“Yiddish Concerto” Premiered in Italy

Michael Guttman

In July 2023, the International Music Festival took place in Pietrasanta, Italy. The highlight of this event was the Italian premiere of Laurent Couson’s Yiddish Concerto for violin and string orchestra — a new contribution to today’s Yiddish culture.

The Yiddish Concerto was created in 2022 by the contemporary French composer Laurent Couson for Maestro Michael Guttman, the initiator and permanent artistic director of the festival. It was brilliantly performed in Pietrasanta by Guttman and the Brussels Chamber Orchestra.

The authoritative Amadeus Magazine wrote: “It has been 17 years since Pietrasanta… has held such a lively high quality festival… thanks to Maestro Michael Guttman, a violinist of Belgian origin, a volcanic personality with a contagious enthusiasm who invites top-ranking musicians”.

The composer, Laurent Couson, notes that his Yiddish Concerto, played by a solo violin and a strings ensemble, was composed during a trip across the historical Jewish Poland, between Warsaw and Krakow. The first movement of the composition is called Shtetl, followed by Hatikvah and Lechaim. “From melancholia to joy, this short concerto explores the soul of Yiddish culture”.