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Usher in the new Millennium with Danny Maseng and friends. The most beautiful inspirational songs and music from two thousand years of Jewish and world traditions. Songs of peace, joy and harmony.

Soul On Fire, a new theatrical concert of other-worldly and magical quality, is a journey of aesthetic and spiritual beauty; an exciting blend of uplifting, meditative, ecstatic, and soul stirring songs.

- Danny

Listen • Cast • GuideNarrative

Danny Maseng
Lead Vocals, Guitar, Composing & Arranging

Danny Maseng was born and raised in Israel to American parents. He first came to the United States in 1971 when he starred on Broadway in ‘Only Fools Are Sad.' A playwright and actor, Danny has served as Artistic Director of
Genesis Theatre, in Minneapolis, and as Evaluator of New American Plays and Opera-Musical Theatre for the National Endowment For The Arts. Danny has just been appointed Director of the Spielberg Fellowships for Theatre Education in Jewish Camps.

Danny has guest-starred on TV's 'Law And Order', 'One Life To Live', and the premiere of 'Prince Street'. He is the voice behind many shows, including 'Wild Discovery', and 'The Life Of Muhammad Ali', and has recently filmed an episode of NBC's new show: ‘Law And Order, Special Victims' Unit'.

Danny is the creator of the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway musical, ‘Wasting Time With Harry Davidowitz'-- The Musical Journey Of A Jewish Soul'. His newest play, "Terra Infirma", based on the book by Rodger Kamenetz, author of ‘The Jew In The Lotus', was just featured in the Faulkner Festival in New Orleans. The year-round director of Theatre Arts programming and Jewish Arts for Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute in Wisconsin, Danny chairs Hava Nashira, the UAHC's national workshop for Songleaders.

A teacher and Lay Rabbi, Danny is the spiritual leader of the Reform Congregation Agudath Achim in Livingston Manor, New York, and has seen the congregation more than double its size in the four years he has served the community. Danny has been teaching Jewish Mysticism in New York for the past 5 years. A much sought-after Scholar- In- Residence, Danny is a frequent faculty member of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, and many other national institutes, synagogues and conferences.

As composer and singer, Danny has recorded over 10 albums. He is the guest vocalist for the Minnesota Klezmer Band, and has released his own collection,"Songs For The Sabbath", as well as "On Silver Wings", and a recording of ‘Wasting Time With Harry Davidowitz'. Danny is currently preparing the album for his new musical "Let There Be Light", as well as "The Soft End Of Your Hand", a collection of new original songs for Israel.

Jennifer Frost
Vocals

Cantor Jennifer Frost, born in Chicago, was raised in Calabasas, California. Her first memories of music in the synagogue include going to synagogue with her grandfather and listening to him sing in the choir. Subsequently, she herself joined the choir at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles and continued fostering her love of Jewish music under the direction of Cantor Nathan Lam. Following her studies at the University of California at Irvine, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama, Jennifer attended HUC-JIR where she received her Masters Degree in Sacred Music and Cantorial Investiture. Cantor Frost is currently the assistant cantor of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City.

Jordan Franzel
Vocals and Guitars

Cantor Jordan S. Franzel received his Master of Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion - School of Sacred Music and was invested as a Cantor in 1996. He is currently the Cantor of Central Synagogue in New York City. Prior to his pulpit in the city, Jordan Franzel was the Cantor of the Touro Synagogue in New Orleans, Louisiana from 1996 -1998. In addition to being a new faculty member of Hava Nashira, a five day Jewish Music retreat at Olin Sang Ruby Institute, Cantor Franzel teaches at the UAHC Kallah at Brandeis University (now in Rhode Island). He has written for Torat Chayim the weekly UAHC Torah fax and has served on the editorial board for the new Union Songbook, Shireinu, and the chordster. Cantor Franzel is a member of the American Conference of Cantors.

Jessica Steinman
Vocals

Jessica Steinman, originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, is currently a freshman voice student at New York University. Along with many stage productions back in Minnesota, as a singer and as an actor, Jessica was also a song leader for Mount Zion Temple, in St. Paul. She would like to thank Danny for this great opportunity and the beautiful music.

Eric Friedman
Vocals

Eric J. Friedman is a Manhattan transplant from Studio City, California. Inspired at an early age by Cantor Allan Michelson and Rabbi Moshe J. Rothblum of Adat Ari El in North Hollywood, he was encouraged to study both Chazzanot and musical theater. Continually striving to integrate both worlds, he has pursued a professional performing arts career that includes contracted Cantorial services. He booked his first professional gig working with Marvin Hamlisch singing on the soundtrack for the film Ordinary People. Some theater credits include The Rothschilds (Kalman), directed by Richard Edelman, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Lysander), directed by Dean Devlin, Two by Two (Ham) and The Baby Dance (Ron Davis). On television, Eric has appeared on "thirtysomething" and "Totally Hidden Video". He received a BA in Theatre from UCLA and is thankful to Craig Taubman for introducing him to Danny Maseng and his beautiful music.

