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Minsky On  Minsky

Articles:

1. A Brush With Immortality

2. One Composer's Spiritual Journey

3. Was It All A Dream?

A Brush with Immortality

By Aaron Minsky a.k.a. Von Cello

In my mid twenties, at a point in life when most musicians devote most of their time to getting a steady gig, I was spending countless hours pondering, improvising and composing, creating a new popular style of cello playing. The thing that kept me going through those lean times was the hope that one day, when I became an old man perhaps, my music would become standard cello repertoire. You can imagine then how happy I felt when my "Ten American Cello Etudes" was included this year in concert cellist and scholar, Jeffrey Solow's, "A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire!"

 

My cognizance of the spread of these pieces has come in ever growing waves. I was fortunate to have been able to premiere them at the First World Cello Congress in 1988, just after their publication by Oxford University Press. This gave them a good send off which lead to other publicity including a featured article in Strings Magazine. After that, years passed without much news, aside from several positive reviews. In the mid nineties, I started to notice that when I would attend music festivals, cellists would come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed my etudes. On one occasion, I attended a festival and was immediately drafted as a coach. Next thing I knew, a group performance of my etudes was added to the program! During those years I also started to receive letters, programs and phone calls from concert cellists and professors from around the world. In the late nineties, my "Young American Ensembles" was added to the manual of the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA). Then "Ten American Cello Etudes" and "Three American Pieces for Viola" were added to the curriculum of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, United Kingdom, a group which gives half a million music adjudication exams in over eighty countries every year. Now, with the inclusion in Mr. Solow's list, the fact that my etudes are widely considered to be standard cello repertoire has a solid stamp of approval!

 

I currently have six titles published by Oxford. The first, and most well known, is "Ten American Cello Etudes." This set was written for college level and professional cellists who have a familiarity with the traditional etudes of Popper and others. It took standard techniques, and some new ones, and applied them to enjoyable, original music in several popular styles. The guiding principle was to create fresh new music which would provide a road map for helping the cello to fully participate in today's changing musical currents, while also helping cellists improve their technique in a fun new way. At the request of several violists, a set of three of the pieces was transcribed for viola as "Three American Pieces." I called my pieces "etudes", because each one zeros in on a different set of techniques, but in reality, they are pieces of music, each expressing a different mood using the language of American popular music. Many of the pieces are joyful due to the fun I was having coming up with new ways of playing the cello. I was, however, influenced by composers of the past. Impressed by the Bach Suites, I composed in a way that would let the cello stand on its own, making full use of its broad range and ability to create satisfying counterpoint. Most of the pieces rely heavily on double stops and chords to create a robust sound. Often melody is interspersed with chords and bass tones. I was also influenced by the string crossings of Haydn. I would have great fun playing the one or two measure phrases that he would write that made use of rhythmic arpeggios. I took that concept and extended it to whole pieces. I also borrowed a concept found in guitar playing; that of rhythm guitar. The cello traditionally goes back and forth between acting as a bass or a melody instrument. Why not act as a chord playing rhythm instrument? This concept was further developed in my "Three American Cello Duets", where one cellist plays "lead cello" and the other plays "rhythm cello" throughout a whole piece. This way of playing should lead to a whole new set of possibilities for cellists. As my original set of etudes developed, I made sure to incorporate different techniques so that playing through them all, a cellist would get a complete work out. Some of the techniques include far reaching arpeggios, spiccato, thumb position, whole tone scales, tremolo, flautando, harmonics, syncopation, legato, and new techniques like finger picking and hitting the string onto the fingerboard with the bow. The technique always grew out of the music and was never an end in itself. Most of the etudes began life as improvisations. Sometimes I would immerse myself in a certain genre of music and then improvise something that would be related. Other times I would just get into a calm receptive state and just play whatever would come. Only later were the ideas turned into thoroughly thought out pieces. That original spark can be found in each piece and it is my hope that cellists will take ideas back out of these pieces and create new improvisations. Once again we find a new direction for the cello, based on tradition. In Bach's time all instrumentalists were expected to improvise and so it should be again!

