of Music (PA) and at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, NY. From 2004-2007 Haim Avitsur was on the faculty of the University of Virginia as well as the Principal Trombonist of the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra. In 2005 he founded the Summer Trombone Workshop, which has a U.S. residency at Temple University. More about him at www.haimavitsur.com/.
Finally, we thought you’d like to see some lovely words from USC Professor Daniela Friedman, an audience member:
"...your concerto was absolutely inspiring! I was so taken by the music and the story it told. We all listen to music but on this night I really *heard *the music and the lessons it revealed about the mind-body connection, finding purpose and inner strength, awakening our souls, and overcoming challenges. The final shofar calls in the piece, familiar to me from Rosh Hashana, were chilling, awakening us to be true to ourselves and others. I was inspired."
Meira on Spanish Radio
Meira’s Ahavah (Love) and Like Streams in the Desert were broadcast on Spain’s Radio Sefarad (). The links are still available through the Musica/Musica clasica section at the left side column of the homepage. The page also has a Podcast button to download these and other programs.