Arts and Culture | Local

UApresents to pair world-class clarinetist, pianist

Menahem Pressler
Richard Stoltzman

Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, a two-time Grammy Award winner, rejoices in the power of music written by the world’s greatest composers, “taking my turn to take those notes and turn them into life.” Stoltzman intends do just that when he performs with pianist Menahem Pressler and the New York Chamber Soloists Orchestra at a UApresents concert on Sunday, Nov. 21 at Centennial Hall.

“My passion is for sound,” says Stoltzman, “to make the most beautiful sound on the clarinet and to move people through the tone of the instrument. People are moved so much by voice; that’s another human being. Moving the reed to make a vibration,” he adds, “has a primal resonance.”

Stoltzman sees music as a universal connector. “We look for something in every religion to guide us, chasten us and direct our passion in melodic lines, like a cantor in a temple or klezmer music from the past,” says Stoltzman, who will perform with the Klezmatics in Austin, Texas, this month. “They’re a great, funky, dedicated band of musicians,” he adds.

But whatever form music takes, “when we get together and share the lessons of music, in my mind,” he says, “there are harmonies and melodies that connect us.”

Earlier this month, he performed with Pressler in Austin. Stoltzman told the AJP that Pressler, 86, played a Leonard Bernstein song for the first time. “It’s never too late to play more music,” says Stoltzman.

Born in Magdeburg, Germany, in 1923, Pressler fled the Nazis in 1939 and emigrated to Israel. The recipient of six Grammy nominations, Pressler has been honored with a lifetime achievement award from Gramophone magazine, Chamber Music America’s Distinguished Service Award and the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters. He founded the Beaux Arts Trio, one of the world’s most successful classical music groups, in 1955.

Temple Emanu-El will present “An Evening with Menahem Pressler” on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. Pressler will discuss a career that has spanned more than five decades, his experiences during the Holocaust, and how the composer Mozart influenced his life. He will also play a short program, and light refreshments will be served.

Tickets for the Temple Emanu-El event are $18. Attendees receive a discount to the UApresents concert. Call 327-4501. To purchase tickets for UApresents at Centennial Hall, call 621-3341 or visit