fbpx
Monday, August 3, 2020

After 20 years, L.A. Jewish Symphony still reflects the Jewish experience

Enjoying this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

When Noreen Green founded the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony (LAJS) in 1994, she had to wrestle with a couple of questions.

First, what defines a Jewish orchestra and differentiates it from other orchestras? And will a woman conductor, that rarest of species, succeed in molding a group of disparate musicians — a combination of community members, high-level university students, L.A. Philharmonic members and studio players — into a disciplined, highly professional ensemble?

Listeners and critics will be able to judge for themselves on Sept. 7, when the LAJS will celebrate its 20th anniversary at the Jon Anson Ford Amphitheatre at 7:30 p.m.

For the event, Green will be reunited with an early collaborator of her venture, the multitalented composer, pianist, actor and showman Hershey Felder. Green credits Felder with helping to shape some of the early decisions and development of the LAJS, although Felder disavows such a key role.

The anniversary concert will feature “Aliyah,” Felder’s concerto for piano and orchestra that celebrates the founding of the State of Israel. It also will draw on music from his one-man shows as Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin and — coming up — Irving Berlin.

The orchestra’s mission statement emphasizes its “dedication to the performance and preservation of music reflective of the Jewish experience,” presentation of the works of famous and not-so-famous Jewish composers and introduction of new compositions by Jewish artists.

However, not all compositions by Jewish composers are necessarily “Jewish,” while works by gentile composers may convey a Jewish flavor. On the latter point, Green observes, “We also play works by [Dmitri] Shostakovich and [Sergei] Prokofiev.”

Green is a multitasker and mother of two teenagers, whose work schedule includes collaborations with the Latino community — using Sephardic music as a bridge for the symphony’s education program — as well as with black gospel choirs and Holocaust survivors. Although she has staff to help, Green spends much of her time overseeing the fundraising and administration aspects of the symphony.

She doesn’t make a big deal about being one of the few women conductors on the scene. She has conducted the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra a number of times. Some deeply religious music lovers in Israel’s capital would never attend a performance if it included a woman singer but have no problem with a woman conductor.

On the podium, Green generally wields the baton wearing a jacket and black pants, but when she appeared in Johannesburg in 2003, for the religious community, she was asked to wear a long skirt.

“I didn’t dig in my heels and refuse,” she said. “I’m a collaborative person by nature.”

A self-described “Valley girl, born and bred,” Green, 55 grew up in Sherman Oaks, attended Grant High school and moved on to the University of the Pacific in Stockton, receiving a bachelor’s degree in music education. Next was California State University, Northridge, where she taught in the music department for 10 years, during which time she also earned her master’s degree in music. She then earned a doctorate in choral music at USC (she is generally referred to as Dr. Green).

She served for 20 years as music director at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino, where she continues as music scholar in residence. “It was through Rabbi Harold Schulweis at VBS that I learned to reach out to other communities and countries,” Green said.

“I love to teach,” especially in the multicultural environment of Los Angeles, she said. 

Her most recent project, which debuted in May, is the 55-voices-strong American Jewish University Choir, which she founded through the Whizin Center for Continuing Education. She also founded, with Phil Blazer at JLTV, the American Jewish Symphony, a touring ensemble. The premiere performance is scheduled for April 26, 2015, at New York’s Queensborough Performing Arts Center, with actor-comedian-singer Mike Burstyn as soloist.

 

The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony’s 20th anniversary concert is at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 7. Tickets range from $30 to $50 (student and children discounts available). For ticket information and reservations, visit FordTheatres.org, or call (323) 461-3673. The Ford Amphitheatre is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. 

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

What This Tisha B’Av Meant for Me

Next Tisha B’Av may be different. We may be commemorating the loss of something much more meaningful.

Why We Should Care How Seth Rogen Went from Jewish Day School to Saying ‘WTF’ to Israel

Rogen is not just an A-list celebrity with a platform and a captive audience. He also is the product of Jewish and Israel education.

