The Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival returns this summer for concerts that celebrate the multi-cultural threads that make up the fabric of Jewish music today.
It opens with clarinetist David Krakauer joining soprano Lara Bruckmann and Pittsburgh Symphony members performing "Ayre," a song cycle by Osvaldo Golijov that combines Christian, Arab and Jewish texts from 15th-century Spain into a "moving work about religious harmony." The program also includes Alexander Krein's "Jewish Sketches" and a Sephardic piece by Pittsburgh composer David Stock. (7:30 p.m. May 20, Temple Emanuel, Mt. Lebanon; and 7:30 p.m. May 21, Rodef Shalom Congregation, Shadyside.)
It continues with Joshua Nelson and the Kosher Gospel Singers. In kosher gospel Mr. Nelson finds "a way to claim both parts of his identity as a black Jew." (7:30 p.m. May 31, Temple Sinai, Squirrel Hill.)
The series concludes with the Ortner Roberts Duo, Roger Humphries and Vince Giordano in a night of klezmer and jazz through the music of Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, George Gershwin. (7:30 p.m. June 3 Jewish Community Center, Squirrel Hill.)
-- Post-Gazette classical music critic Andrew Druckenbrod