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A Journey Around the World in Stories and Music

Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto

Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto A Journey Around the World in Stories and Music

Why settle for a winter "staycation" when you can journey around the world? Storyteller Joel ben Izzy and musicians from Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra present a program of stories and music that will carry you from the marketplace in Old City of Jerusalem to a Turkish bathhouse in Istanbul, from a shul in old Krackow to the southernmost pub in Ireland—and places far beyond.

Joel ben Izzy, Storyteller
Lisa Grodin, Violin
Paul Hale, Cello
Peter Maund, Percussion

Back in 1983, after studying storytelling at Stanford, Joel ben Izzy set off to travel the world, gathering and telling stories. Since then, his travels have taken him to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa as well as North and South America. While the stories he tells come from all over the world, Jewish folktales are those closest to his heart—especially those from the village of Chelm.
Joel is also an award-winning author. His memoir The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness (Algonquin, 2003), has now been translated into some 18 languages and is in development as both a feature film and a musical. His second book, Dreidels on the Brain (Dial 2016), was chosen as a finalist for the national Jewish book award.

Lisa Grodin is the Director of Education for Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and plays violin and viola in the ensemble. She has performed and recorded locally and abroad with Voices of Music, El Mundo (nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011), American Bach Soloists, Smithsonian Concerto Grosso, Les Arts Florissants, Capella Savaria and La Cetra.

Grodin has taught violin and chamber music and conducted orchestras at The Crowden Music Center in Berkeley for many years. Her lectures have been well-received at institutions such as the R. Gliere Institute of Music in Kyiv, the Colburn School in Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, Arizona State University and the Fromm Institute for Higher Learning in San Francisco. Grodin is a proud third generation Berkeley native; her grandfather Harry Sapper was the Executive Director of the Alameda and Contra County Jewish Welfare Federation for several decades.

Paul Hale has been performing with period instruments in the Bay Area since the late 1970s. He studied with many teachers, including Irene Sharp, and primarily Margaret Rowell at UC Berkeley, where he was awarded the Eizner Prize for performing artists, and soloed with the UC Symphony. He earned a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley, and after designing two new locking mechanisms for the Schlage Lock Co., he joined the Oakland Symphony and began a music career. Paul has been a cello instructor at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and the Castro Valley School of Music. He is currently a member of Opera San Jose, California Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and often subs in the Freeway Philharmonic circuit. He has performed and recorded a wide range of music including contemporary classical music, baroque concertos and solo cantatas, and most of the recordings by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. He has worked with many contemporary composers, and played with the period instrument ensemble American Baroque. Occasionally, for fun, his bowing hand wields a soldering iron to rebuild old vacuum tube amplifiers.

Peter Maund is a native of San Francisco. He studied percussion at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and music, folklore and ethnomusicology at the University of California, Berkeley. A founding member of Ensemble Alcatraz and Alasdair Fraser's Skyedance, he has performed with early and contemporary music ensembles including American Bach Soloists, Alboka, Anonymous 4, Chanticleer, Davka, El Mundo, The Harp Consort, Hesperion XX, Kitka, Los Cenzontles, Musica Pacifica, Pacific MusicWorks, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Texas Early Music Project and Voices of Music, among others.

Presenters and performance venues include the Berkeley Festival, Cal Performances, Carnegie Hall, Celtic Connections (Glasgow), Cervantino Festival (Guanajuato), Confederation House (Jerusalem), Edinburgh Festival, Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Festival Pau Casals, Fillmore Auditorium, Folkfestival Dranouter, Freight & Salvage, Horizante Orient Okzident (Berlin), The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Palacio Congresos (Madrid), Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), and Tage Alter Musik (Regensburg). Peter is the author of "Percussion" in A Performer's Guide to Medieval Music, Indiana University Press, 2000. He has served on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley as well as workshops sponsored by Amherst Early Music, the San Francisco Early Music Society, the American Recorder Society and the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. Described by the Glasgow Herald as "the most considerate and imaginative of percussionists" he can be heard on over 60 recordings.

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Joel Ben Izzy


Peter Maund