 

I then composed a set of more challenging pieces geared toward bringing this new style into the concert hall: "Three Concert Etudes." These pieces extend and amplify the techniques of the American and also use world music styles such as those of the middle east and Brazil. In the first piece, the cellist plays in the highest possible register and uses more intricate chords. The second makes extensive use of left hand pizzicato. The third piece incorporates several new techniques including singing and stamping while strumming with a pick! It also employs a technique which I believe I invented. I call it the "bow harmonic." It is a way of creating a harmonic using the bow. I even invented a musical symbol for it! These pieces are very satisfying to play and advance the cello musically and technically beyond any of the others. I look forward to the day when a brave concert cellist will take on the challenge to give them a proper world premiere in a major concert hall! Next I composed the set of duets, mentioned above which would bring the concept of playing chords and taking solos to the cello. It occurred to me that popular styles could also be taught to beginners on all string instruments, so "Young American Ensembles" was born in three volumes (violins and guitars, violas, cellos and basses). These pieces were hand tailored to actual beginning students. Some parts only use open strings and others only three or four notes, yet they sound like basic pieces of rock music or other popular music. This brings a new level of fun to the early days of string study and also brings early experiences of syncopation and other popular techniques such as pentatonic scales and playing with a rough sound (something kids love)! I realized that to complete the set I needed a bridge from the beginner pieces to the higher level ones, so I composed "Pacific Northwest Suite", for high school and early college level string players in five volumes (guitars, violins, violas, cellos, basses). Based on country music and blues rock, these pieces use string crossings and chords in a similar way to the American etudes and duets, but were hand tailored to actual high school students and can lead string players up to the level of the college and professional level music. The idea behind the writing of music on all of these levels is that now cellists can play Minsky's popular style music from the first weeks of study until they perform as artists in the concert hall! Adding to a small but important part of the cello repertoire, I also composed "Judaic Concert Suite" which is as yet unpublished. These pieces use similar concepts and techniques to my other advanced music, but apply them to original Jewish music. They represent a modern take on the spiritual type of pieces that Bloch wrote so effectively. I feel that they are part of a venerable tradition and hope that one way or another, they will see the light of day!

It may come as a surprise that the composer of some of the most recent additions to the standard cello repertoire actually began his musical life as a rock guitarist! In fact, influenced by Hendrix and others, it was a search for a unique guitar sound that lead me to the cello. I felt, however, that I would never be accepted as an innovator of the cello unless I first gained the respect of the classical community. Therefore, I studied with top teachers in top music schools and then went on to play with professional orchestras, chamber ensembles and as a soloist, in major concert halls and on radio and television. The acceptance of my etudes by cellists world wide, has given me the legitimacy for which I strove. My inclusion in Who's Who in America, has also helped. I now feel confident to bring my cello style back to the place where my musical life began. Through my recent CD, "Breaking The Sound Barriers" and with my new band, Von Cello, I plan to bring the cello into the center stage of rock! When kids are lining up at music stores to buy cellos, like they do now for guitars, I will know that my goal has been achieved.

Was It All A Dream?

by Aaron Von Cello

When I was a teenager, a couple of guys from my high school rented a bus and set up a trip from Brooklyn, New York, to RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. to see the Grateful Dead. I believe the year was 1973. This outdoor concert had three acts. A band that has faded into obscurity started the show. Was it Doug Shaum? The Dead were second, playing for most of the afternoon. Then, at night, the Allman Brothers played. They were later joined by some members of the Dead for a jam. We had a school bus full of kids, and a bus driver who was perfect for the trip. The bus became a non stop moving party, with the Dead's music constantly playing in the background, and the sound of laughter never-ending. We drove through the night, but I don't think anyone got any sleep. The driver just drove on, smiling, getting a great kick out of us. When we arrived at the stadium it was already a typical pre-concert zoo, with all kinds of people walking and gawking at each other, but there was a good vibe, and people were friendly and positive. Suddenly the gates opened and I made a mad dash to the front of the stage. I ended up in the front center, about as close as you could get to the stage in the field below.

 

When the Dead finally came out, I was impressed by how big all of their pupils were. They looked like cartoon characters with big black eyes. They seemed to just stare at the crowd while they played. It seemed, when they jammed, that they were actually talking to people in the crowd. Jerry Garcia would lock eyes with someone and start to play as though he were communicating through mental telepathy to that person. The person would start to move trance-like to Jerry's notes, and smile from ear to ear. All the crowd at the front would notice this and clap for the guy. The people next to him would pat him on the back or shake his hand, I guess for the honor of being chosen by Jerry and going with the flow. I became aware that this was not going to be an ordinary concert. The audience was entertaining the band as much as they were entertaining us. In fact, in a deeper way, it was as if the music came from elsewhere and it didn't really matter who was playing it or who was listening to it. We were all being moved by it. I suppose it was the phenomenon that the Dead describe in the lyric, "The music played the band".

