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Benefit concert for Toronto charity Balance for Blind Adults

Michael Arnowitt, piano

Tuesday, October 15
7 pm
Al Green Theatre, at the Miles Nadal JCC at the southwest corner of Bloor and Spadina
750 Spadina Avenue, Toronto

Michael’s program:

J.S. Bach - selections from The Well-Tempered Clavier and Partita no. 2 in C minor
Johannes Brahms - Intermezzo in A major op. 118 no. 2
Verdina Shlonsky - selections from Pages from the Diary (1949)
Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonata no. 30 in E major, op. 109, opening movement
Barbara Heller - Prelude from Furore - ein Traum (1986)
George Antheil - Jazz Sonata (1922)
Leonard Bernstein - From Michael Arnowitt’s Jazz Suite from West Side Story
    A Boy Like That, Maria, Mambo/The Rumble, and Somewhere
Michael Arnowitt - premiere of his new jazz composition “Balance”
Michael Arnowitt - jazz composition “Bulgarian Hoedown”

Opening act will be Susanna McCleary, who is a fiddler who will perform a variety of traditional musics including klezmer. Like Michael, Susanna is blind.

Webpage where you can learn more event details or buy tickets to the concert:
Balance for Blind Adults

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Program description

Classical and jazz pianist Michael Arnowitt will present a colourful and diverse concert of music old and new. The program ranges from masterworks of some of his favorite composers of the past, to imaginative music he has discovered by little-known composers of the past 100 years, and finally, some of his own original creations.

The concert begins with music by Bach, wonderfully interwoven music based on the dance traditions of the composer’s time back in the 1700’s, but brought into his own unique musical world. Classical musicians refer to “the three B’s” Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, and Michael Arnowitt will also perform music by the other two B’s. The magical first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata no. 30 was composed near the end of Beethoven’s life as his health was deteriorating rapidly. this extraordinary music takes us on inner journeys to sounds Beethoven could not hear in the external world due to his deafness, but could in his own imagination. Michael Arnowitt’s favorite piece of all time, Brahms’ Intermezzo in A major, has a beautiful bittersweet nature that simultaneously captures the emotions of joy and sadness that fill our lives.

Over the last year Michael Arnowitt has been researching the music of women composers from the past and he hopes in the future to include two pieces each concert by women composers as he gradually learns these piano pieces he has been encountering for the first time. On this program he will perform three selections from Verdina Shlonsky’s captivating Pages from the Diary. Shlonsky grew up in Ukraine and studied in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris with the greatest European musicians of the early 20th century, studying piano with Artur Schnabel and composition with Edgard Varese and Nadia Boulanger. She lived most of her life in Israel, where she died in 1990. . Her music is fresh-sounding and rhythmically lively with interesting transitions where scenes change and dissolve one into another. Also on the program is the prelude section of the German composer Barbara Heller’s 1986 Furore - A Dream. This piece takes the listener on a wild ride reminiscent of the changing patterns of a turning kaleidoscope.

The American composer George Antheil, the self-proclaimed “Bad Boy of Music,” travelled to Europe in 1922 and made his mark with a series of intriguing futurist compositions influenced by machines and technology, such as his Airplane Sonata and Mechanisms. His miniature piece Jazz Sonata on this program has the texture of ragtime and stride piano music but is fragmented like Cubist art into a cartoon world.

Michael Arnowitt will wear his jazz hat for four sections of his Jazz Suite from West Side Story. The suite, in its entirety a concert length medley of nine sections of Leonard Bernsteinís classic Broadway musical and hit movie, creatively transforms and reorganizes Bernstein’s original musical ideas into the language of jazz.

The concert closes with two of Michael Arnowitt’s original jazz creations. First will be a premiere of a new jazz composition Michael Arnowitt is writing for the occasion on the theme of balance - in the key of B, naturally. The finale of the concert is his energetic Bulgarian Hoedown, which mixes together Bulgarian rhythm and harmony ideas with the language of jazz and a taste of the wild fiddling of the American hoedown.