David Krakauer's The Big Picture to Premiere at Museum of Jewish Heritage
An artist of great renown, clarinetist and cultural visionary David Krakauer showcases his new project, THE BIG PICTURE, a powerful new multi-media production. It pays hommage to both Krakauer's personal discovery of his cultural heritage and in the broader sense, to the journeys we all take to find meaning and connection with our roots. Bringing together an all-star cast of musicians at Edmond J. Safra Hall in the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust downtown, THE BIG PICTURE tells Krakauer's story in an artful marriage of music and the moving image.
This project may be Krakauer's most adventurous to date and will run for a period of four weeks - a first for the venue. THE BIG PICTURE features Krakauer and his sextet displaying virtuosity with highly individual new arrangements and interpretations of familiar movie soundtracks by renowned film music composers such as Marvin Hamlisch, Wojciech Kilar, Vangelis, Sergei Prokofiev, Ralph Burns, John Kander & Fred Ebb and Jerry Bock.
To lend creative intrigue, New York graphics giants Light of Day and Cutting Room have created original films for the production. Instead of using the visual element as a creative starting point, Krakauer's music serves as the catalytic agent. The visuals embrace Krakauer?s adventurous and individual spirit of self-discovery.
Movies include such diverse gems as Sophie's Choice, The Pianist, Cabaret, Radio Days, Funny Girl, and many more. Each movie has a special Jewish connection whether it is the director, actor, composer or whether it is the topic of war and persecution (Sophie's Choice, Life is Beautiful) or Jewish tradition (Fiddler on the Roof).
"For the music part," says Krakauer, "I've taken themes from iconic films with Jewish content and reimagined them with a band of world-class musicians. The album has become more special than I'd ever imagined. It brought me to a new emotional level, reminding me of the incredible resiliency of my great grandparents, arriving from Eastern Europe with virtually nothing. And how they were able to overcome incredible poverty and anti-Semitism to succeed. I've never been prouder to be Jewish. But at the same time I think this project really speaks about how people across the ages have found ways to survive in the face of adversity. That's not just the Jewish experience. It's everyone's struggle."
The Museum itself serves as a compelling location for this residency. It overlooks the New York Harbor, a reminder of the Jewish and non-Jewish immigrants landing on Ellis Island bringing their hopes, stories and vast cultural heritage to this new promised land. Krakauer, whose own ancestors immigrated from Eastern Europe, became one of the most important innovators in Klezmer music, contextualizing the ancestral sounds of his heritage into a distinctive, personal voice.
Born and raised in New York City, his early exposure to diverse cultural influences provides a powerful towline for his music. He earned his reputation as a Klezmer specialist, then showcased his formidable talents in other musical arenas, such as classical music, electronica and jazz. He has shared stages as a group member and soloist with a wide array of artists, string quartets and classical aggregates - among them, The Klezmatics, Fred Wesley, Itzhak Perlman, Socalled, Eiko and Koma, Leonard Slatkin, Iva Bitova, Kronos, Tokyo, the Emerson, the Orchestre de Lyon, the Orquestra Sinfonica de Madrid, the Phoenix Symphony, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Dresdener Philharmonie and the Detroit Symphony.
"THE BIG PICTURE is a special kind of project," says Krakauer. "It's a tour through Jewish history, and an exploration of how the movies show us the universality of our individual quests. I want this experience to serve as an opportunity for all. I am privileged to be the tour guide for this incredible voyage."
Edmond J. Safra Hall, the 375-seat state-of-the-art theater in the Museum of Jewish Heritage offers unobstructed views with great acoustics from every seat in the house.
THE BIG PICTURE album will be available online and in stores nationwide on February 18, 2014. As a courtesy and service to the audience the recording will be available at all performances as a special pre-sale.