 

At one point Bob Weir locked eyes with a very attractive young lady. I noticed that her eyes were as big and black as his. She had those "kaleidoscope eyes" that the Beatles sung about in Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Next thing I knew she approached the stage as if drawn by a magnet. As she got within a few inches of it, people moved out of her way and a few of the band's security guys smoothly reached out their hands and pulled her up. She seemed to float up to the stage and then disappear into the blackness of the backstage area. Bob Weir smiled with pride and the crowd went wild. Meanwhile, "all hell" was breaking loose in the stadium. It seemed like the whole place was taking off into outer space. Balloons and frisbees were flying everywhere. Large water melons were being passed around like peace pipes. Everyone just took a bite and passed it on. As far as the eye could see there were endless little scenes of people dancing and partying, like a triptych by Bosch. There was a couple dancing near me who were getting more and more personal. After a while they had their hands all over each other. Next thing you know, they were on the floor and the guy started taking off the girl's halter top. It looked like they were about to attack each other in wild abandon. Instantly, a group of people surrounded them...but they surrounded them with their backs to them! It was amazing, but this group of people just seemed to be drawn together to create a screen to give this couple privacy. I, like everyone else, tried not to look, but I kept glancing over every once in a while, and saw this group of human screens just watching the Dead, completely ignoring what was going on behind them. Suddenly the group broke up, just as they had come together, and there was the couple sitting up, getting dressed. It was clear that something had been going on, but soon they were dressed and back to dancing and watching the show as if nothing happened. I wondered if they even knew each other. Just then I remembered seeing bumper stickers that read, "There is nothing like a Grateful Dead show", and I thought to myself that this must be what they were talking about. The whole crowd was forming a type of group mind. And the group mind was about nothing but pleasure and good times.

 

At one point I was drawn to look behind me, all the way to the back of the stadium. I could see head after head turning back to look. No one knew why we were turning, but it was like an energy wave just swept through the stadium like a strong wind that turned us all around. There was one guy all the way in the back who suddenly realized that the whole stadium was looking at him. He screamed a blood curling cry of joy and the wave snapped back to the front. The Dead seemed to feel it too, and they started playing with double the energy. Then the energy wave went sideways. It was as if the energy was being whipped around by a gigantic windmill with the Dead no more able to direct it or stop it than anyone else. And that's the way it went for hour after endless hour. "The sky was yellow and the sun was blue"; even the clouds seemed to be dancing along with the music. I remembered another Dead lyric: "It's all a dream we did one afternoon long ago". I knew even then that that lyric would only get more meaningful to me as the years went by and I looked back at that "afternoon long ago" to wonder...did that really happen, or was it "all a dream"?

Sand Dunes

One Composer's

Spiritual Journey

by Aaron Minsky (Von Cello)

I had a sheltered childhood. It wasn't sheltered in the typical sense. I was certainly not sheltered from the realities of modern urban life, such as sex, drugs, and violence. No, my childhood was sheltered in that most everyone I knew was Jewish. Of course I had some friends who weren't Jewish, but religion never came up for discussion. In our neighborhood people kept their religion to themselves, and most didn't think much about religion anyway. For most of us Jews, it never dawned on us that we were Jewish, or that our beliefs or ways of looking at things were any different than anyone else's. Does a fish know he's a fish? That is why it was such a shock to me when I went away to college and suddenly found myself in a majority Christian environment, surrounded by evangelical Christians trying to convert me. Actually, my first experience with a conversion attempt happened during high school. I was befriended by a boy who was new to my school. A New Yorker by birth, he had been abandoned by his parents, forced to live in foster homes, finally running away to California. After a couple of years out west, he had returned to live with his mother and finish high school. We never spoke about religion but it was obvious that he was Jewish. The first religious shock of my life came when he revealed that he had become a Jew for Jesus. He explained that while he was on the road, he was taken in by born again Christians who showed him the love he never received from his Jewish parents. After much reading and praying, the spirit of Jesus entered him and he became born again. He used all his powers of persuasion to pull me away from the beliefs of my friends and family...to "save" me. Though this was very upsetting to me, he was only one person in a sea of Jews among whom I found much support. College in Boston was my first experience of being on my own, and being in the minority. Not having had a thorough religious upbringing, I was unprepared as to how to respond to Christian ideas and the challenges they presented to my own beliefs. Suddenly I was being told that I would end up in a terrible, frightening place called "hell" if I did not accept their strange ideas about a man being born of a virgin, and rising from the dead. This was very disturbing stuff to be confronted with as a teen away from home for the first time. I wasn't even sure if I believed in God, let alone that He became a man and rose from the dead, and I didn't know how to react to this concept that God set up a situation in which you had to believe unbelievable things or go to hell!

