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Gesher Festival hopes to connect emerging artists with new audiences

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 27, 2011 - Next week brings another new music festival that features chamber music - the Gesher Music Festival of Emerging Artists.

The Gesher Fest is the result of collaboration between a mother-daughter team of artists - Kathleen Sitzer, artistic director of the New Jewish Theatre, and Sara Sitzer, a cellist who recently completed a three-year fellowship with the New World Symphony in Miami.

It evolved from the recent inclusion of chamber music concerts in NJT's expanded programming schedule. It seemed a natural step for Sara Sitzer to take on the role of artistic director for the new event.

Gesher is a Hebrew word meaning bridge or connection, and that seems appropriate for a series that has a goal of building connections, and creating a Festival that brings together both classical and new chamber music, presents it in a Jewish perspective and features performances by young, emerging musicians.

In addition to Sara Sitzer, artists performing at the Gesher include violinists Sage Cole, Jeanine Markley and Tessa Gotman; violist Lilian Belknap, pianist Christina Lalog, flutist Sarah Frisof and clarinetist Jack Marquardt. Several works by composer George Lam - including the world premiere of his "Solo Piece for Cello" will be performed.


All concerts and events take place in the Marvin and Harlene Wool Studio Theater at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Dr., 63146.

June 26 (7 p.m.) Opening reception: Preview performances with wine and hors d'oeuvres

June 27 (7:30 p.m.) Lecture: Ludmilla Leibman, "Musical Memorials to the Holocaust: A Survivor from Warsaw by Arnold Schoenberg, Babi Yar by Dmitri Shostakovich and Different Trains by Steve Reich"

June 29 (7:30 p.m.) and July 2 (7:30 p.m.)

Prokofiev | Overture on Hebrew Themes for string quartet, clarinet and piano

Solo cello piece by resident composer George Lam (world premiere)

Mahler | piano quartet

Solo flute piece by Lam

Mendelssohn | String Quartet Opus 80

June 30 (7:30 p.m.) and July 3 (2 p.m.)

Golijov | Tenebrae for string quartet

Copland | Duo for flute and piano

Schoenfield | clarinet trio

Shostakovich | Piano Trio No. 2

In addition, on Friday, July 1, musicians from the Festival will participate in a 7:30 p.m Shabbat service at Central Reform congregation.

For ticket prices and other information about the Gesher Music Festival, go to www.newjewishtheatre.org.


Terry Perkins is a freelance writer who has long covered the St. Louis music scene. 

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. He has written for the St. Louis Beacon since 2009. Terry's other writing credits in St. Louis include: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis American, the Riverfront Times, and St. Louis magazine. Nationally, Terry writes for DownBeat magazine, OxfordAmerican.org and RollingStone.com, among others.

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