Yitchat Meir Helfgot, the noted canter from Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue, is considered a leading figure in the revival of Jewish liturgical music. This music, similar to opera, had its greatest following during the 19th century. Jewish prayers that are centuries old are sung with concerto-style length and form. This music holds great memories for me, Perlman stated, “These are the songs that I listened to as a child. It is close to my heart.”
The two men were introduced to each other by Park East Synagogue Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky. His hope was that their working together would make rabbinical music have more pop.The two men hit it off quickly with Perlman asking if they could do something together. “You are connecting two worlds that are polar opposites through music,” Rogosnitzky said.
In September the two men released their first combined album, “Eternal Echoes” which features the master violin skills of Perlman and the magnificent tenor voice of Helfgot. Wanting to continue this joint musical project, Perlman asked his daughter, to ask her childhood friend’s father , Barclay’s owner Bruce Ratner if they could book a Cantorial Music concert at The Barclay Center. “Let’s do it. Cantors used to walk around Brooklyn like rock stars,” said Ratner. His deep roots in the Jewish community along with Mr. Ratner’s singing of cantorial music in synagogue as a child prompted his quick response. Perlman and Helfgot will be accompanied by a group of Klezmer musicians and an 18 piece chamber music orchestra which will include members from Perlman’s summer music camp.
With respect to the ultra Orthodox Jewish community who is expected to attend the concert, separate sections will be set up for men and women. In addition, Kosher food will be sold during the concert.
It was reported that most of the proceeds from the concert will benefit The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and the Perlman Music Program, a music camp located on Shelter Island, New York, started by Mr. Perlman’s wife.
The Barclay concert will be repeated on Long Island where it will be performed at the Tilles Center in Greenvale, on March 10th. 2013.