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Russell Steinberg Concert Honors Daniel Pearl

My third DESERT STARS concert is Sunday, November 9, 7:00 pm at Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades (corner of Temescal Canyon and Haverford, across from Palisades High School). The concert features the premiere of my tribute to journalist Daniel Pearl commissioned by the Daniel Pearl Foundation titled "Stories From My Favorite Planet." Featured performers are LA Philharmonic violinist Mitchell Newman and Lifetime Channel’s medical drama STRONG MEDICINE costar Josh Coxx. It was a meeting with Daniel Pearl’s parents last spring which created a larger dimension for this concert, originally intended to celebrate the release of my CD of solo piano and classical guitar music titled DESERT STARS. The Pearls captivated me with stories of Danny’s humor and insight. I determined that I would create a work that was more about Daniel Pearl himself and his marvelous writing rather than just his tragedy. In my composition, you will experience Danny’s personality through his own words. The title “Stories From My Favorite Planet” was suggested by Danny’s father Judea. I’ve chosen five of Danny’s articles to evoke the journey of his career, each preceded by music to provide an emotional context. We begin at the North Adams Transcript in Massachusetts where a young Danny delivers a hilarious indictment against the bureaucracy of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Next is a powerful story set in Kosovo where Danny tries to discover if any Serb and Albanian friendships still remain amidst the war. Perhaps Danny’s most humorous article concerns the rediscovery of a UCLA-owned Stradivarius violin that fell off the roof of someone's car but whose new owner is loathe to return it! Musically, I couldn't resist setting this movement as a tango. The climax is a musical tarantella that prepares one of Danny’s darkest stories concerning Osama Bin Laden's gem smuggling trade in Africa. Here Danny discovers how passionately Islamic fundamentalists want to kill Americans, eerily anticipating his own fate. In the musical elegy that follows, you will hear a 'ghost' version of the earlier tango.

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