World Premiere of Isaiah Symphony
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World Premiere of Isaiah Symphony

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The world premiere of “Isaiah,” a symphony for bass voice and full orchestra composed by Marvin Feinsmith, assistant principal bassoonist of the Denver Symphony Orchestra, will take place at Temple B’nai Jehuda here Sunday.

The symphony consists of four movements corresponding to chapters in the Book of Isaiah. It will be sung in the original Hebrew by soloist Spiro Molas. Maurice Peress will direct the Kansas City Philharmonic in the premiere performance which is being co-sponsored by the Department of Parks and the Kansas City Jewish Community Center.

In addition to the full orchestra, augmented by alto flute, two bass clarinets, two tubas and solo string bass, Feinsmith designed and built a special instrument for this work. He described this to the Jewish Telegraphic Agencytas a sound sculpture, composed of nine brass rods, each 12 feet in length, which strike, one upon the other, causing a law, random, clanging sound, which represents the sound of the vision seen and heard by Isaiah the Prophet, the word of the lard.” He will be playing the sound-sculpture for the premiere.

Feinsmith, 46, a native of New York City, is a graduate of Rabbi Israel Jalanter Yeshiva in The Bronx. He is also a graduate of the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools of Music with a Masters Degree. He has been assistant principal bassoonist of the Denver Symphony Orchestra (DSO) since 1972. As a composer, his most ambitious work until now was “Peerkay A “vot” (Ethics of the Fathers) which the DSO premiered in 1975.

Before joining the DSO, Feinsmith played in the Indianapolis Symphony, the Symphony of the Air, the Little Orchestra Society, and for three years, the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin M### He was also the solo bassoonist in 197? in Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass,” under Bernstein’s direction.


The Isaiah symphony was developed under the auspices of the Jewish Welfare Board’s Jewish Music Council. The work was made possible through a special grant from the Calvin and Raquel Newman Charitable Trust of San Francisco, in cooperation with the JWB Music Council. Mrs. Newman, who conceived and proposed the project, is a noted leader in Jewish cultural arts activities in Omaha and a resident of San Francisco.

Isaiah will highlight the theme of the Jewish Music Festival — “Make a Joyful Noisel The Bible in Music,” said Irene Heskes, director of JWB’s Jewish Music Council.

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