For the third year, the Gesher Music Festival of Emerging Artists will provide St. Louis audiences with the opportunity to hear a variety of professional musicians who are on the cusp of their careers. It also provides those young artists the experience of playing challenging music in a summer festival before appreciative audiences. And for the first time, the Gesher Festival will be highlighted by an appearance by acclaimed jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator Peter Martin.
An outgrowth of the New Jewish Theatre, the Gesher Festival is produced by NJT Artistic Director Kathleen Sitzer with young cellist Sara Sitzer serving as Artistic Director. Besides featuring emerging artists, the other focus of the Gesher Festival is to connect with Judaism. Sara Sitzer explained, “Gesher is the Hebrew word for bridge or connection and we seek to find ways to connect classical chamber music to the Jewish experience through various ways, either programming Jewish composers or finding some relevance and connecting it with the Jewish perspective.”
Martin will open the Gesher Festival on Sunday, June 23 at the Wool Studio Theater at the JCC in Creve Coeur with a solo piano concert featuring music by Gershwin, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker and some of his own compositions. He told Steve Potter that he has enough music ready for two concerts, so will create his program as he goes along. “I love taking these opportunities to be able to kind of interact with the audience and feel what the evening has in store and how the audience is responding to different things that I play, and molding the set around the vibe of the evening.”
On Monday, June 24, several of the Gesher musicians will perform at the Tavern of Fine Arts on Belt Avenue in the Central West End. The following evening brings a private House Concert at an exclusive Clayton home.
A concert at the Ethical Society on Wednesday, June 26 features the U.S. Premiere of Israeli composer Gilad Hochman’s Hommage to Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony as well as a performance of Schubert’s Trout Quintet. The same program will be performed on Saturday, June 29 at the JCC’s Wool Studio Theater.
A program highlighted by Mendelssohn’s Octet will be performed on Thursday, June 27 at the Wool Studio Theater and again on Sunday, June 30 at the Kranzberg Arts Center in Grand Center.
In addition to the regular concerts, musicians from the Gesher Music Festival will do some outreach performances at locations including the Siteman Cancer Center, the Juvenile Detention Center, a retirement home and the Community Music School as well as a number of “pop up” performances around town.
Details of all the concerts can be found on the Gesher Music Festival website.
Peter Martin, Kathleen Sitzer and Sara Sitzer were Steve Potter’s guest on Cityscape to discuss the Gesher Music Festival and Peter Martin’s participation in it.