Category Archives: Orli Shaham

Sunday in the Bar with Johann and the Preschoolers

One of [le] poisson rouge‘s motto’s may be “serving art and alcohol,” but when Orli Shaham and company take the space over on Sunday, it’s only musical art being served, so bring your own . . . whatever.  Not exotic cocktails but zippered plastic bags of Cheerios, fruit, and other treats will be in plentiful supply at the bring-your-own-snacks event. With the bar closed, might a thermos bottle of something stronger find itself lodged in amongst the juice boxes in the diaper bags?  Don’t ask, don’t tell.

No matter what you’re (not) drinking, Baby Got Bach returns to lpr this Sunday morning at 11:00 AM.  The wonderful carnival of musical exploration in the Gallery Bar space will once again precede an interactive concert in the main performance area. Orli, mother of pre-school twins, knows her audience–kids, parents, and grandparents alike–and puts on a fun, engaging event with top-level music.

I had a great time at BGB last April, even without kids in tow.  (Hey, I just remembered who I know who has kids in the city–I’m going to email them. If I had kids (and we were in New York), I’d definitely be taking them this weekend to hear Orli and a woodwind quintet play music by Bach, Berio, Schumann, Ligeti and others. My youngest child is no longer a child (a college junior), and my oldest is teaching English to first and second graders in China. Were I in New York, I might show up anyway, just to hear that combination of musical voices, and take delight in the delight of the kids.

My friend Greg Sandow has written a series of posts (here, here, here, and here) criticizing aspects of the outreach/education imperative in institutional classical music.  I’m just starting to wade through the discussion.  One thing that’s clear to me, though,is that it’s OK to play music you love for as many types of audiences as possible.  

And that’s one of the things I loved about Baby Got Bach when I attended an event last spring.  It didn’t feel like some contrived let’s-do-an-education-project-to-get-a-grant thing.  It’s a mom, who’s a fabulous musician, putting together concerts for kids, hers other people’s, and their parents. A terrific family event. In, of all places, a trendy Village venue.

Where, usually, “alcohol is our patron.”

But not for Baby Got Bach. Art isn’t free, and they aren’t selling drinks.

So if you’re in New York, take your kid or grandchild or niece or nephew, buy tickets (they aren’t expensive) have a great time, and think about making a donation.  Because this is worth it, not so someone might one grow up and one day subscribe to the symphony (although they might, or help reinvent the symphony); because it’s just a great way to share music, and kids deserve that as much as anyone.

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Filed under Baby Got Bach, Le Poisson Rouge, Orli Shaham

Baby Got Bach: My Inner Child Had Fun Along With the Real Kids

I don’t know when I’ve had more fun than I did at pianist Orli Shaham‘s sold-out Baby Got Bach event on Sunday April 3 at [le] poisson rouge.  Talk about serving all audiences!

This was aimed at the 3 to 6 year old set and their parents/grandparents.  The Gallery Bar had various stations where kids could compose a tune, have it played by various musicians, conduct it, etc.  Once everyone was successfully corralled into seats in the main space, Catherine Oberg (hmm, close to “Edberg” . . . could she be of Scandinavian descent, too?) led a wonderful interactive session with the kids.  Gail Wein, the group’s fab publicist, handed me her camera and put me to work.  I love taking photos, especially at parties, and I had a blast.  After a break for bathroom trips and diaper changes, Orli–who has fantastic rapport with the kids–took charge of a terrific musical program that included a diverse set of pieces, various instrumentalists (including violinist Adele Anthony, flutist Elizabeth Janzen, Aya Kato on keyboards, college-age pianist Dominick Cheli) and ballerina Ashley Talluto.  Orli’s brother Gil (yes, that Gil Shaham), joined in the fun, working with kids before the show and performing in several pieces as “violinist Gil.”

Great family atmosphere, so nice to be around.  Seems like yesterday my kids were that age.  They would have loved it.  Almost makes me look forward to being a grandpa (I’m quite happy to wait for my kids to finish college and get married.)

Nice Wall Street Journal feature article about the project here.  I don’t know if Gail arranged that or not–if so, way to go.  And a nicely-done (and smartly short) promo video:

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Filed under Baby Got Bach, Gil Shaham, Le Poisson Rouge, Orli Shaham