German-Jewish Orchestra With a Twist

This piece was first published on The Arty Semite blog at the Forward.

Orchestra Jakobsplatz color photo JPG-2Those looking to discover a new, young classical music orchestra with a Jewish twist should keep an eye out for Orchestra Jakobsplatz Munich, which is performing in North America for the first time this month with concerts in Maine, Kansas, New York and Montreal.

Conductor Daniel Grossmann founded Orchestra Jakobsplatz Munich in 2005 to bring Jewish culture to German audiences without every concert turning into a memorial to the Holocaust. Grossmann, 34, believed it was time to celebrate Jewish composers by playing their music without direct reference to their fate at the hands of the Nazis. He gathered around him a group of similar thinking fellow young musicians to form the orchestra. Almost all of the 35 musicians, one-third of whom are Jewish, live in Germany, though many of them originally come from other countries.

Orchestra Jakobsplatz Munich brings to life works written by Jewish composers killed in the Holocaust and puts them in a broader musical context by pairing them with well-known works of the 20th and 21st centuries. “We don’t speak from the stage about the composers or memorialize them. We just let the music speak for itself,” Grossmann told The Arty Semite.

According to Grossmann, the musicians, most of whom are in their 30s and 40s, like being able to play pieces that are new to them, while at the same time connecting to music they already know and love.

Click here to read more and watch a video.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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