LSM Newswire

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Honoring Memory of Emil Gartner

Honoring Memory of Emil Gartner/Music by Glick & More
With Guests, Cellist Esther Gartner & Chamber Ensemble
The Toronto Jewish Folk Choir and conductor Alexander Veprinsky celebrate the memory of Emil Gartner, the Choir’s revered and longest-serving conductor, 50 years after his tragic death, Sunday May 30, 2010 at 3 p.m. at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, 80 Queen’s Park Crescent.

Special guest is cellist Esther Gartner, daughter of Emil and the choir’s long-time pianist, the late Fagel Gartner.

Tickets are $25; seniors and students, 20; children 12 and under free. For information and ticket reservations call 416-789-5502 (calls and Visa orders accepted until 5 p.m. May 27). For information May 28 and 29 only, call 416-782-7837. E-mail,or visit or the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir on Facebook.

Under the direction of Alexander Veprinsky, and with Lina Zemelman on piano, the 30-voice Choir performs music that Emil Gartner brought to the choir and the kinds of pieces performed in his time. Among these are such classical works on Jewish themes as Miriam’s Song of Triumph by Schubert, Va Pensiero (the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from Verdi’s opera Nabucco; and theMarket Scene from Benyomin der Dritter (Benjamin the Third), a utopian work based on Yiddish folk melodies by Gartner’s cousin, composer Max Helfman. There are also songs in Hebrew and Judeo-Spanish.
Cellist Esther Gartner, a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, joins the Choir in Yiddish Suite No. 1 by Srul Irving Glick, composed to poems by Canadian Yiddish poets. She also premieres a new work by Raymond Luedeke, which she has commissioned for the concert, and performs with a chamber ensemble in one of her father’s favorite works, Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes.
Soloists on the concert are sopranos Miriam Eskin and Galina Kuznetsov, and bass Herman Rombouts. Flutist Anya Podrezo is also featured in the Glick suite, in a new part created by Maestro Veprinsky.

Folk Choir singer and long-time board member Ben Shek, who sang under Emil Gartner, remembers him as “an outstanding musician and beloved conductor who inspired hundreds of TJFC singers with a love of music and a profound respect for the heritage of the Jewish – and especially Yiddish – folk repertoire.”
Born in 1914 in Vienna, Emil Gartner arrived in Canada shortly before the outbreak of World War II, and served as the Choir’s conductor for 20 years, until the year before his untimely death in 1960. Under his direction, the Choir expanded to over 100 members, and performed major works in Massey Hall and on CBC Radio, with such illustrious guest artists as opera stars Regina Resnik, Jan Peerce, the young Lois Marshall and legendary American bass Paul Robeson. In one of the Folk Choir concerts, Gartner conducted Prokofiev’s orchestration of the Overture on Hebrew Themes, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra – in which his daughter Esther now plays.
The May 30 concert is presented with the assistance of the Toronto Arts Council, the Ben and Hilda Katz Charitable Foundation, the Peretz Miransky Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto, and some Choir members and friends.
The music of Srul Irving Glick has long been part of the Folk Choir’s repertoire. One of Canada’s most prolific composers, Glick is particularly remembered for the Hebraic influences in his music, both sacred and secular. More information is at
The Canadian Encyclopedia offers more information on the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir,



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