Young Brookline Composer To Be Featured On ‘From The Top’

MetroWest Daily News | March 18, 2015

When the popular NPR program “From the Top,” with host Christopher O’Riley, comes to Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley on March 26, it will be in the form of a special collaboration between the synagogue and the Boston Jewish Music Festival. As always, the show, to be recorded for a future broadcast on WCRB (99.5), will feature the talents of classically trained young musicians from all over the country.  This will mark the third time the show has presented new music from South Brookline composer and pianist Jeremiah Klarman, whose klezmer-inspired piece “Greser Vi Dos Leben” (“Larger Than Life”) will have its world premiere as the show’s finale.

Now 22, and a senior majoring in composition at New England Conservatory, Klarman first got his fingers on a piano when he was 4, started playing violin when he was 5, and wrote his first piece when he was 6.

“We had a piano in our house, and my older sister was taking piano lessons,” he said of his earliest keyboard memories.  “I would go up and try to play what she was playing, then I would try to take over the piano because I loved playing so much.  And I just kept playing.”

Though Klarman stopped violin lessons, he still plays the instrument, but his interests remain with piano performance and writing mostly classical music.

“Composing is a lot of work,” he said.  “But I was always improvising.  I love playing by ear.  I never really wanted to learn to read music, and I would try to pick out something on the radio, and then put my own chords in.  Sometimes I would sit down at the piano and just make stuff up, but eventually I came up with some things I wanted to write down, and that’s how I started.”

Notice really began coming his way in 2007, when he was honored with the Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his piece “Dance Suite for Orchestra.”

“I had written that at the request of the conductor, the late Charles Ansbacher, who heard a piece of mine and asked me to orchestrate it for the Boston Landmarks Orchestra,” said Klarman.  “I think that award got my career off to a start, and it definitely was a good starting place.”

The piece he’s working on for the upcoming show (don’t worry, it’s almost finished) is the result of “From the Top” producers asking him to write a klezmer piece, klezmer being the traditional Eastern European Jewish music that often has a kind of jazz-folk sound.

Sing To The Lord

Jewish Ideas Daily | February 3, 2010

Jewish Ideas Daily has been succeeded and re-launched as Mosaic (article is no longer available online).

Of making Jewish music there is no end, but how many contemporary composers of distinguished work in this genre have been featured on From the Top, National Public Radio’s program about exceptional young musicians?  Jeremiah Klarman, age thirteen when he appeared on the NPR show, may be the sole exception.  Now seventeen, with a demonstrated mastery of styles from classical to klezmer, and with chamber, orchestral, and pop compositions under his belt, Klarman has turned his lavish and protean talents to choral music.  A premier of his latest work, the cantata Hallel, Shir v’Or (“Praise, Song, and Light”), drawing largely on well-known verses from the book of Psalms, took place in late December at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Mass.  Performed by the Zamir Chorale of Boston under the direction of Joshua R. Jacobson, it culminates in a room-rocking, soul-lifting Halleluyah! for chorus and orchestra.




The Boston Globe | April 30, 2006

Abstract (Document Summary)

[Osvaldo Golijov] treated [Jeremiah R. Klarman] as a colleague, not a student. He led off by remarking, “I hear a few different styles and influences in your music.  I’m very cool with that.” Golijov is known for his own assimilative style, and before their meeting, Klarman was scanning the shelves.  He could have seen musical scores from every period, the complete Beatles catalog, recordings by Miles Davis and Gil Evans, DVDs ranging from Fellini’s “La Strada” to “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” copies of “Don Quixote” and “War and Peace,” books about Picasso, Da Vinci, and Frida Kahlo.

Golijov had specific advice about how to accomplish this: Fragment the theme, develop new and contrasting accompaniment figures to create textural and tactile differences, put the theme through different rhythmic paces.  “Rhythms play with your bloodstream,” he said. He also recommended “make believe” getting other instruments to sound like a tuba or an accordion.  “Make it more theatrical,” he urged.  And he offered examples from Beethoven, Mozart, Stravinsky, and a host of other models, including tango pianist Octavio Brunetti.  “Listening to other music can only be good for you,” he said.

At the end, Golijov said he was “moved, impressed, and amazed” by Klarman’s talent and early work.  “I am very curious about where you are going to go,” he said.  “Don’t get scared of anything, and follow your heart so that you are always exploring a new area, doing something new.”