Medina Journal-Register — The Medina-based Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. has increasingly made a name for itself in WNY for hosting concerts with some of the best and most interesting talent to be found — everything from Buffalo’s Easy Street Big Band to the internationally acclaimed vocal group Anonymous 4.
ORG will kick off its 2014 concert season on Jan. 25 with the first of a trio of performances.
“We’ve always tried to book high-quality, distinctive ensembles,” said Skip Draper, President of ORG. “To that end, we’re very excited about this year’s trio of events.”
The series starts with an exclusive appearance of Moshe Shulman and the Buffalo Tango Orkestra. According to ORG, the event will be “an initimate evening of elegant music from a by-gone era – when the tango was an international phenomenon.”
Well known throughout Buffalo, the Buffalo Tango Orkestra was formed in summer 2012 to perform Argentine tango and other styles of tango such as “Nuevo” and “European.” Since its first performance in August 2012 at the Elmwood Arts Festival, the orchestra has appeared at Smith Opera House in Geneva and “Tango Cafe” in Rochester, as well as Milonga Paradiso in Toronto and other venues.
The Medina tango event will be hosted in Medina’s West Center Street Masonic Lodge.
“ORG is always looking to highlight our beautiful architecture when we book a concert event,” said Draper. “Like so many others, we have always admired the Masonic Lodge. We approached them with this event in mind and they were thankfully excited to do it.”
The lodge, built in 1922 as a Christian Science Church, is a new venue for ORG. Carpet will place a damper on any tango attempts. The focus will be directly on the European/Latin American music itself.
BTO is under the direction of Moshe Shulman, a Russian-born Israeli composer. Playing the violin, viola, bandoneon and accordion, Shulman received both Bachelors and Masters of Music degrees in composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music, and a Ph.D. in composition from the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). He has studied with Mark Kopytman, David Felder and Johannes Schollhorn.
Shulman is a performer of classical music, Argentine tango, Klezmer, and Gypsy music as well as being a tango dancer himself. He is on the Music Faculty at University at Buffalo teaching Klezmer History and Performance and composer in residence with the Commonwealth Lyric Theater in Boston, Massachusetts.
Along with Shulman is Ana Vafai, violin. Ana is a 2011 graduate of the Eastman School of Music and was a featured violin soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ivan Docenko on piano is one of the best known accompanists and versatile musicians in Western New York. Docenko is keyboardist for the Camerata di Sant’Antonio, the Johann Strauss Orchestra of Buffalo, and serves as organist/pianist for St. Luke’s Anglican Church in East Aurora.
Other members of the BTO include Benjamin Levitt, double bass; Victoria Perez, vocals; Teagan Faran, violin; and Paul-Joseph Struckmann, violin/viola and Jessica Tufte, violina.
Struckmann and Tufte are also members of Buffalo’s Greycliffe String Quartet. Greycliffe was formed in August of 2006, as part of the Chamber Music Program at the University at Buffalo. It has performed in several master classes with internationally renowned professional string quartets including the Colorado, Ives, Mendelssohn, NEO, Alexander, Pacifica, and Tokyo String Quartets.
In February, the “trio” concert series continues with an appearance of the Fredonia Trombone Choir. Rounding out the trio series in March is Róisín Dubh - The Black Rose: An Evening of Irish Traditional Music.
More information about these events, tickets, and ORG can be found at www.eggstreet.org.