David Krakauer, From Brahms to Klezmer, Phoenix Chamber Ensemble
Clarinetist David Krakauer, praised internationally for his astounding ability to play in a myriad of music genres, will give his only New York City concert this fall, featured with the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble (Kathe Jarka, cello; Vassa Shevel, piano; and Inessa Zaretsky, piano) in From Brahms to Klezmer on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 7:30pm in the Concert Hall at the Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th Street, NYC), presented by CJH and the Leo Baeck Institute.
The concert features the world premiere of Inessa Zaretsky’s Six Poems for Tamar for clarinet and piano, as well as Brahms’ Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in A minor, Op. 114; Debussy’s Rhapsody, Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint for clarinet and ten pre-recorded clarinets; excerpts from Messaien’s Quartet for the End of Time; and Krakauer’s selection of traditional Klezmer tunes and improvisations spotlighting his signature circular breathing.
Clarinetist David Krakauer occupies the unique position of being both one of the world’s leading exponents of Eastern European Jewish Klezmer music, plus a major voice in classical music and avant-garde improvisation.
Krakauer states, “Ever since the moment I was able to play the clarinet halfway decently I’ve been interested in juxtaposing the making of my own music with interpreting classical compositions. (In that sense I never felt the need to ‘cross’–I was already ‘over.’) It was always amazing to see how the two interacted with one another. Constantly working to create my own sounds (whether it be through improvising or composing) has helped me find my personal key to interpretation: first, always striving to be closer to the moment of creation (play the piece as if I had composed it or improvised it); second, seeking to tell a story; and third, creating a dialogue between my ideas and what I perceive as the composer’s ideas.”
The Phoenix Chamber Ensemble was founded seven years ago by Vassa Shevel and Inessa Zaretsky, and is committed to bringing great music to the community in its cultural context, as a respite from the stresses of busy lives and virtual connections. The environment of The Center for Jewish History, suffused with history, culture and art, has proven to be ideal for the great music performed by the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble and the wonderful concert hall at the CJH is a venue perfectly suited for the intimacy of classical chamber music.
In recent years, Krakauer has emerged as a compelling soloist, introducing his distinctive sound to symphonic audiences in the US and Europe. He has performed with distinguished orchestras including the Dresdener Philharmonie, the Pacific Symphony, the Weimar Staatskapelle, Detroit Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Colorado Music festival orchestra, Quebec Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, New World Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Komische Oper orchestra and the Orchestre Lamoureux. He has premiered and championed concertos by Osvaldo Golijov, Paul Moravec, Jean Philippe Calvin, Ofer Ben Amots, George Tsontakis, Mohammed Fairouz, and young rising star Wlad Marhulets.
Throughout his career, Krakauer has enjoyed major ongoing artistic collaborations with a diverse group of the world’s foremost performers and composers. Highlights include his renowned partnership with the Kronos Quartet on Osvaldo Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, touring with the Emerson String Quartet; performing during the inaugural season of Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall with renowned jazz pianist Uri Caine; an eight-year tenure with the Naumburg Award-winning Aspen Wind Quintet; tours with Music from Marlboro; composing the music for Offering, an homage to the victims of September 11 by modern dance duo Eiko and Koma; numerous performances of David Del Tredici's Magyar Madness, commissioned by Music Accord for Krakauer and the Orion String quartet; and performing in the International Emmy Award-winning BBC documentary Holocaust, A Music Memorial from Auschwitz with music by Osvaldo Golijov.
Krakauer and his band Klezmer Madness! have performed around the world since 1996, forging alliances between his branch of world music and a multitude of musical genres including jazz, funk and most recently, electro. While firmly rooted in traditional klezmer folk tunes, the band “hurls the tradition of klezmer music into the rock era” (The New York Times). Touring internationally to major venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, Stanford Lively Arts, San Francisco Performances, Hancher Auditorium, the Krannert Center, the Venice Biennale, Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, BBC Proms, Saalfelden Jazz Festival, La Cigale, the Marciac festival, WOMEX, the New Morning in Paris and many others has enabled Klezmer Madness! to leave a lasting impression on diverse music scenes around the world.
In 2006, Krakauer co-founded the multi-genre super group Abraham Inc. with legendary funk trombonist and arranger Fred Wesley and Jewish hip-hop renegade and beat architect Socalled. Abraham Inc. heralds a time when boundaries are eroding, mutual respect is presumed, and musical traditions can hit with full force without concession or appropriation. Recent and upcoming highlights include performances at The Apollo Theater and Symphony Space in New York, The Krannert Center in Illinois, Hancher Auditorium in Iowa, The Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston, The Strathmore in Maryland, Cal Performances, The Heineken Open’r Festival in Poland, The Cracow Jewish Culture Festival, the Transmusicales de Rennes, and Jazz a la Villette in Paris. The group’s 2010 debut release Tweet Tweet on Krakauer’s own Table Pounding Records label peaked at No. 1 in Funk and No. 1 in Jewish and Yiddish Music, and at No. 35 in music sales on Amazon. It reached No. 7 on Billboard’s Jazz Chart and was featured at No. 40 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart for fastest sellers.