Sirota premiere tomorrow at Merkin

Robert Sirota (photo: Richard Frank)

Robert Sirota may be most familiar to New Yorkers as President of the Manhattan School of Music. But despite that job’s myriad demands, he’s kept active as a composer.

Tomorrow night, his latest work, Assimilations will be premiered by the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society at Merkin Hall. I’ll be writing about the concert for <strong>Musical America.

Of Assimilations Sirota says, “On the surface it would appear that I am the most “assimilated” of Jews. My paternal grandparents left the shtetl almost a century ago: my maternal grandparents were already in America well before that. I have been married to a Christian woman for forty years, and I myself converted to Christianity some twenty-three years ago. I embrace my Christian faith with conviction and enthusiasm. So why the deep pull back to a past about which I know very little, and from which I essentially walked away? While my Jewishness is defined by many things (culture, food, mysticism, among others), one strong personality trait that I have always had is a distinctly Jewish sense of urgency – of preparedness. Psychologically, my bags are always packed. As I grow older, I realize that I have always been seeking to escape the cattle cars, to stay one step ahead of the persecutors, all of my life. While this makes me very effective in a crisis, it also haunts my sleep, and makes a mockery of my so-called assimilation. This piece is an attempt to express the poignant beauty and the sadness linking the world of my heritage with the person I have become.”

The concert also features world premieres of works by Lou Karchin and Laurie San Martin, and NY premieres of works by Fabio Grasso and Richard Festinger.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 8pm
Merkin Concert Hall
The Kaufman Center
129 W 67th Street, NYC

Tickets: $20 | $15 seniors | $8 student
Available from the Merkin Hall Box Office
Call 212.501.3330 or visit www.kaufman-center.org

Program also includes:
Richard Festinger: Concerto for Piano and Nine Instruments (NY Premiere)
Fabio Grasso: Blumentraum (NY Premiere)
Louis Karchin: Chamber Symphony (World Premiere)
Laurie San Martin: Two Pieces for Piano and Percussion (World Premiere)