36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022

Vyacheslav Ganelin - Esti Kenan-Ofri - Gershon Waiserfirer - Arkady Gotesman


Vyacheslav Ganelin - p, synth, perc
Esti Kenan-Ofri - voc
Gershon Waiserfirer - tb, electric oud, jumbush, euphonium, pocket clarino, sansula, theremin, perc
Arkady Gotesman - dr, perc

Having spent the largest part of his life in Vilnius, Vyacheslav Ganelin, Israeli jazz keyboardist, composer and pedagogue, regularly revisits Lithuania to give concerts and master classes, and to meet with his friends and aficionados. In recent years we have mainly heard him as a soloist or with Ganelin Trio Priority – his most widely touring trio, involving saxophonist Petras Vyšniauskas and drummer Klaus Kugel.

However, this return is special – he is bringing together Israeli musicians, acknowledged ethic music experts. Thus one of the foremost improvisers in Lithuania’s music history is going to enrich his sound palette with new flavours.

However, most Lithuanians know Vyacheslav Ganelin as a leader of the legendary GTC Trio (Vyacheslav Ganelin, Vladimir Tarasov and Vladimir Chekasin). This ensemble was active in 1971-1986, has earned a reputation of one of the best non-American jazz groups of all times. It was the first collective in the Soviet Union to gain popularity in Europe due to its authentic vocabulary, rather than imitation of American jazz. The GTC Trio was seminal to the formation of Lithuanian jazz school.

The Trio has toured the entire Old Continent, the USA, South America, Canada and Cuba. Producer Leo Feigin established Leo Records in order to promote the GTC Trio. To this day the label released 19 albums by the GTC Trio and its leader.

The GTC Trio’s activity was suspended when in 1987 Vyacheslav Ganelin immigrated to Israel. In 2003, the musicians met on stage again at the Frankfurt Book Fair, gave several concerts afterwards.

Vyacheslav Ganelin graduated from the Lithuanian State Conservatoire (currently, the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre) and for almost 20 years (1968-1984) served as a Music Director of the Russian Drama Theatre in Vilnius. During those years he wrote an array of academic works, music for film and theatre; was awarded a number of prizes.

The musician is successfully pursuing his career in Israel. In 1988, he joined the Israeli Composers’ League, started working at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance where he became a Professor and the head of Jazz Department.

Maestro composes, initiates free jazz and multi media projects, organises Jazz Globus international festival in Israel. In addition to Ganelin Trio Priority he collaborates in trio with bassist Victor Fonarov and drummer Misha Markovitch, plays duo with both of them as well as vocalist Esti Kenan-Ofri, oud virtuoso Gershon Waiserfirer, saxophonist Ned Rothenberg, double bassist Vladimir Volkov and others.

However, his main interest lays in music for theatre and film. Vyacheslav Ganelin composed three operas, several ballets, six musicals, concertos for various instruments, soundtracks for more than 60 films and music for more than 40 theatre productions.

In 2003, Maestro was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Vytautas Magnus Order for contributions to Lithuanian culture. In 2005, he was awarded Landau Prize for contributions to Jewish jazz. In 2010, the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union endowed him with Gold Disc.

Singer Esti Kenan-Ofri is Vyacheslav Ganelin’s long-time stage partner. She studied dance and music in Israel, choreography in the USA. For many years she had mainly been doing choreography and performing as a dancer, but has achieved a lot as a vocalist as well. She studied Arabic music with composer Salim In-Nur and has completed her degree in Arabic music. She feels most intimate with the singing traditions of the Sephardi Jews.

Her voice and the traditions she represents have inspired composers such as Luciano Berio, Andre Hajdu, Betty Olivero, Noam Sherif, Oded Zehavi, Piris Eliyahu and Mark Kopitman into writing and arranging music to suit her particular vocal interpretation.

Esti Kenan-Ofri has been performing for many years with the Kol-Tof Duo, Kol Oud Tof Trio, East-West Ensemble, and with the Arabo-Andalucian orchestra of Tangier. Lately she has been more dedicated to composition. Her works have been performed in major festivals in Israel.

The vocalist appeared in festivals in Wroclaw and Krakow, Venetian Biennale, performed in Taipei and Montreal.

Gershon Waiserfirer is currently one of the most sought-after oud players in Israel. Owing to his virtuoso playing on a variety of instruments, he is a regular member of a large number of successful musical groups in Israel.

The multiinstrumentalis was born in Tajikistan. His family immigrated to Israel when he was a child. His passion for music emerged at the age of 11, when he started playing the piano and the baritone horn. Later he studied the trombone at the Conservatory in Tel-Aviv. He furthered his education in the Centre of Music and Dance from the East in Jerusalem, and the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. He also studied acting at Beit Tsvi, one of the leading theatre schools in Israel.

Together with theatre studies, he began exploring different string instruments, including the guitar, the oud and the jumbush. Along with his acting career Gershon Waisefirer kept his focus on music and in a diversity of styles like Jewish and Balkan music as well as rock and free improvised music which he loved the most.

Gershon Waiserfirer has participated in many festivals in Israel as well as in major centres of the North America, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

Arkady Gotesman, one of the most resourceful and versatile Lithuanian percussionists, has been collaborating with Vyacheslav Ganelin for about 20 years – since the times of Aljans trio, which also featured Petras Vyšniauskas.

Arkady Gotesman made his jazz debut in the 80s, later collaborated with exponents of various trends including Roland Dahinden, Vladimir Volkov, Vyacheslav Gaivoronsky, Arkady Shilkloper, Julian Joseph, John Zorn, Jack Siron, Frank London, Anthony Coleman, Charles Gayle, Tim Daisy, Joey Baron, Barry Guy, Dominic Duval, Dave Douglas and Albert Beger.

For many years the percussionist has been working with Petras Vyšniauskas, Vladimir Tarasov, Liudas Mockūnas, Dainius Pulauskas and Tomas Kutavičius. He also collaborates with Vilnius Jazz Orchestra and ACCOsax Freeminded trio; has presented original projects with Juozas Kuraitis, Eugenijus Kanevičius and many other improvisers.

In addition to playing jazz, he performs contemporary academic music, writes scenarios for performances and installations, composes, records and performs music for theatre, performs as a silent film taper, collaborates with dancers.

Recently, the percussionist has been preoccupied with theatrical vocabulary. In 2010, he invited to his first one-man show The Story of God’s Man (director Adolfas Večerskis), in 2012 together with visual artists Linas Liandzbergis and Artūras Valiauga he presented new project Percussion Postcards.

Arkady Gotesman collaborates with the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, Meno fortas, Juozas Miltinis Drama Theatre in Panevėžys, and organises literary readings with actors. Inspired by J. Brodsky’s poems the percussionist recorded solo album J. Brodsky in memoriam; his music is also featured on a CD of Rolandas Rastauskas’ poems.

On the academic music scene Arkady Gotesman has collaborated with Liora Grodnikaitė, Judita Leitaitė, Vladimiras Prudnikovas, cellist David Geringas, pianist Petras Geniušas, choirs Polifonija, Jauna muzika and Brevis, composers Šarūnas Nakas, Gintaras Sodeika and Zita Bružaitė among other representatives of various genres. Vyacheslav Ganelin and Osvaldas Balakauskas have dedicated their compositions to the percussionist.

Arkady Gotesman is a founder and member of Vilnius Klezmer Orchestra, organises the Klezmer Music Festival. 

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