 

Being immersed in music in those days (after all, I was attending a music conservatory) I turned to the great composers for guidance. I noticed that all of them seemed to believe in God. Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms...all the greats wrote music praising God. I became influenced to believe in God because of their wonderful music. I felt that if all these geniuses believed, who was I not to? And it did not go unnoticed that they were Christians. The great J.S. Bach, in particular, devoted much of his writing to Christian themes, leading me to wonder if perhaps Christianity really was the "truth". Otherwise why would God have given so much talent to someone, allowing him to create such wonderful music about something false? Upon deeper research I noticed that Beethoven, while writing music praising God, seemed to shy away from the specifics of Christian theology. He seemed to have a more open view of God as the "heavenly father" of all mankind. Beethoven's more universalist view of God seemed to imply that there was not one way to God but many. This inclusiveness made me feel better about the beliefs of my upbringing, but I still hoped to find Jewish spirituality reflected somewhere in the annals of classical music. As I dug further into my musical studies, I became aware that some of the great composers were Jewish...to some extent. For instance, Felix Mendelssohn was Jewish according to Jewish law, but his father had converted to Christianity and raised Felix as a Christian to further his music career in the anti Semitic climate of Germany. Though he remained supportive of Jewish causes, Mendelssohn did not let Judaism enter his musical output. He even wrote a symphony that he called the "Reformation Symphony" that was full of Christian symbolism. Despite this, he was still looked down upon because of his Jewish ancestry by none other than the famous composers Schumann and Wagner! Studying the music of the late Romantic period, I discovered that Gustav Mahler had Jewish melodies in his symphonies and he seemed to express in his music the conflicts and searchings of a Jewish soul. It turns out that he too had converted to Christianity to further his career. He would not have been allowed to conduct the Vienna State Opera as a Jew! So he did convert, but he made it clear to friends that it was strictly for business. After his conversion he said he had "changed his coat", implying that the inside had stayed the same. Nevertheless, he was hardly in a position to proclaim an overt Jewish message in his music (though the covert message can be clearly heard). I found out that there were other unlikely Jewish classical composers such as Giachomo Meyerbeer and Jaques Offenbach, though there was little if any Jewish sound to their music. Meyerbeer did, however, set some Jewish texts to music and remained a committed Jew despite the intense anti Semitism of his times, including attacks on his music by Wagner and other anti Semites. There were modern American Jewish composers such as Aaron Copeland and George Gershwin who wrote music as American as apple pie. They sometimes borrowed heavily from African American styles, such as jazz. Though one can detect some Jewish influence in the melodies of Gershwin, neither composer seemed to write music reflecting a Jewish spirituality. In Russia, Shostakovitch, though not Jewish, composed his Symphony #13, which includes the poem Babi-Yar, a poem about the mass murder of Jews at a site in Russia, by the Nazis. He may have dealt more with Jewish themes had he not been under the watchful eye of the godless Soviet state. Ernest Bloch has the honor of being the first classical composer to make his reputation writing overtly Jewish music. He wrote several short pieces for cello and piano like Scenes From a Jewish Life. These pieces used Jewish sounding melodies to create musical portraits. His magnificent rhapsody for cello and orchestra, Schelomo, expressed very deep levels of Jewish feelings: the stirrings of a restless soul, the anger at the centuries of oppression, and the will to survive. Block did set some Jewish texts to music too, but generally, he seems to express the emotions of spirituality, rather than the specifics of theology. Other modern Jewish composers, such as Schoenberg and Bernstein, occasionally dealt with Jewish themes, ex. Schoenberg's Moses and Aaron, and Bernstein's Kaddish Symphony. In these works, the composers created music that reflected their own commentaries on traditional Jewish texts. Schoenberg created a twist on the Torah's recounting of the relationship between Moses and Aaron, changing the story line to make his own point about sublimating the physical aspects of religion into a solely spiritual relationship with God. Bernstein used the positive statement of faith known as the Kaddish, to question God and even question the existence of God. Questioning is certainly in the Jewish tradition, but I was looking for an affirmation of the Jewish religion, not commentaries questioning its traditional outlook.

