PHOTO: Borough President Melinda Katz sang “On My Own” from “Les Misérables” as part of a free performance of the Queens Symphony Orchestra that was held on Sunday at LeFrak Concert Hall to honor the memory of the late David Katz – the borough president’s father, and the founder and original conductor of the QSO. Courtesy of Queens Borough President’s Office
By Forum Staff
The Queens Symphony Orchestra on Sunday presented “A Tribute to David Katz,” a free concert at Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Concert Hall in Flushing to honor the memory of David Katz, the founder of Queens Symphony Orchestra and father of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
The event, which was produced in association with the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College, was planned by long time Queens Symphony board member Elsie Levy and directed by guest Maestro Elli Jaffe, the music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the honorary foreign conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
The show featured the world premiere of “… and it was evening and it was morning…” Opus 132, composed by two-time Pulitzer-nominated composer Avrohom Leichtling.
Additionally, the program included the electric Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola performed by Alexander Mishnaevski and Mark Peskanov; and Avi Albrecht, a former local celebrity baritone, who sang arias by Mozart, Rossini and Verdi, including selections from the opera “Rigoletto.” In addition to doing solo concerts all over the world, Albrecht has appeared with major symphony orchestras such as the Prague Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Borough President Katz sang “On My Own” from “Les Misérables” and “If I Were a Bell” from the Broadway musical “Guys and Dolls.” She spoke about how she strives to carry on the positive legacies of both her father and her mother, Queens Council on the Arts founder Jeanne Dale Katz.
“My parents were such unwavering believers in the potential of this great borough we get to call home. Perhaps it’s because they both lived and breathed the international language: music and the arts,” Katz said. “They were both able to see that even with all of our borough’s trademark diversity, we still have that much more in common than we do different. Even back then, they too saw the evolving landscape of Queens and the foresight to see any challenges as opportunities. My father firmly believed that one should not have to cross a bridge or a tunnel to access a world class orchestra, the finest concerts and classical education. Thank you to the Queens Symphony Orchestra and Board member Elsie Levy for spearheading the effort to honor my father’s dream and legacy.”