Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Meet David Krakauer, Master Clarinetist and Movie Lover

On January 29, we’re thrilled to be presenting the world premiere of The Big Picture, a cinematic concert featuring clarinet master David Krakauer. The Big Picture explores the intersection of music and Jewish identity in iconic movies of the last 50 years. In advance of opening, David Krakauer took the time to tell us a little about his inspiration and what this music means to him.

MJH: What’s so fascinating about the movies? For instance, there is a lot of wonderful music written by Jews for the theater.

DK: Going to the movies is an incredible way for people to come together and share a collective experience. Movies have a way of sweeping people along in a very specific way. I think The Big Picture will give people that kind of experience heightened by the live performance aspect.

MJH: How did you choose the films and the songs? 

DK:  It was an incredibly interesting process to discuss as a team which films would work the best together in terms of making a cohesive show. However the most personal one for‎ me is from the Woody Allen set: "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" (from Midnight in Paris). The composer of that song is the great New Orleans jazz clarinetist/soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet who spent the last ten years of his life in Paris. Although I never met him, Bechet has taught me so much. His amazing composition opens and closes Midnight in Paris and really captures the very essence of the romanticism of the City of Lights.

MJH: How did your family history inform The Big Picture? 

DK: This collection of pieces really tells the story of the Jewish people in America: from immigration through post war assimilation coupled with the deep emotional reverberation of the Holocaust. In listening to this narrative, I really connected with the story of my family’s journey from Eastern Europe and their struggles over tremendous adversity to finally be able to succeed. 

MJH: If you could have written the score for one movie, which would it be?

DK: It would have been amazing to write the score for Avalon, but then again I have to say that Randy Newman’s music is absolutely perfect for this film. That theme has totally gotten under my skin.

MJH: What do you want audiences to take away from the concert?

DK: I hope that people will be moved by the tremendous contribution that Jewish culture has brought to the cinema, but at the same time see the universality of this contribution. The struggle to find one’s place in the world is everyone’s struggle.

The Big Picture will run January 29 through February 23.

The performances also feature Rob Schwimmer, piano, various keyboards and theremin; Sara Caswell, violin; Mark Helias, double bass; Sheryl Bailey, guitar; and John Hadfield, drums and percussion. The concert is enhanced by dynamic visuals from Light of Day/The Cutting Room which complement the themes and moods of the music.

For more information, sound clips, and for tickets, visit www.mjhnyc.org/bigpicture

Photo courtesy of GMD Three