Premiere of “Three Poems of Yehuda Amichai” in Chicago’s North Suburbs

What a joy to make music again with Cantor David Goldstein!

Cantor Goldstein has been such a huge influence on my musical life since I became bar mitzvah at Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo, New York almost 20 years ago (!) and it was an honor to be there for the premiere of my “Three Poems of Yehuda Amichai” at North Shore Congregation Israel last month. Please enjoy the video of this wonderful performance:

Review of “Ile” in Herald Times Online

from a review by Peter Jacobi, HeraldTimesOnline.com, May 7, 2014 –
2 New Operas Provide Food for Thought, Fun

Ile New Voices“Ile,” pronounced with a broad “I,” sets to music a play by Eugene O’Neill. “Ile” is the way the central character, the captain of a whaling ship in the 1890s, pronounces “oil.” He is fanatic when it comes to filling the ship with whale oil; there can be no return to home, he decrees, without the oil, no matter what the circumstances. It so happens, on this particular journey, the ship gets caught in ice for an extended period, causing the trip to become endless enough for the crew to consider mutiny and the captain’s wife, who had begged to come along rather than once again be left alone for a matter of months, to lose her mind, literally.

Ile New Voices3The score is Italian verismo, updated and made American through language, O’Neill’s inescapably stark New England and composer Donner’s own gift at establishing mood and tone. The music strongly hints of Puccini and his disciples. It draws one in, being melodic, lushly orchestrated and dramatic, eminently suited to O’Neill’s tragic material.

A chamber ensemble of 12 instrumentalists complemented the vocals, thanks to the score itself and to conductor Carlos Andres Botero. He and stage director David Kote gave the cast sufficient underpinning to make O’Neill’s six troubled characters once again come to life. Baritone Reuben Walker and soprano Natalie Weinberg as Captain Keeney and his wife entered totally into that unhappy world. So did bass-baritone Andrew Richardson as a grumpy, griping seaman and baritone Ryan Kieran as Keeney’s supportive Second Mate. Baritone Bruno Sandes and tenor Jake Gadomski added their portrayals of other seamen caught on the gloomy vessel.

Watch the full video »

Akropolis Reed Quintet Premiere March 29

Akropolis QuintetOn Saturday, March 29, the fabulous Akropolis Quintet will premiere a new composition of mine at Heidelberg University in Tifflin, Ohio.

The composition is entitled Street Beat and was composed as part of the Quintet’s Project Sonata commissioning project.

The quintet’s latest release, Unraveled, is available now on CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify.

Radio Broadcast This Morning on WGTE with Aurea Silva Trio

With Aurea Silva Trio

Just found out that the Aurea Silva Trio will be on WGTE Radio this morning at 10 AM performing my music!  You can listen here.

The Aurea Silva Trio is an innovative chamber ensemble consisting of flute, bassoon and piano. The trio is committed to popularizing the existing pieces for this instrumentation, and are excited to commission collaborative projects with modern composers in their efforts to expand the repertoire for this ensemble.

Hope you’ll tune in with me at 10 AM Eastern!

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Carnegie Hall Debut

Chamber Orchestra of New York, Salvatore Di Vittorio, Music Director & Conductor, 'Mountain Suite', (World Premiere), by Ezra Donner, winner The Respighi Prize 2012 Composition

Last weekend was the premiere of Mountain Suite for String Orchestra by Chamber Orchestra of New York in Carnegie Hall.

Thanks to Salvatore di Vittorio and the Chamber Orchestra of New York for making this happen and to my family and friends who came to support me!