From classical to klezmer

Performer: Fred Jacobowitz, a clarinetist who can play different styles of music with authority, will be in recital Sunday in Columbia.

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April 26, 2001|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Some instruments are limited in their capacity to cross musical boundaries.

Jazz on the oboe? I think not.

The bassoon as a crossover phenomenon like the golden flutes of Jean-Pierre Rampal and James Galway? Hardly.

But the clarinet is one of those instruments that can do almost anything.

Mozart made it speak with the voice of an angel, while Brahms turned it into a surrogate cello, imbuing the lines of his two clarinet sonatas with an expansiveness worthy of that most songful of string instruments.

To the Jews of Eastern Europe, the clarinet was the heart and soul of the klezmer band; a voice whose plaintive tone could speak almost simultaneously of life's joys and sorrows.

And need I remind jazz aficionados that Benny Goodman and Pete Fountain made the instrument swing with a sassy flair that has kept toes tapping for generations.

Not every clarinetist can play all these different styles with authority, but Fred Jacobowitz is one who can.

That explains why the Cultural Arts Committee of Columbia Jewish Congregation has invited him to perform in recital at 3 p.m. Sunday.

For, Jacobowitz, one of the Baltimore-Washington area's busiest performers, is equally at home in classical music, klezmer or in transcriptions of pieces composed for other instruments such as the cello.

Sunday's program will include the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Carl Maria von Weber, as well as works emanating from the spirit of Eastern Europe and Judaica.

Jacobowitz is a product of New York City's Juilliard School of Music, where he studied with Leon Russianoff.

He made his Manhattan debut at Carnegie Recital Hall, and has appeared in solo and chamber recitals across the New York metropolitan area.

He now serves as principal clarinet of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and can be heard with his Kol Simcha band, a Jewish folk music ensemble.

A resident of North Carolina, he is married to Bonnie Thron, principal cellist of the North Carolina Symphony.

Jacobowitz's accompanist for Sunday's recital is Adam Mahonske, who holds a master's degree in piano from Indiana University where he was a student of Menahem Pressler, the legendary pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio.

A former teacher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Morgan State University, Mahonske is on the faculty of the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Sunday's recital will be presented at 3 p.m. at the Meeting House, Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia. Refreshments will be served. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $10; $15 at the door. Information: 410-730-6044, 410-730- 0039, or 410-992-4073.

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