While her nonprofit Listen for Life is dedicated to preserving musical cultures on a global scale, Bay Area pianist Donna Stoering is taking a more localized, but still tuneful, approach to addressing homelessness and hunger.
Concerts organized through Notes for Nourishment, a program affiliated with Listen for Life, raise money for community nonprofits of the organizer’s choice. The San Jose Chamber Orchestra is performing the first of three Notes for Nourishment concerts scheduled for this season on Sept. 17, with Stoering on board as a soloist.
Other soloists are tenor Stephen Guggenheim, soprano Ronit Widmann-Levy and violist Erin Nolan. The concert is free, with donations going to Jewish Family Services Silicon Valley and the office of social ministry at San Jose’s Cathedral Basilica St. Joseph, where the event takes place.
Two more Notes for Nourishment concerts are set for Oct. 22 and Nov. 19.
“Each concert will have one or two recipients of the funds raised,” says Barbara Day Turner, the chamber orchestra’s music director and conductor. “As the cathedral is providing the space and the singers are prominent members of the local Jewish community, we felt that (these two nonprofits) would be a good fit” for the first concert.
The San Jose concert marks Guggenheim’s second Notes for Nourishment performance. He performed in an all-Gershwin show in July at St. Joseph Basilica in Alameda.
“I think it’s really growing,” he says of the program. “It’s such a wonderful idea. I think people are really hungry for it, no pun intended.
“As classical musicians, we’re not called on very often to give of our talents in this way.”
At the San Jose concert on Sept. 17, he’ll sing Yiddish songs and works by Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht, German composers who most famously collaborated on “The Threepenny Opera” in 1928. That musical, which achieved worldwide acclaim, is based on a 1798 opera by English composer John Gay.
For Guggenheim, the multiculturalism of the material points to the importance of Listen for Life’s mission.
“Where a composer finds his text sometimes doesn’t match with the composer’s homeland,” he notes. “That shows how universal music is: You can understand it without understanding the text word for word.”
Guggenheim has been a soloist with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra on numerous occasions. This will be his first time performing with Widmann-Levy, who is the director of arts and culture at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto.
Stoering has also been a soloist …
Source:: East Bay – Entertainment