Tag Archives: Berlin

The “Grande Dame” is Back in the Opera

“You are like a circus-horse.  As soon as you hear the music, you start dancing.” That’s the loving joke my father used to make about my mother, most likely in German amongst their Berlin friends, since “Zirkuspferd” (circus-horse) is a … Continue reading

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On the Anniversary of My Father’s Death

My father, Abraham Ashkenasi, died on this date last year.  Above is the last picture I took of him, the last day I saw him in person. It was February 16, 2016.  Two days earlier my mother called me to say … Continue reading

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SPRING – in Brooklyn & Berlin with Vivaldi

Brooklyn

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Free University Berlin Remembers Abraham Ashkenasi

My mother was leafing through the Sunday paper as she was met with a heartwarming surprise: the Free University Berlin had posted their own commemoration announcement for my father.   This is what is says: “On March 27, 2016 passing … Continue reading

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HERE BE GALLOWS’ HUMOR – Retreat ye who don’t care for that sort of thing

Sunday April 3 my father’s memorial announcement was posted in the “Familienanzeige” section of the Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin.  Actually there were two announcements, the one my family arranged, and another purchased by close Berlin friends of Dad’s.  It was … Continue reading

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STAHNSDORF – An American Red Oak for my Father

My plane was delayed by two and a half hours.  Needing only hand luggage for a five day stay I breezed past the baggage carousel at Berlin-Tegel, but the taxi ride added to the delay due to traffic jams on … Continue reading

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NfaC Double Repost: BREAKING INTO SONG IN MUSICALS

Time for another Notes from a Composer rerun, or repost, this time a double feature from last April on the convention of breaking into song in musicals, and how cleverly the movie version of Caberet subverted that convention.  This post … Continue reading

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Adam Szymkowicz interviews Danny Ashkenasi

So there are two last names with lots of letters and lots of Eastern European heritage… Adam Szymkovicz posted his interview with me yesterday on his site.  You can go to it here or read the excerpt below. Those looking … Continue reading

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AXS INTERVIEW

The on-line magazine AXS has published an interview with yours truly.  The questions delve into the evolution of Speakeasy as well as musical influences in my childhood and advice to aspiring playwrights and composers. The article is excerpted below: Interview … Continue reading

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TROUBLE BUBBLES – The Songs from Childhood that Loom Large All One’s Life

I was three years old when Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was released and became the one of the most popular songs of its time.   One of my earliest memories is of me, small boy hardly taller than … Continue reading

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BERLIN WALL MEMORIES #2 – You Might as Well Have Told Me the Earth was Flat.

The night the Berlin Wall came down, Nov 9, 1989, I was living in New York.  I got a phone call around 6pm that night, less than an hour in real time after East German Border guards had received the … Continue reading

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BERLIN WALL MEMORIES #1 – Growing up 5 miles from the BRIDGE OF SPIES

The moment I read the announcement that Steven Spielberg was preparing his next movie called “Bridge of Spies”, I knew, without having any additional morsel of information, that Die Glienicker Brücke – the Glienicke Bridge of Berlin, also known as … Continue reading

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Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears sings “Streets of Berlin” in Bent

Martin Sherman’s classic play “Bent”, about homosexual persecution in Nazi Germany concentration camps, has received a highly acclaimed major revival directed by Moises Kaufman at the Mark Taper Forum in LA. “Bent” is credited with bringing the barely discussed subject … Continue reading

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THE SUMMER OF FROG – How a grand musical for 35 performers became a better musical for 6.

The summer of ’84 I stayed home alone in Berlin while my parents left on vacation.  It was my choice to spend the six week break between my junior and senior high school year spending 8-14 hours every day working … Continue reading

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A SPREE FOREST MUSICAL EXCURSION Part 1

Let’s take a musical trip to the one-of-a-kind Spreewald.  The Spreewald (AKA the Spree Forest) is a gorgeous region, a kind of rural Venice located an hour southeast of Berlin, Germany in the source of the Spree River (which flows … Continue reading

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GETTIN’ WITCHY WITH IT

Above is the first video I ever posted on YouTube, and easily the most visually fun of the ones I’ve posted so far: a demo recording of three songs from the musical “Witches” enhanced with 105 illustrations of witches past … Continue reading

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