Resonances from Vilna 2018

Karen Bentley Pollick, Violin & Viola

Jascha Nemtsov, Piano


Resonances from Vilna 2018:

Jewish Lithuanian composers


“Resonances from Vilna” premiered at the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum on May 22, 2014.  The event was organized by four cultural organizations in Vilnius: European Humanities University, EHU Center for German Studies, the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum’s Tolerance Center, and Vilnius University.

2018 is the Centennial of the independence of the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. “Resonances from Vilna” tour of the United States during the autumn of this anniversary year is an homage to the treasure trove of repertoire that Jascha Nemtsov has rediscovered during decades of musical archaeology.  Professor Nemtsov is also available for lecturing about the composers represented, as well as performing the entire set of Vsevolod Zaderatsky’s 24 Preludes and Fugues for Piano, composed during his imprisonment in a Siberian gulag.

Jewish composers have been present on the international musical stage since the early 19th Century. However, only at the beginning of the 20th century did some of them show interest in the roots of Jewish music: folklore and music of the synagogue. The center of the Jewish national movement in music was Eastern Europe. This movement which brought about a whole school of composers was part of a widespread Jewish cultural Renaissance.

“Resonances from Vilna” concert program presents music by several outstanding Jewish composers from the first half of the 20th century whose biographies were linked with Lithuania and particularly with Vilnius – an important Jewish cultural center called “the Lithuanian Jerusalem”.  All of them later became victims of Stalinist politics in the Soviet Union and subsequently entered into oblivion.  


Alexander Krein (1883–1951)

Ornaments: 3 Songs Without Words Op. 42, No.1 for Viola & Piano (1924/27)                               





Alexander Weprik (1899–1958)

Rhapsody Op. 11 for Viola & Piano                                                            

            Recitando: Allegro                                                                           

            Lento, recitando

            Non troppo vivace


Grigory Gamburg (1900–1967)

Two pieces “From the Song of Songs” Op. 5, No. 1 & 2 for Viola & Piano (1926)                       

            Andante amabile



Joseph Achron (1886–1943)

Two Pieces op. 65a, No. 1 & 2 for Viola & Piano                                           

             Improvisation: With calm and freely                                               

             Joyously but not too fast


Vsevolod Zaderatsky (1891–1953

From the cycle 24 Preludes and Fugues for Piano solo               


Alexander Krein

Caprice Hebraïque Op. 24 for Violin & Piano (1917)                             

            Andante con moto:  Allegretto con grazia                                      


Aria Op. 41 for Violin & Piano (1927)



Alexander Weprik

Suite Op. 7 for Violin & Piano (1925)                                                         

            Comoditto, abbandono

            Barocco, al rigore di Tempo

            Capriccioso, ma placido


Joseph Achron

Suite from the stage music to Stempenyu the Fiddler for Violin & Piano after Sholom Aleychem (1932)

            Stempenyu spielt auf




Eine Tanzimprovisation on a Hebrew folksong (1914) for Violin & Piano



Karen Bentley Pollick joined the Paul Dresher Ensemble in 1999 and champions a wide range of solo repertoire and styles on violin, viola, piano and Norwegian hardangerfele.  She studied with Camilla Wicks in San Francisco and attended Indiana University where she received BM and MM degrees and studied with Yuval Yaron and Josef Gingold.  Recordings on her own label Ariel Ventures were honored at the Just Plain Folks Music Awards.  With Russian pianist/composer Ivan Sokolov she has recorded  <amberwood>, Homage to Fiddlers  and Russian Soulcapes, and performed throughout the US and Czech Republic and at the American Academy of Rome.

Serving as concertmaster of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie Kammerorchester, Palo Alto Chamber and New York String Orchestras, Karen has performed at the June in Buffalo and Wellesley Composers Conferences, the Olympic Music, Tanglewood, Amelia Island, Next Generation, American Spring, Canberra, Huddersfield, Music Olomouc and Permainu Muzika Music Festivals, and appeared as guest artist with Opus Posthumous from Moscow, Seattle Chamber Players, and Ensemble for the Romantic Century.

She premiered Ole Saxe’s Dance Suite with Redwood Symphony, received a grant from the NEA for Solo Violin and Alternating Currents, and launched Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity with New York video artist Sheri Wills.  She performs on a violin made by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume in 1860 and a viola made in 1987 by William Whedbee. During her recent three years in Vilnius, Lithuania, she debuted “Resonances from Vilna” with pianist Jascha Nemtsov, presented Climate Change Theatre Action “Nothing is Forever” with director Aiste Ptakauske, and premiered David A. Jaffe’s violin concerto with the Lithuanian National Opera & Ballet Theatre Orchestra.


Jascha Nemtsov pianist und musicologist, Professor for History of Jewish Music at the Liszt University of Music Weimar, Academic Director of the Cantorial School of the Abraham Geiger College Potsdam.

As a pianist he gives concerts worldwide as soloist and with chamber music partners like David Geringas, Tabea Zimmermann, Kolja Blacher, Ingolf Turban, Dmitri Sitkovetsky, Chen Halevi, the Vogler Quartet, the Klenke Quartet, or the Atrium Quartet. By now he has recorded 35 CDs, featuring numerous world premiere recordings. German Record Critics Prize in 2007. In 2012 he performed in the German Bundestag on the occasion of the Day of Remembrance of the victims of National Socialism.

He also serves as a Member of the School of Jewish Studies at the University of Potsdam, the Editorial Board of the Milken Archive of Jewish Music (Santa Monica/New York), Editor-in-Chief of the monographic series “Jewish Music: Studies and Sources on Jewish Musical Culture” of the Harrassowitz Verlag Wiesbaden, and as Artistic Director of the ACHAVA Festival Thuringia.


Live concert video of “Resonances from Vilna” on May 22, 2104 in Vilnius, Lithuania:


Reviews of Jascha Nemtsov’s 2016 recording of Vsevolod Zaderatsky’s 24 Preludes and Fugues for Piano: