Stories from My Favorite Planet - Daniel Pearl World Music Day

Russell Steinberg's musical tribute to Daniel Pearl
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: 
Valley Beth Shalom
“Moving” – “Unforgettable” – “Full of humor and irony” – “Ruth Pearl was riveting” – “I’m so glad I was there” – “Really sorry I missed it; I heard it was great” – “We really enjoyed the concert” – “Masterful writing and performance” – “Wonderful and meaningful evening and I was so glad to attend”- “A special and wonderful program”   Dedication by Richard A. Braun. MD. Founder/Chairman. "The Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles and Valley Beth Shalom are proud to present tonight’s concert as part of Daniel Pearl World Music Days.  We are appreciate the wonderful turnout and want you all to know that the proceeds of tonight’s concert will go to the Daniel Pearl Foundation. Tonight's concert is dedicated to Danny Pearl...his life was brutally taken away by those who only bow to the gods of hate, fanaticism and bigotry. Danny is missed by all of us who still believe that goodness and courage can overcome all injustices. Daniel Pearl World Music Days was created in response to the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl at the hands of extremists in Karachi, Pakistan. Danny's family and friends came together to work towards a more humane world, forming the Daniel Pearl Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications.
Danny grew up in Encino and had many friends who played music with him for years.  He was a talented musician who joined musical groups in every community in which he lived, leaving behind a long trail of musician-friends spanning the entire world. Commemorating Danny's October 10th birthday, World Music Days uses the universal language of music to encourage fellowship across cultures and build a platform for "Harmony for Humanity." Last year, musicians at more than 1,100 events in 63 countries empowered audiences with a sense of unity and purpose by dedicating their music to the theme of "Harmony for Humanity." That number will be much larger this year with over 1000 in the US alone, 34 in Israel, 27 in Malaysia, 17 in China, even 1 in Iceland, and in many, many Muslim countries all over the world.  2010 World Music Days coincides with what would have been Danny’s 47th birthday, October 10th. Among those here tonight is Leslie Hicks, a teacher at the Daniel Pearl High School on Balboa Boulevard in Van Nuys. (Stand) Ruth Pearl, Danny’s mother, will share some words with us before the intermission." The large audience sensed the special connection to Danny Pearl, who grew up in Encino, who was a friend of the violinist, Mitchell Newman, and who had been known by many members of Valley Beth Shalom.  Ruth Pearl's remarks were gripping. The music of Russell Steinberg was deeply moving, humorous, tragic and uplifting, resonating with the stories which he had selected.The performance was outstanding, greeted with a standing ovation by the audience. This was a fitting tribute to Daniel Pearl and an outstanding contribution to the Daniel Pearl World Music Days 2010. The program was filmed by a crew from the Daniel Pearl Foundation, Susan Hicks, journalism teacher at the Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Van Nuys, and by Lauren Rosenblum, a reporter at the Encino Patch. Click here to read her excellent report. There are photos as well.