Ukraine to Let in at Least 5,000 Uman Pilgrims for Rosh Hashanah Chief Rabbi Says

The quota may rise as high as 8,000, but the pilgrims will have to wear face masks in crowded places and refrain from gatherings of more than 30 people.

The Israel File: Numbers, Graphs and Extras

This post is part of The Israel File, our new Sunday newsletter that summarizes everything you need to know about the last week and...

Nick Cannon Read Bari Weiss’ Book on Anti-Semitism During Tisha B’Av, Calls it ‘Powerful’

"Today is a new day of improving our own words and actions towards clarity and compassion."

A Bipartisan Protest Movement is Rocking Israel and Growing by the Week

As the protests have widened in focus, demonstrators have faced harsh crackdowns by police, who have drawn criticism for using water cannons and tear gas.

Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum Says She Won’t Stand for Authoritarianism in Portland

When reports emerged of federal agents seizing protesters from the streets of Portland and putting them in unmarked vans, Rosenblum sued to get federal officers off the street.

The Pandemic’s First High Holy Days Season Has Synagogues Wondering: Will People Pay Dues?

Across the country, synagogues are bracing for a significant reduction in revenues.

Seattle’s Only Freestanding, Certified Kosher Restaurant Closes Amid Pandemic Pressure

There are a handful of kosher restaurants in the Seattle suburbs.

Shalhevet Institute Explores Black and Orthodox Jewish Identities

The four panelists were invited to give a constructive rebuke to the Orthodox community for the way that it deals with issues of race.

Culture

Shalhevet Institute Explores Black and Orthodox Jewish Identities

The four panelists were invited to give a constructive rebuke to the Orthodox community for the way that it deals with issues of race.

NY Comedy Club Owner Al Martin on What Stand-Up Will Look Like Post-Pandemic

I want to make sure we can get ready to open. It’s going to be a whole new comedy world.

This Penny Picture Frame Just Makes Cents

Have loose change rolling around in your house? Turn them into an art project!

A Jew’s Brazilian Journey Revived in New Translation of ‘On a Clear April Morning’

Marcos Iolovitch’s “On a Clear April Morning” is an especially exotic version of the Jewish immigrant experience.

Wiley Apologizes for ‘Comments That Were Looked at as Anti-Semitic’

"My comments should not have been directed to all Jews or Jewish people."

Latest Articles
Latest

What This Tisha B’Av Meant for Me

Next Tisha B’Av may be different. We may be commemorating the loss of something much more meaningful.

Why We Should Care How Seth Rogen Went from Jewish Day School to Saying ‘WTF’ to Israel

Rogen is not just an A-list celebrity with a platform and a captive audience. He also is the product of Jewish and Israel education.

Ukraine to Let in at Least 5,000 Uman Pilgrims for Rosh Hashanah Chief Rabbi Says

The quota may rise as high as 8,000, but the pilgrims will have to wear face masks in crowded places and refrain from gatherings of more than 30 people.

The Israel File: Numbers, Graphs and Extras

This post is part of The Israel File, our new Sunday newsletter that summarizes everything you need to know about the last week and...

Nick Cannon Read Bari Weiss’ Book on Anti-Semitism During Tisha B’Av, Calls it ‘Powerful’

"Today is a new day of improving our own words and actions towards clarity and compassion."

Hollywood

Roy Moore’s Lawsuit Against Sacha Baron Cohen Over Being Pranked Can Proceed, Judge Rules

By the time the episode aired, it was widely known that Cohen was punking public figures.

‘Expecting Amy’ Highlights a New Comedy Dynamic of Jewish Mothers Making, Not Being, the Jokes

Jewish moms like Amy Schumer, who were once the material, have become the premier comics of this age.

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 74: A Test of Jewish Resiliency

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday and Friday. Rabbi Nicole Guzik shares her thoughts on "opting in" to communal life during these pandemic times. How do...

Seth Rogen’s in An American Pickle

Esther's already seen "An American Pickle" and Erin is still waiting; until the Bagels are brined and ready to discuss it, they join in...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x