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Alan Mason, nationally-known performer of Jewish music, to be honored

Nationally-known Miami pianist Alan Mason will be honored on Saturday evening, May 7, 2016, at 8:00 p.m., for his 25 years of service to Jewish music in South Florida and around the world. A concert in his honor will be presented by the Winter Jewish Music Concert and Temple Israel of Greater Miami.

Mason is best known for his work performing Jewish music across the country and around the world. On March 28, 2016, he accompanied a recital of Jewish vocal music at Washington’s Kennedy Center, as part of Pro Musica Hebraica’s series devoted to bringing neglected Jewish music to the concert hall. After that concert, a critic wrote that “The pianist for all the songs was Dr. Alan Mason, listed in the program as one of the country’s leading accompanists for singers of Jewish music. It is easy to see why – his playing was warm, soft, lyrical, perfect for the music; its expressive virtues mirrored and complemented those of the singers.” 

The concert on May 7th will include a reprise of a portion of Mason’s recent concert at the Kennedy Center, as Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell will appear on the Miami concert program. After the Kennedy Center concert, a reviewer wrote that “Russell’s voice–to my ears–was perhaps the most beautiful I have heard in person.” Also appearing on the Miami concert program will be special guests Karina Zilberman, the Director of Jewish Family Life & Culture at New York’s 92nd Street Y; the Amernet String Quartet, the Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University; the Second Avenue Jewish Chorale; and singers from South Florida.

The evening will feature the world premiere of a work of Jewish music commissioned in honor of Mason. The composer is Michael Ochs, who has had a composition recorded by Josh Groban and another which was named Song of the Year by the Gospel Music Association (Dove Award) and which spent 14 weeks at the top of the gospel charts.

For a quarter century, Mason has served as Music Director of Temple Israel of Greater Miami, and also serves many other local synagogues. He created and serves as Program Director of the annual Winter Jewish Music Concert, one of the nation’s leading concerts of Jewish music. Over the last nine years, the concert has presented more than 100 performers of Jewish music.

Mason has also performed Jewish music at a White House Hannukah party, at Carnegie Hall, and throughout the United States. Internationally, he has performed Jewish music in Israel, England, Italy, and Curacao. This summer he will be performing Jewish music in Spain.

Mason frequently performs at musical events presented by organizations within the Jewish community. Every two years he performs before 5,000 people at the national convention of the Union for Reform Judaism. For the last fifteen years, he has been an accompanist for the North American Jewish Choral Festival. He regularly performs for Jewish professional and academic organizations including the American Conference of Cantors, the Cantors Assembly, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Mason is currently the President of the Guild of Temple Musicians. 

Mason in 2015 became the founding director of HaZamir Miami, the local chapter of an international Jewish teen choir.

Mason has also led an active life performing non-Jewish music in Miami-Dade County, including with the New World Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic Choir, and YoungArts of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. In 2014 Alan retired from his position as Associate Professor of Music at Barry University in Miami, where he taught since 1996.  

The concert will be presented in the Bertha Abess Sanctuary of Temple Israel of Greater Miami, a 1926 Gothic-Moorish sanctuary at 137 N.E. 19th Street, located in downtown Miami near Wynwood and the Arsht Center.

Tickets to the concert are $36, and include a post-concert dessert reception. Tickets can be purchased at www.JewishConcert.org or by calling 1-800-838-3006. For further information, contact Joel Berger at jberger@templeisrael.net or 305-573-5900.