Jewish Journal on the June 9th concert

The Jewish Journal has a fine article about the Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell concert on June 9th.  

"After years of studying classical music, I was really looking for music that had more of a range of interpretative possibilities so the chance to be sad, to express sorrow, to express joy, spiritual longing, all of those things, I really get out of singing music in Yiddish in a way that's, personally for me, more dynamic than when I used to sing classical music," Russell is quoted. 

Thanks to Sergio Carmona. Full article.  

Anthony Russell videos

Would you like to see Anthony Mordechai Tzi Russell in action? The best way is to come to his concert on June 9th. But for now, you can see a TV profile of him, and also watch him rehearsing with Alan Mason for his Miami concert. Watch the videos.

Anthony Russell in the news

On June 9th we will be presenting in concert Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, who the Huffington Post called "the new voice of Yiddish music."

Anthony has been the subject of much news coverage lately for his great talent and inspiring story.  

Here's what the Times of Israel wrote: "If you think you know what a Yiddish singing star looks like, think again. The new, hot name in the world of Yiddish musical performance is Anthony Russell, and he’s a 33-year-old, 6’1’’ African-American hipster from Oakland, California. . . . Baptist-born and Jew by choice, opera singer Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell’s ‘niggunim’ have soul."

And here is what J Weekly said: "Meet Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell — black, gay, Jew-by-choice, opera singer turned Yiddish singer. . . . the Jewish world is taking notice of Russell." 

Our first solo concert: Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell

For five years the Winter Jewish Music Concert has presented large-scale concerts of Jewish music, with twenty or more singers at each concert.

On Sunday, June 9th, at 4:00 p.m., we will for the first time present a concert featuring only one singer. The performer at this very special event will be Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, who over the past year has gained attention as the new voice of Yiddish song. He will be singing from the songbook of Sidor Belarsky, one of the 20th Century's greatest singers of Jewish song. 

Mr. Russell's personal story is compelling. He is a classically-trained African-American singer who converted to Judaism and whose partner is a rabbi. But just as compelling is his talent. As one critic commented, "The first time I played a recording of Anthony Russell singing a Yiddish song, it was as if thunder rolled through the house. His rich bass voice wraps itself around a song and makes it rattle the windows.”

Mr. Russell has performed Yiddish song in New York, Boston, Toronto, and Northern California, where he makes his home. This will be his first performance in the Southeast United States. 

Mr. Russell will be accompanied by Alan Mason, the Music Director of the Winter Jewish Music Concert. 

Tickets for the concert are now on sale.

Artburst review of the Winter Jewish Music Concert

Artburst, known as Miami's media bureau for the arts, has published a review of the 2013 Winter Jewish Music Concert. Critic Dan Dickinson liked what he saw and heard:

"Mason’s goal is to attract an audience simply by presenting Jewish music 'performed at the highest level,' and the packed sanctuary at Temple Israel of Greater Miami — which seats about 700 — testified that his strategy works."

Read the entire review.

Knight Arts blog on the Concert

The Knight Arts blog has an item on the Winter Jewish Music Concert:

Winter Jewish Music Concert: Not solely a classical concert, this event organized by Alan Mason of Temple Israel of Greater Miami will take place for the fifth time this Saturday night in the temple’s Bertha Abbess Sanctuary.
It’s an expansive evening of Jewish music and performers, running the gamut from classical to jazz and rap, Ladino and Israeli folk music, and includes works by a wide range of Jewish composers, many of them unfortunately little-known to non-Jewish audiences.
The concert is sold out again this year, according to concert organizers, but this year there are other opportunities for interested concertgoers other than being there in person. The 8 p.m. concert will be broadcast live on Jewish Life TV, which is carried on Comcast channel 239 in South Florida and Atlantic Broadband channel 167 in Miami Beach, as well as on DirectTV Channel 366.
It also will be streamed live via the station’s website at The concert’s website at has a video of brief highlights from last year’s concert, and even in these short snippets there’s a strong feeling of celebration and diversity of expression, as you can see here:

Thanks to Gregory Stepanovich for the coverage. 

Who is the most popular Jewish composer?

Or, more accurately, who is the most popular Jewish composer at the five Winter Jewish Music Concerts?

Meir Finkelstein. His compositions, written in a contemporary style, have been performed at every concert so far, with a total of six performances. 

