December 1, 2021

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College benefit concert traces 100-plus years of Jewish music


Raritan Valley Community College’s Arts and Design department will present the virtual concert “Jewish Legacy XX: A Musical Project by Paul Cohen and Anna Keiserman,” streaming live 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, from the Branchburg campus’ Edward Nash Theatre.

The program is the latest in a series launched to help defray the cost of private instructional lessons for RVCC music majors and is part of the department’s MOZAIKA concert series, created to promote multicultural dialogue through the performance of music from the classical canon through the 21st century.

The Jewish Legacy XX project will feature Jewish music from the 20th and 21st centuries, including the Nazi-banned, so-called “degenerate” music of Jewish composer E. Schulhoff, who died in the concentration camps, and music of the Jewish avant-garde movement created by A. Krein and Leo Ornstein at the beginning of the 20th century — a new music genre that blended traditional Jewish folk and liturgical music with western European and Russian romantic styles. The program also will include music by Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim and New York City composer Steve Cohen.

To watch the concert, visit facebook.com/RVCCMusic. The concert also will be available for viewing after its initial performance.

Saxophonist Cohen has appeared as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Richmond Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Charleston Symphony and Philharmonia Virtuosi. His solo orchestra performances include works by Debussy, Creston, Ibert, Glazunov, Martin, Loeffler, Tomasi, and others. He also has performed with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, New Jersey Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra. Cohen holds MM and DMA degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and has published more than 100 articles on the history and literature of the saxophone. Recent CDs include “American Landscapes,” “Common Ground,” “New York Rising” and “Vintage Saxophones Revisited.” Cohen is currently on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music, Rutgers University, New York University, Columbia University and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

Pianist Keiserman’s recent debut album, “Russian Mosaic,” offers rarely heard compositions by Rachmaninoff, Shchedrin, Smirnov and Medtner. Her performance credits include Le Poisson Rouge, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Fête de La Musique. As a soloist, she has performed works by Rachmaninoff, Haydn, Beethoven and Arensky with the Volgograd Symphony Orchestra. Keiserman’s awards include top prizes in two international piano competitions in Russia and the 2017 “Culture and Art” award from the New Russia Cultural Center. She has served as a faculty member at the NYU Steinhardt School of the Arts, at the Rutgers University Extension Division and at William Paterson University. Keiserman received degrees from the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music and the University of Minnesota and recently completed her doctorate in piano performance from Rutgers University, earning the Elizabeth Wyckoff Durham Award for academic distinction and excellence in piano performance.

MOZAIKA concerts are held on the second Sunday of the month at 2 p.m. A post-performance, online discussion with the musicians follows the program.

The concerts are free but donations are accepted for the RVCC Applied Music Fund to help the college’s music majors pay for private lessons on their primary instruments.

For more information, email Keiserman at anna.keiserman@raritanval.edu.

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