 

I was saddened that I could not find what I was looking for. I wanted to find a Jewish classical music that moved beyond portraits of Jewish life, arrangements of Jewish sounding melodies, and expressions of the Jewish soul. I wanted to hear music like Bach's religious music; music that dealt directly and positively with religious beliefs. Though there are a few examples of such music in classical music history, they are pretty obscure, and most require getting an orchestra and chorus together to perform them. I rarely came into contact with such music, and since that was the case for me, I knew that most other people had even less of a likelihood to do so. Just as I had once noticed that there were no pieces for solo cello in the standard repertoire utilizing American popular styles, and took it upon myself to fill that void with my Ten American Cello Etudes, I decided that I would try to do the same in this case. I would write music for solo cello that reflected traditional Jewish beliefs. I began this journey by heading to the source: Israel. I went there with the express purpose of digging to the roots of my Jewish heritage, culturally and spiritually. I wanted to understand what it was about that land, and the Jewish religion in general, that had such a hold on the imagination of not only Jews, but the whole world. I spent much time delving into religious discussions and visiting holy sites, and I listened to the music; especially the religious music. After absorbing as much Jewish spirituality as I could in Israel, I came back to New York and immediately wrote what was to become the last movement of Judaic Concert Suite, Sound the Shofar. Inspired by my trip, I continued my religious studies and my musical research into Jewish spiritual melodies. I became a regular attendee of the Synagogue service, and celebrated every Jewish holiday. It was during these years of steady religious practice that I wrote the Variations on Adon Olam. I had first heard this melody as a teenager, emanating from a synagogue located at the end of the driveway in my back yard in Brooklyn. I remember sitting and listening to the way the melody rose and fell, as it was sung by a congregation of old Jewish men. Even then it seemed to express something deeply spiritual, though at the time I didn't understand the words or the meaning behind them. As my knowledge of Judaism increased, my admiration for that melody and the words attached to it only grew. I knew that Max Bruch had written a popular piece for cello and orchestra based on the melody of the famous prayer known as the Kol Nidre. I felt that Adon Olam also deserved to be transported into the cello literature. It was a perfect vehicle to express in sound my spiritual awakening. A few years later, I began working with the top Orthodox Jewish bands in New York City, playing at hundreds of Orthodox weddings. Through this process, I became intimately familiar with the modern melodies and rhythms of contemporary Jewish music, from deeply heartfelt ballads, to up tempo dance medleys that would go on for an hour at a time. It was through this experience that I developed the tools to compose Entrance of the Bride and Groom. Though these three pieces were written several years apart, and were inspired by events in different parts of the world, they seemed to flow together in an uncanny way, as if they were meant to be together; as if they were, as they say in Yiddish, "beshirt". I believe this is the case because they each reflect my spirituality, which has a core that has continued through many years, even as it has changed, developed, and moved in and out of focus. I suppose the composing of this suite could be compared to the writing of a book, which can take years to complete, yet still makes a unified statement. Aside from using Jewish type melodies and rhythms, I wanted my pieces to go beyond descriptions of Jewish life, to express religious principals in sound. These would not be pieces about a rabbi praying, or a Chasid dancing, etc., these pieces would reach below the surface and express specific ideas from the traditional Jewish faith.

 

The following is a brief explanation of each piece, found in the sheet music, published by Oxford University Press: "Entrance of the Bride and Groom - portrays a traditional Jewish wedding. After the ceremony, the bride and groom go into seclusion while the guests mingle about quietly. When the couple finally emerge and enter the reception hall, the guests break into wild song and dance, as if a king and queen had entered the room. Spiritually, the bride and groom united, are symbolic of the unification of God and mankind, so the dancing is also a form of prayer, demonstrating the hope that one day God and man will be as one. Variations on Adon Olam - is a set of variations on one of the most famous melodies of thetraditional Jewish liturgy. The words of the prayer speak of God as the "Lord of the universe, who reigned before anything was created", and they speak of a time when "after all things shall cease to be, the Awesome One will reign alone". This mood of awe and timelessness is reflected in the musical variations. Sound the Shofar - begins with the call of the ram's horn, known in Hebrew as the shofar. The shofar is blown during the Jewish High Holidays. It's soulful cry is believed to bring the listener closer to an experience of the divine. After dancing at the unification of God and man, and praying to the Lord of the Universe who exists beyond time, it is time for us to open our ears to the shofar and find our own path to the King who reigns over all humanity."

