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LA Jewish Symphony Celebrates 25th Anniversary With New CD

In 1938, at the age of 33, Austrian composer Eric Zeisl and his wife fled the Nazi invasion of his home in Vienna for a new life in the United States. When he arrived in Los Angeles, Zeisl committed himself to applying his mastery of classical compositional technique to commemorating the destroyed Jewish European heritage. Now, in celebration of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony's 25th Anniversary, Albany Records has just released The Music of Eric Zeisl with the LAJS, conducted by Dr. Noreen Green.

The new CD was produced and engineered by multi-Grammy Award-winning Frederick Vogler. The recording was made possible with the support of Zeisl's grandson, E. Randol Schoenberg, and Pamela Schoenberg.

This recording is truly a passion project for all of us involved with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, said Dr. Noreen Green, Artistic Director of the LAJS and conductor of The Music of Eric Zeisl. When we recorded the CD last spring, we knew it was a special moment and I am forever grateful to Randy and Pamela Schoenberg for making this all possible. It's a great honor for us and for his family to now have his grandfather's music available to all.

I am a big fan of Noreen and the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, which has been a major proponent not only of the works of my grandfather, but also of so many other deserving composers, many of whom would be much better known if not for the fact of their persecution by the Nazis, said E. Randol Schoenberg. I knew how much Noreen loved Jacob and Rachel from when she performed it a decade ago, and I agreed that this recording would be a terrific way to commemorate the orchestra's 25th Anniversary.

About The Music of Eric Zeisl; Jacob and Rachel and Variations on a Slovakian Folk Song Born in 1905, Eric Zeisl fled Austria in 1938, arriving first in Paris and then to New York City before emigrating to Los Angeles in the early 1940's. He worked in the film industry and then in academia, where he met Benjamin Zemach at the then-new Brandeis-Bardin Institute where Zemach headed the dance and theatre department. The two men set out to create two biblical ballets, one of which, Jacob and Rachel, is performed on this recording. Zemach expertly distilled the dramatic elements of the old stories into scenes, and Zeisl composed the music his forte was exactly that, depicting characters, actions and emotions in music. The second work on The Music of Eric Zeisl, Variations on a Slovakian Folk Song, derives its theme from a book of folk songs called Slowakisch.

The recording of The Music of Eric Zeisl took place at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music's recording studio, located in the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center, in April 2018.

Classical KUSC's Gail Eichenthal spoke with Green and Schoenberg for an Arts Alive segment that can be heard here.

About Dr. Noreen Green, Artistic Director and Conductor; and the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony Known worldwide for her knowledge and skill performing music with Jewish themes, Dr. Green has served as guest conductor in the United States, Israel, South Africa and Canada. In 2017, she was honored by Musical America, the oldest and most prestigious American magazine on classical music, as one of its Movers & Shapers, the top 30 Musical America Professionals of the Year.

Now celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony was founded by Dr. Noreen Green in 1994. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as an orchestra different from all other orchestras, the LAJS is the only symphony outside of Israel dedicated to the performance and preservation of orchestral works of distinction that explore Jewish culture, heritage and experience. The LAJS is dedicated to building bridges of understanding via music throughout the diverse community of Southern California.

Under Dr. Green's direction, the LAJS has performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall; the Ford Theatres; UCLA's Royce Hall; American Jewish University's Gindi Auditorium; The Soraya at CSUN, Northridge; and numerous other venues. Among the many special guests who have performed with LAJS are Dave Koz, Tovah Feldshuh, Randy Newman, Theodore Bikel, Marvin Hamlisch, Hershey Felder and many others.

In addition to its mainstage performances, LAJS is committed to the importance of music education and reaches over 1,200 students annually with its innovative education outreach program, A Patchwork of Cultures: Exploring the Sephardic-Latino Connection. On April 7, 2019, the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony's 25th Anniversary Gala and Concert will honor the organization's founders Dr. Richard Merkin, Founder; Dr. Ian Drew, Founding President; Mark Kashper, Founding Concertmaster; and Dr. Noreen Green, Founding Artistic Director and Conductor. Legendary Broadway star Tovah Feldshuh will headline the concert.

For more information, please visit Los Angeles Jewish Symphony.

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