Mort and Nancy Bercovitch Concert Series

The Mort and Nancy Bercovitch Concert Series at Temple Israel consists of several events each year that feature local and touring artists in the intimate setting of the Temple Israel sanctuary.  The concert series focuses primarily on acoustic strings in conventional and sometimes unconventional configurations.  While we often feature classical repertoire, we also venture into music that we feel will resonate with our audience from either a cultural or historic perspective or just to delight the ears with a beautiful sound. For more information or to join our concert mailing list please contact:

Individual Concerts

The March 29 Gypsy Muse concert is cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Look here for future updates regarding possible re-booking or livestream broadcast.

Sunday, April 19, 2019 at 2 pm – Music of the Diaspora

This progamme will feature rarely heard classical works for cello and piano by Jewish composers Castel-Nuovo Tedesco, Gernsheim, Vladigerov, Ornstein, Schulhoff and Souroujon, as well as more familiar names such as Mendelssohn and Popper. Many of these composers suffered oppression or exile due to their Jewish heritage, but have still left an important body of work. In many cases these compositions have only been re-discovered more recently and brought to the concert stage.

Italian composer Mario Castel-Nuovo Tedesco (1895-1968) is well known for his numerous popular works for guitar (over 100!).  However, he also composed a cello concerto for Gregor Piatigorsky as well as many opera transcriptions, compositions for voice, violin, and piano. His Jewish heritage inspired the Violin Concerto #2, written at the request of Jascha Heifetz. Heifetz was also instrumental in helping him emigrate to the USA in 1939 after the passing of new racial laws in Italy.

Works by two Bulgarian composers , Leon Souroujon ((1913-2007) and Pancho Vladigerov (1899-1978), will also be heard on the programme. Vladigerov is considered to be the foremost composer of his native Bulgaria. His primary musical training was in Berlin, under Friederich Gernsheim ((1839-1916) whose eloquent work “Eloheinu” will also be performed on this programme. Despite gaining the post of Music Director of the Deutsches Theatre in Berlin after his graduation, Vladigerov reluctantly left Berlin in 1932 to return to Bulgaria, where he spent the rest of his life, creating a large body of work in a variety of genres.

Born in Prague into a German-Jewish family, Erwin Schulhoff ((1894-1942) was a pianist and composer inspired by jazz rhythms and the avant-garde performances popular in post-World War One Europe. In the 1930’s his performances and compositions were labelled “degenerate” by the Nazis in Germany. He returned to Prague but was arrested there in 1941 and died in Wülzburg concentration camp at the age of age 48.

Ukrainian-American composer and brilliant pianist Leo Ornstein ((1895-2002) was recognized as a prodigy at an early age. His family emigrated to the USA in 1906 to escape pogroms. After giving up concert performances in his early thirties, Ornstein devoted himself to composition and teaching. His virtuosic music combines a unique use of surprising dissonances combined with melodies described as having a “Hebraic tint.”

Nina Gordon is Professor of Cello at Illinois Wesleyan University. Dina Namer is Continuing Adjunct Lecturer in Piano and Chamber Music at Queen’s University, Kingston. Both performers are familiar to Ottawa audiences. Dina and Nina perform regularly at Temple Israel’s High Holiday services.

This eclectic programme promises a fascinating journey through many cultures and musical styles.

Concert Series

All performances start at 2pm.

Ticket entitles the holder to attend all five performances in the seating areas associated with the subscription type chosen (see below).   All tickets are transferrable with 24 hours advance notice of the performance.

Past Concerts

"Cellobration" concert
On Wings of Song
The Ancient Law
Forbidden and Forgotten Concert
Homage concert
Boy Wonders
Jewish Life concert
Bulletin, May-June, 2017
The Yellow Ticket
Beethoven Concert