 

One can see that there is a core belief expressed in this suite. It is a universalist belief, of the type expressed by Beethoven, but it is viewed through a different prism. Many people think of the Jews as a group of people who see themselves as "the chosen" and who look down upon the rest of humanity. This is not true. Judaism proposes a world where all peoples can approach God, despite cultural and historical differences. Though the traditionalists do see themselves as having been "chosen" to be the ones to receive the Torah, and to spread its ideas to the rest of humanity, the Bible makes it clear that Jews must show concern for all of God's children. In fact, the Messiah (Moshiach) in Jewish thought, will become not just the "king of the Jews", but the king of all the nations, and will dispense justice to all the peoples. Furthermore, in Jewish belief, God judges everyone based on actions, whether he be a Jew or gentile. The Jewish world view is in fact highly equitable and inclusive. If truth be told, traditional Christianity sees its followers as "the chosen": only they will be allowed into heaven and all who do not follow its precepts will be doomed. Traditional Christianity says, "Accept Jesus as your savior or else!" Traditional Islam says, "Accept Mohammed or else!" Of course there are people in each faith who have modernized their beliefs to be inclusive of other views, but historically each of these religions proclaimed its path as the one and only way to God, and there are still adherents of each who preach that all other paths lead to hell. Yet in Judaism the belief has always been that the righteous of all nations go to heaven! It is this message of inclusively that pervades my Judaic Concert Suite.

 

The first movement is about dancing for joy at the symbolic representation of God and man uniting as one. The second movement is a prayer to the King of the Universe, who is the God of all mankind. The final movement is a representation of the shofar, which creates a sound capable of bringing the listener into a feeling of communing with the divine. There is nothing divisive here. Anyone can dance for, pray to, and commune with God, no matter what they conceive God to be. The Variations on Adon Olam also deal with the concept of resurrection. The last variation is based on words which allude to a faith beyond death: "Into His hand I entrust my spirit, when I sleep and when I wake. And with my soul, my body too, the Lord is with me. I shall not fear!" (The word "wake" can be interpreted to mean regaining consciousness in the afterlife.) This final "funereal" sounding variation expresses the feeling of "passing on". In fact, the final measures portray the spirit ascending, just before the body's final "deep sleep". The middle choral section of Sound the Shofar is based on the famous Jewish prayer, the Sh'ma: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Praised be His name whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever". This prayer, though addressed to Israel, is about the oneness of God, implying the oneness of man as well. And though the shofar is only played in Jewish services, through the representation of it in this cello piece, it will now be "heard" by people of every race and creed, and the message of a single world, under God, with liberty and justice for all, will be spread everywhere this music is performed.

 

My main goal in writing this suite was to express this largely unknown, yet wonderful, aspect of Judaism: this concept of oneness, and the belief in the ultimate unfolding of a world of peace and love for all peoples of all nations. Yet there was also the motivation from my childhood to create music to help young Jews who may be confused about their faith, to see the beauty of their tradition; a tradition as beautiful as Bach's tradition and Beethoven's tradition. It is my fervent hope that all people will move more and more into an acceptance of other people, and they will move away from beliefs that condemn "the other" to horrible places like "hell", or condone and glorify the murder of those who refuse to accept a certain set of beliefs. I hope my Judaic Concert Suite will help move humanity, if ever so slightly, onto the path of universality and inclusivity! As I sit here staring at my just published Judaic Concert Suite, with its beautiful blue and white cover, with a Jewish star made out of clouds surrounding the title...I can only wonder what the future of this music will be. Where will it be played? Who will hear it? Who will be affected by it? Might it remain in the cello repertoire for centuries? Though I will not receive much of a financial reward from the publication of this music, it is the right to day-dream like this, that is one of the great rewards of publishing music, particularly music about one's own spiritual journey.

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