By Cindy Mindell ~
FAIRFIELD – Members of any musical ensemble are something of a family, united in a group through their common craft. The five Jewish musicians of “Mishpokhe” are even more closely knit: the group is composed of two families.
Mishpokhe will perform “Jewish Music around the World,” a family-friendly cabaret-style concert on Sunday, May 6 at Congregation Beth El in Fairfield.
Mishpokhe features Adrianne Greenbaum-Povodator and her daughter Rebecca Povodator, and Rayhan and Igor Pasternak and their daughter, Ada.
Adrianne Greenbaum-Povodator grew up in Akron, Ohio, the granddaughter of a cantor and daughter of a musically gifted mother. She studied piano and flute from an early age. “I thrived musically because I was frankly noticed for my given talent and, well, loved the accolades thrown at me, to be honest and simple about it,” she says. “I was also a budding composer throughout those years and that propelled me to continue composing and arranging into my musical current life.”
Greenbaum-Povodator went on to Oberlin Conservatory of Music to receive professional training and then to graduate school at Yale. An award-winning recording artist with a long career in orchestral playing and composition, she has taught at Wesleyan University and Smith College and is currently professor of music at Mount Holyoke College. Sixteen years ago, as her son was preparing for his bar-mitzvah celebration, she created The Klezical Tradition klezmer band. Greenbaum-Povodator has performed in many European festivals and locally in New York and Connecticut, as well as at universities throughout the country. She has been a soloist at the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall – all in New York. She is professor of music at Mount Holyoke College in Mass., where she teaches flute and leads the Mount Holyoke Klezmer Band.
Rebecca Povodator began learning flute at age six. She studied in the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division and earned a Master of arts in teaching from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. Now a certified public-school music teacher, Povodator teaches music in the New York City public schools and is a freelance musician in Connecticut and New York. Povodator has received many music awards, including scholarships from the Greenwich Orchestra and the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, the John C. Fuggetta Scholarship (William S. Haynes Company), and competitions held by the National Flute Association.
Rayhan and Igor Pasternak brought their musical talents to the U.S. when they immigrated from Russia in 1994. In the former Soviet Union, Rayhan studied violin at the music school for gifted children in Odessa. She received her Bachelor’s degree in musicology from Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). She continued her education in the U.S. in creative arts therapy with a concentration in music therapy.
Rayhan teaches violin and piano, conducts the Congregation Beth El Fairfield choir and teaches at the religious school, and leads Jewish folkdance at Merkaz, the Community High School for Judaic Studies.
Igor graduated from the Gnesin Academy of Music in Moscow, majoring in piano, music theory, and conducting. A prolific performer in Moscow and the U.S., Igor is a soloist at private and public functions, a church organist, and piano accompanist for high-school choirs and musicals.
Daughter Ada Pasternak was born in Moscow, and immigrated to the U.S. with her parents at age six. She received classical training on violin as a scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music, and has won numerous competitions and awards since childhood. Ada was honored as the soloist with the Ridgefield Symphony at age 12 and with the Manhattan School or Music Symphony and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony at age 16. As a result of winning the first prize at the Carlson Horn Competition, she performed as a soloist in the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra, under the conducting of Maestro Gustav Meier. In 2007, Ada was awarded the Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College of Music, where she graduated in 2011. She is in the process of recording an album.
The Pasternak family performs the music of their homeland as well as traditional and popular tunes and Broadway and jazz standards. They have been the featured performers at many area synagogues Jewish organizations.
“The concept of ‘Mishpokhe’ grew out of already performing together for various simchas such as weddings and b’nai-mitzvah,” says Greenbaum-Povodator. “We had and have performed together in various formations and numbers and finally decided it was time to showcase our families’ talents in concert. We performed a klezmer-based concert last year in New York City’s City Winery. Mishpokhe came as a very natural ensemble that would be that group that is always ready to go. This concert will feature a huge slice of the Jewish music experience, from classical to jazz and everything in between, including a song composed for Uganda Jews, a lesser-known segment of the Jewish population.”
Cabaret-Style Concert featuring “Mishpokhe:” Sunday, May 6, 4 p.m., Congregation Beth El, 1200 Fairfield Woods Road, Fairfield | Tickets include refreshments: $12/person in advance; $18/person at the door; free for children 12 and younger | Tickets/info: (203) 374-5544