Program: 
Stories From My Favorite Planet: A Musical Tribute to Journalist Daniel Pearl Mitchell Newman, Violin Russell Steinberg, Piano PROGRAM Aria for a Calmer World (World Premiere) Russell Steinberg (3 minutes) Heart of the World Russell Steinberg (11 minutes) Genesis of a Commission (5 minutes) I n t e r m i s s i o n Stories From My Favorite Planet Russell Steinberg (45 minutes) Text by Daniel Pearl Violin and Reader, Mitchell Newman Piano and Reader, Russell Steinberg I. Music: Overture: Driving from CA to MA II. Article: Going to the Top Won’t Get You to Bottom of Bureaucracy Music: Bureaucracy Runaround (Music) III. Article: Search for Mercy Ends in Tears on Quiet Kosovo Street Music: Tears in Kosovo IV. Article: Missing Violin’s Case: The Finder Fiddles While Losers Sue Music: Missing Violin Tango V. Article: Underground Trade: Much-Smuggled Gem Helps Bin-Laden Supporters Music: Tanzanite Tarantella VI. Article: Daniel Pearl Murdered Music: Elegy VII. Article: Registry Saga, Part 2: Intrepid Reporter-Driver Outlasts Chief Music: Epilogue Stories From My Favorite Planet was commissioned by the Daniel Pearl Foundation. Audio CDs of the work are available at www.danielpearl.org. Program Notes Aria for a Calmer World This brief piece spins out a long meditative bel canto line over gently pulsing chords. Its simplicity and directness is both in the spirit of tolerance promoted by Daniel Pearl Music Days and a “deep breath” before the Heart of the World Heart of the World is dedicated to the memory of Raymond Benjamin, husband of Metuka Benjamin, a renowned educator both in Los Angeles with the Stephen S. Wise Temple Schools and in Israel. Ray was a great lover of music and strong supporter of Israel. I remember him as remarkably humble and highly educated. The title of this piece comes from a Hebrew poem by Avraham Ben Yitzhak called “Blessed are they that sow but do not reap”: Blessed are they who know their hearts will cry out from the wilderness and that quiet will blossom from their lips. Blessed are these for they will be gathered to the heart of the world... The image of a thrown stone creating ripples in a pond preoccupied me, with its associations of reverberation and disintegration. And in fact, the piece both begins and ends with chords struck in various repetitive patterns to evoke ripples. Amid these ripples is a nostalgia for the beauty and direct expression of Baroque musical textures, evident in clear tonal harmonies and melodic decoration and textures. In a quest for simplicity, a simple sad waltz in g minor dominates the entire work. The piano develops this melody and turns it upside-down in a more impassioned middle section. The violin interrupts several times with solo lines reminiscent of Vivaldi. At the climax, the violin soars over a melodramatic waltz variation until the music ultimately disintegrates back into the ripples with which it began. Stories From My Favorite Planet On an intuitive hunch, filmmaker Error! Contact not defined.viva Kempner urged me to meet Daniel Pearl’s parents. The Pearls captivated me with stories of Danny’s humor and insight. I had already known that both of us had grown up in Encino and attended Birmingham High School. What I didn’t know was that Danny himself was an accomplished violinist and that his passion to play music helped him establish networks of friends wherever he went. How fascinating that Danny’s curiosity and brilliant journalism led him from humble Encino to ultimately the central nexus of world politics. When I read his articles, I laughed out-loud at his sense of the ridiculous and his love for the creative ways people devised to deal with difficult situations. The title “Stories From My Favorite Planet” was suggested by Danny’s father Judea. I’ve chosen five of Danny’s articles to evoke the journey of his career, each accompanied by music to provide an emotional context. We begin at the North Adams Transcript in Massachussetts where a young Danny delivers a hilarious indictment against the bureaucracy of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Next is a powerful story set in Kosovo where Danny tries to discover if any Serb and Albanian friendships still remain amidst the war. Perhaps Danny’s most humorous article concerns the rediscovery of a UCLA-owned Stradivarius violin that fell off the roof of someone's car but whose new owner is loathe to return it! Danny writes: Ms. Salvato insists she only wants what is right for the instrument. The university "lost it once," she says. "They're really not careful." Musically, I couldn’t resist setting this movement as a tango. The climax is a musical tarantella that follows one of Danny’s darkest stories concerning Osama Bin Laden's gem smuggling trade in Africa. Here Danny discovers how passionately Islamic fundamentalists want to kill Americans, eerily anticipating his own fate. In the musical elegy that follows, you will hear a ‘ghost’ version of the earlier tango. There was no way I was going to end this piece on a depressed note. Danny Pearl’s wit would not stand for it! So we end near the beginning with a sequel to the first article where Danny gloats that he has outlasted the last chief of the Motor Vehicle Registry, only to learn that you can’t beat City Hall! “Stories From My Favorite Planet” was commissioned by the Daniel Pearl Foundation for the second annual worldwide Daniel Pearl Music Day. Russell Steinberg