McIntire Department of Music


Joel Rubin Ensemble
Midnight Prayer - Kiev
Midnight Prayer - Rabinovitsh
Midnight Prayer - Vinnitsa
Midnight Prayer - Zeydl Rovner

Concert Information

This is the first event of a three-day residency by members of the international Joel Rubin Ensemble. The first half of the concert will present the American premiere performance of the Hungarian duo of Kálmán Balogh and Ferenc Kovács. Utilizing the unusual instrumentation of concert cimbalom (a large, Hungarian hammered dulcimer) and trumpet/violin, the duo combines compositions by Kovács based on Hungarian, Balkan, Roma (Gypsy), Klezmer and jazz influences, with original arrangements of traditional Eastern European music. Kálmán Balogh is perhaps the most well-known and versatile cimbalom soloist in the world today. He leads the Gypsy Cimbalom Band and has collaborated with numerous groups in Hungary and internationally, including the singer Márta Sebestyén (The English Patient) and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Ferenc Kovács is one of the most important European improvising musicians. He leads his own string ensemble, Magony, and is a member of the Mihaly Dresch Quartet, Djabe and the Gypsy Cimbalom Band. Kovács has performed and recorded with many American improvising musicians, including David Murray (World Saxophone Quartet), Roscoe Mitchell (Art Ensemble of Chicago), Archie Shepp and MacArthur Fellow John Zorn. According to Shepp, "he is one of the best violin players in the world and in the meantime plays the trumpet like Miles Davis".

The second half of the concert will feature the full ensemble performing "Midnight Prayer," a suite of Joel Rubin's arrangements of Russian Jewish instrumental klezmer and hasidic music. Clarinetist and ethnomusicologist Rubin is the new Director of Music Performance in the McIntire Department of Music at UVA and an internationally acclaimed interpreter of the klezmer tradition. He studied with Richard Stoltzman and Kalmen Opperman, attended the California Institute of the Arts and received a BFA in performance from the State University of New York at Purchase. Rubin holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from City University (London). He has been the founder and clarinetist of some of the most internationally respected klezmer ensembles, including the pioneering revival group Brave Old World. Rubin has concertized throughout Europe, North America and Asia, appearing at the Berlin Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Tonhalle in Zürich, and Lincoln Center.

The program features music from Rubin's fifth solo CD, "Midnight Prayer," due out in early 2007 on Traditional Crossroads. Rubin will be joined by his long-time collaborators Balogh and Kovács, as well as Russian-born violinist David Chernyavsky. Chernyavsky is currently Assistant Concertmaster of Washington National Opera and a former member of the St. Petersburg String Quartet, and has been performing klezmer music since he was a teenager in St. Petersburg. The music draws its inspiration from the publications of the Soviet Jewish ethnomusicologist Moshe Beregovski, which were based on his own fieldwork in the Ukraine and Byelorussia from 1927 to 1948, as well as music collected by Beregovski's Russian-Jewish predecessors, in particular the participants in the An-ski Expeditions from 1911 to 1914. The Joel Rubin Ensemble brings together some of the world's great improvising musicians to explore Jewish music at the beginning of the 21st century -- music from another time and place, but thoroughly grounded in the present. It creates its own sonic universe, full of depth, virtuosity, playfulness and introspection. The kaleidoscopic soundscape filters the many historical layers of traditional Jewish music through the lenses of the multifarious musical backgrounds of the band's members, ranging from classical to Gypsy to free jazz to contemporary art music. Here the interaction of a great improvising jazz ensemble melds with the delicacy of a chamber music group and the drive of a hot wedding band at the cusp of klezmer, Roma and other Eastern European traditions.

This event is made possible with UVA Art Enhancement funds
It is additionally co-sponsored by:
McIntire Music Department
Jewish Studies Program
Center for the Russian and East European Studies
Slavic Department
UVA Hillel

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Last Modified: Monday, 28-Jul-2008 23:27:25 EDT
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