On April 15, WQXR presented violinist Gil Shaham and his sister, the pianist Orli Shaham, performing an evening of Jewish and Jewish-themed music live in The Greene Space. The sold-out concert featured selections from Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies, their forthcoming new album which includes music by Ernest Bloch, John Williams and Avner Dorman.
Host Elliott Forrest asked Gil Shaham about the tradition of violin in Jewish music.
“There’s something about the weeping violin, there’s something about the soulful sound, the human voice that lends itself [to the music],” Shaham said. Also, he added, “My teacher…used to say, ‘Many Jews played the violin because they could not afford to buy pianos.'”
Not missing an opportunity to rib her brother, Orli Shaham clarified, “Because, of course, the piano is the better instrument.”