Composer, conductor, performer, and lecturer Russell Steinberg received a Ph.D. in Music from Harvard University, an M.M. from the New England Conservatory, and a B.A. from UCLA. He studied composition most notably with Leon Kirchner, Arthur Berger, Elaine Barkin, and Kenneth Klauss. His works range from solo to chamber and orchestral and have been performed worldwide. This fall 2010 a West Coast tour of six concerts features his Daniel Pearl Foundation commission STORIES FROM MY FAVORITE PLANET performed with LA Philharmonic violinist Mitchell Newman in Santa Barbara, Encino, La Jolla, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and downtown Los Angeles. Recent awards and commissions include an ASCAPLUS Award, Orbit E for the Sonora Chamber Ensemble, a Gold Medal Jury’s Choice at the Park City Film Music Festival for SOMETHING TRUE, and Heart of the World for the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT). The Westchester Symphony in New York and the Hopkins Symphony in Baltimore jointly commissioned Steinberg’s first symphony CityStrains. Steinberg is Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, a group that includes students from over 60 schools in the LA area and performs at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills and the Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles (www.losangelesyouthorchestra.org). A recent Lecturer on the UCLA Faculty, Steinberg is also a popular speaker for pre-concert events with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New West Symphony, and the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest. Special public lectures in winter 2011 include Mahler’s symphonies, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, and the Brahms Intermezzi. He is the creator of AudioMaps®, an innovative approach to music listening intended for beginners as well as connoisseurs. His books AudioMaps® To The Beethoven Symphonies, vol. 1 and 2 were published in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Available recordings of Steinberg’s music include Stories From My Favorite Planet, produced by the Daniel Pearl Foundation (available at www.danielpearl.org), Flute Sonata recorded by Michelle Stanley and produced by Centaur Records, and Desert Stars, a recording of Steinberg’s music for piano and classical guitar. Information about Steinberg’s current performances and lectures is available at www.russellsteinberg.com. Mitchell Newman Violinist Mitchell Newman, a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is a regular participant in the Philharmonic's Chamber Music Society and Green Umbrella series. He also performs with the Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music, and will join them on their 2007 tour to Mexico. He can be heard on their recording of the First and Third String Quartets of Carlos Chávez. Newman and his wife, pianist Kim O'Reilly, perform their own arrangements of music for violin and piano left-hand. He also gives regular performances with the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival in the San Francisco area. In January 2008 Newman will play Vivaldi's Four Seasons concertos with the Knoxville (Tennessee) Symphony. Currently, Newman teaches privately and at Pepperdine University, Malibu, and is the co-founder/conductor of the West Los Angeles College Summer Youth Orchestra. He recently started Hilltop Boot Camp: Orchestra Audition Preparation for Strings. Dedication This concert is dedicated to promoting increasing toleration and understanding among the nations of the world as envisioned by Daniel Pearl Foundation and its creation of Daniel Pearl Music Days. We would like to especially recognize Judea and Ruth Pearl for the special work they are doing with their foundation. Donations to the Daniel Pearl Foundation are fully tax deductible and may be sent to: Daniel Pearl Foundation c/o Jewish Music Commission of LA 16161 Ventura Blvd, Suite C, PMB 621 Encino, CA 91436 Our Special Thanks to: Richard Braun and the Jewish Music Commission Debbie Devine Rabbi Edward Feinstein Julie Heyman Judea and Ruth Pearl and the Daniel Pearl Foundation Erika Torrei and the Athenaeum Library Leonard Wallock and the Taubman Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB About Daniel Pearl World Music Days Tonight's concert is dedicated to Danny Pearl...his life was brutally taken away by those who only bow to the gods of hate, fanaticism and bigotry. Danny is missed by all who still believe that goodness and courage can overcome all injustices. Daniel Pearl World Music Days was created in response to the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl at the hands of extremists in Karachi, Pakistan. Danny's family and friends came together to work towards a more humane world, forming the Daniel Pearl Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications. Danny was a talented musician who joined musical groups in every community in which he lived, leaving behind a long trail of musician-friends spanning the entire world. Commemorating Danny's October 10th birthday, World Music Days uses the universal language of music to encourage fellowship across cultures and build a platform for "Harmony for Humanity."

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Photo of World Pearl Day Participant Badge
Photo of Daniel Pearl
Photo of Richard Braun, Russell Steinberg, Ruth Pearl, Mitchell Newman
Photo of Mitchell Newman and Russell Steinberg