World Premiere of Composer Michael Shapiro’s “VOICES” of the Holocaust
The World Premiere of Michael Shapiro’s VOICES is set to take place at New York City’s famed Central Synagogue, Thursday, November 10, 2022 (652 Lexington Avenue, E. 55th Street). This performance will feature Daniel Mutlu, the Senior Cantor of Central Synagogue, Ember Choral Arts and the American Modern Ensemble, conducted by Deborah Simpkin King.
The concept for VOICES was born more than twenty years ago when Michael Shapiro served as Music Consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. After reading poetry by Sephardic victims during the Shoah, he wrote the hour-long choral and chamber ensemble as a requiem: “not solely [as] a work of remembrance, but as a warning.” The composition is varied in tone and includes hints of cabaret, religious observance, and transcendent echoes that reflect the international impact of the Holocaust on Jewish people from different countries. 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.”
The video broadcast from Central Synagogue will be livestreamed on its YouTube and Facebook channels, and a recording will be issued through Paumanok Records. The performance marks a creative collaboration between the internationally recognized Ember Choral Arts (formerly Schola Cantorum on Hudson), which has served the Manhattan and New Jersey areas since its founding in 1995, and the American Modern Ensemble (formed by Victoria and Robert Paterson) which spotlights contemporary music via lively programming and performs a wide repertoire, using a robust combination of instrumentalists, vocalists, and conductors.
Michael Shapiro guest conducts internationally and is Laureate Conductor of The Chappaqua Orchestra. He has written over 100 works for orchestral, theatrical, film, chamber, choral, and vocal forces. His music has been performed by many of the world’s great orchestras and performers in North America and Europe, and much of his music is recorded and available on major platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. His music is regularly broadcast throughout the world, including SiriusXM, National Public Radio, BBC, CBC, ABC-Australia, Polskie Radio, and over 50 commercial radio stations in North America. His score for the classic film Frankenstein is his most popular work and has been performed over 50 times internationally including the upcoming premiere of the new operatic version at the LA Opera. For more information visit www.MichaelShapiro.com
Daniel Mutlu is Senior Cantor of Central Synagogue. A first-generation American born to Turkish Jewish parents, he has earned glowing reviews from The New York Times as a member of NYC’s The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and has performed with many premier musical ensembles including the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Ars Lyrica, Houston Bach Society, Alarm Will Sound, and Park East Synagogue Choir. He can be heard as tenor soloist on the Naxos eight-disc set of the Complete Haydn Masses, Requiem: For the Living, Music Omnia and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street’s release of Handel’s Israel in Egypt (nominated for a Grammy Award). Mutlu tours internationally as the main soloist of the Night Holocaust Project. His singing has been featured in films such as The Song of Names and A Cantor’s Head.
Deborah Simpkin King serves as the conductor and founding Artistic Director of Ember, Director of Music and Arts at the historic Trinity Episcopal Church in Asbury Park, NJ, conductor at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and MidAmerica Productions. She plays an active role in the vibrant Manhattan choral scene and is committed to serving the next generation in the arts through guest conducting, published work, and education initiatives. Dr. King is at the leading edge of the new music industry, working with composers and young singers through the Big Sing Jr. PROJECT: ENCORE which she founded.
Paul Shaffer, whose background is in Orthodox Judaism, will take part in a Q&A with VOICES composer Michael Shapiro prior to the event. Shaffer is an Emmy, Grammy, ASCAP and WGA Award winning singer, actor, composer, comedian, and multi-instrumentalist. Shaffer is best-known as David Letterman’s musical director, band leader, and sidekick for the entire run of both late-night shows: NBC-TV’s Late Night with David Letterman (1982-1993) and CBS TVs Late Show with David Letterman (1993-2015).
Central Synagogue is a Reform synagogue led by Senior Rabbi Angela Buchdahl. Core to its mission is the belief that Judaism can and does change the world. The Central community is inclusive of anyone who wants to explore Judaism and its services are live streamed to tens of thousands of viewers on a weekly basis. Designated as a NYC landmark in 1966 and added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1970,
Tickets for the concert are free and available to the public at the Central Synagogue website.