Angela Warnick Buchdahl
Vocals and Flute

Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl has been involved in Jewish music since the age of 14, when she became the music teacher for her small congregation in Tacoma, Washington. Since then, her involvement in Jewish music has taken her from Singapore, where she led High Holiday services, to Carnegie Hall, where she sang with Debbie Friedman, to her work here with Soul on Fire. Cantor Buchdahl received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale University. As an undergraduate, Cantor Buchdahl led the Reform Havurah on campus, sang in an a capella group and was a featured performer at Yale's National Women's Conference. Currently, Cantor Buchdahl is pursuing a rabbinical degree at Hebrew Union College and expects ordination in May 2001. She works as Assistant Cantor at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York, and resides in Harrison, New York with her husband Jacob Buchdahl.


The Musicians

Peter Wetzler
Keyboards

Peter Wetzler is an award winning composer-musician-music director, scoring for film and television with a uniquely diverse musical background. While classically trained in piano, Peter was guest soloist with symphonies at an early age and studied conducting and composition at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. From Europe he moved into jazz and non-western music, having played in gamelon and avant garde ensembles, while writing music for choreographers such as Bill T Jones and Susan Marshall and touring Europe and North America with Laura Dean. The strong rhythmic drive of his music blended with the raw experimental influence of the "downtown" New York City music scene has made his style much sought after for unique film and television scoring ranging from animation and films featured at MOMA and PBS Great Performances to National Geographic's permanent multimedia installation in Washington DC. Wetzler's Company, Sound Forms Inc. is dedicated to pioneering new sound and exploring its relationship to moving image while honoring the wisdom and beauty of current and past cultures.

Gary Raynor
Double Bass

Gary Raynor has played with Sammy Davis, Jr., The Count Basie Band, Herb Ellis, and others. As a first-call show player, Gary has performed in many Broadway touring shows, as well as the world premier of ‘The Lion King'. His arco Bass is featured on Janet Jackson's single, ‘Again', which was nominated both for a Grammy and an Academy Award. Gary has recorded three albums as a member of the Minnesota Klezmer Band, performing extensively with the group and appearing at the International Klezmer Festival in Safed, Israel, last summer. Gary is a member of the faculties of the University of Minnesota and
Music Tech in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Yuri Merzhevsky
Violin

Yuri Merzhevsky was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1984, Yuri won a prize in the international Johan Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig, Germany. In 1986, Yuri received the equivalent of a Ph.D. from the Leningrad Conservatory of Music, where he subsequently served as Professor of Violin. Yuri served as Concertmaster for several orchestras, including the Leningrad Conservatory Orchestra and the Hermitage Orchestra. Yuri has made numerous appearances as guest soloist with many orchestras, including the Leningrad Philharmonic. Yuri has recorded three albums as a member of the Minnesota Klezmer Band, and, together with Gary Raynor and Danny Maseng, appeared last summer at the International Klezmer Festival in Safed, Israel.

Benny Koonyevsky
Percussions

Israeli-born Percussionist Benny Koonyevsky specializes in Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and Middle Eastern rhythms. Benny started playing drums at the age of 6 and went on to become a member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, while in service with the Israeli Army band. He subsequently performed with the IPO under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Sir George Solti, Kurt Mazur, and Zubin Mehta, among others. In 1986 Benny won the Francoise Shapira Competition, the most prestigious award for music in Israel. Benny was the first percussionist to participate in this competition and his win resulted in a solo Concerto with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as well as solo Recital in the house of the Israeli President. At age 23 Benny moved to New York and received a BA in Music from The Manhattan School of Music and his Masters degree from Juliard. Benny's wide-ranging repertoire in world music has landed him performances with some of the top artists in Israel and the USA. In Israel he toured and recorded with Yehuda Poliker, Yehudit Ravitz, Shalom Chanoch and more. In the US his recording credits include a variety of artists such as: Gloria Estefan, Vanessa Williams, Donald Fagen, Debbie friedman, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, from Turkey, Dlaras, from Greece, and many more.

Listen • Cast • GuideNarrative




Commissions | Workshop Info | Upcoming Performances | Booking Info
BUY CDs and Sheet Music
| Press Clippings | Poetry | Links | Biography | E-mail