Just behind him is the great Israeli composer, Naomi Shemer (1930-2004), with five. 

With four performances each are contemporary composers Robbie Solomon and Sol Zim, as well as the great Yiddish composer, Abraham Ellstein (1907-1963). 

Composers whose songs have been performed three times each are the classically-oriented Max Janowski (1912-1991), and the contemporary Rachelle Nelson (who herself performed her compositions at the concert on two occasions). 

A larger number of composers have had their works performed twice: Neshama Carlebach, Shlomo CarlebachMoshe Milner, Moyshe OysherJacob RapaportStephen Richards, and Rebecca Schwartz.

It may reveal something about Jewish music—its world-wide breadth and folk origins—that sixteen compositions are attributed to traditional, folk, anonymous, or something similar. 

Not Dead Yet: The Remarkable Renaissance of Cantorial Music

After a half-century of steady decline, there is increasing evidence of a cantorial renaissance, according to a recent article in Jewish Ideas Daily. 

The author refers to "the gifted cantorial pianist Alan Mason." Mason is the Artistic Director of the Winter Jewish Music Concert. 

Read the whole article.  

Jewish Journal article on the Concert

The Jewish Journal has a great article on the 2013 Winter Jewish Music Concert.  A number of the performers are quoted, including Susan Shane Linder, Natalie Young, Aviva Bass, Dafna, Jon Murstein, and Jay Stone. Read the article here

Thanks to writer Sergio Carmona.

Alan Mason at the Kennedy Center

On December 5, 2012, WJMC Program Director Alan Mason performed a concert of Jewish music at Washington's Kennedy Center. The concert featured Cantor Netanel Hershtik. Also on the concert were the Amernet Quartet and the Hampton Synagogue Choir. The concert was presented by Pro Musica Hebraica

A recording of the concert, including some interviews, was broadcast on Washington's NPR station, WETA. Here is the broadcast. 


WJMC presents lunch and a movie at O Cinema on Dec. 9th

On Sunday, December 9th, at 1:00 p.m., the Winter Jewish Music Concert will be the community co-sponsor of lunch and a movie presented at O Cinema, the cutting-edge independent cinema located in Miami's Wynwood Arts District.

The film is When Do We Eat?, the story of the “world’s fastest Seder” gone horribly awry. In the film, an old-fashioned Jewish father vows to bring his stubborn family together after being slipped a dose of ecstasy during the annual Passover Seder. The film stars Michael Lerner, Jack Klugman and Lesley Ann Warren, and is directed by Salvador Litvak. 

Included with the film is lunch provided by Bocaditos, Miami's first humane/organic food truck.

Tickets for the movie and lunch are $25 and can be purchased on line. 

O Cinema is located at 90 NW 29th Street, Miami. 

Announcing the 2013 Concert

We have great news to share about the 2013 Winter Jewish Music Concert.

First, tickets are now on sale. We again expect that all tickets will be purchased weeks before the concert, so we encourage you to reserve your tickets early.

Second, this year's concert will feature many performers who have not previously appeared at any of the previous concerts. The next concert may, in fact, be the most diverse yet. 

Third, before this year's concert there will be a food reception, catered by gigi.  Details

Finally, the 2013 concert will be nationally broadcast live on the JLTV cable network. The concert will also be streamed live on the JLTV web site. 

Alan Mason to perform at Kennedy Center

Winter Jewish Music Concert Program Director Alan Mason will be performing in a concert of Jewish music at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, December 6th. 

Cantor Netanel Herstik

Cantor Netanel Herstik

The concert will pay homage to the Golden Age of Cantors and to the liturgical music of modern times. Alan will be accompanying Cantor Netanel Hershtik. The concert will also include the Hampton Synagogue Choir and the Amernet String Quartet. 

The concert is presented by Pro Musica Hebraica, which presents three concerts a year featuring music by Jewish composers. The organization is the creation of Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, and lawyer-turned-artist Robyn Krauthammer. 

In addition to the performance at the Kennedy Center, the concert will be presented on December 2nd at New York’s Museum at Eldridge Street

Watch the 2012 concert as it was streamed live

You can watch the concert as it was streamed live on the internet.

Here is part 1 (the concert begins 6 minutes 30 seconds into the video; there will be a brief commercial at the beginning):


Here is part 2:

Here is the program to identify the singers and songs.