‘VOICES’ world premiere in famed New York City synagogue

The world premiere of musician Michael Shapiro’s VOICES is set to take place at New York City’s Central Synagogue to memorialize Kristallnacht.

In the course of his 40-plus-year career, award-winning classical music composer and conductor Michael Shapiro has never had two works in performance as far apart in subject as those coming up this season.

A new rendition of Shapiro’s musical score set to the movie Frankenstein, the only work of its kind to support the 1931 classic silent film, is set for release close to Halloween in Los Angeles.

Shapiro’s world premiere of his latest requiem, VOICES, is timed to coincide with the anniversary and commemoration of Kristallnacht.

GRAMMY-winning musician Paul Shaffer, best-known for his role as musical director on David Letterman’s late-night talk show, will introduce the event at the 1,500-seat Central Synagogue.

Audiences off-site will be able to see this presentation featuring Daniel Mutlu, the Sr. Cantor of Central Synagogue, Ember Choral Arts, and the American Modern Ensemble conducted by Deborah Simpkin King. The event will video broadcast from Central Synagogue, livestream on their YouTube and Facebook channels, and a recording will be released through Paumanok Records.

The concept for VOICES was born more than 20 years ago when Shapiro served as music consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. According to Shapiro, “The composition delivers an ending that bespeaks longing for a Jewish homeland, through which the voices of those stilled by evil and tyranny will be heard.”

Shapiro’s music has been characterized by the New York Times as “possessing a rare melodic gift.” His portfolio consists of 100 works for solo voice, piano, chamber ensembles, chorus and orchestra, as well as for opera, film and television.

His pieces have been performed in concert internationally, throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, and aired on NPR, BBC, CBC, the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and SiriusXM Symphony Hall Channel’s Living American show.

Shaffer, whose background is in Orthodox Judaism, will take part in a Q&A with Shapiro prior to the event. Shaffer is an Emmy, Grammy, ASCAP and WGA winning singer, actor, composer, comedian and multi-instrumentalist. Shaffer appeared on David Letterman’s show as musical director, band leader and sidekick for the entire run of both late-night shows: NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman (1982-1993) and CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman (1993-2015).

by Justin Loeber, New York City

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