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Brooklyn Suites

Renowned American operatic tenor, Zachary Wilder is the descendant of a large family of Jewish immigrants, musicians who fled their small Lithuanian shtetl of Panevezys to escape the persecution of the brutal pogroms in the late 19th Century. Emigrating to America, the Steinfelds settled and flourished in their new home of Brooklyn.

It is now the early 20th Century and Zachary’s great, great uncles Leo and Willy wander into the parlor from the kitchen as the dinner dishes are being washed. Leo and Willy sit down at the piano to summon up the intro to a four handed arrangement of Beethoven’s Eroica. As the rest of the family gathers around with their instruments of guitars, woodwinds and strings, the evening evolves into a dizzyingly varied repertoire of Yiddish operetta, chamber music, Gershwin, Berlin, tin pan alley and musical theater tunes.

This is the foundation from which Mr. Wilder imagines and creates his new album project, “The Brooklyn Suites”.

“This album came to me as a dream,” Wilder says, “as an imaginary evening with my family and ancestors”. The repertoire is the result of first-hand accounts by cousins who attended these evenings, traversing decades of music from Jewish traditional to Mozart and Schubert to contemporary songs written by Leonard Bernstein, Gershwin, Sammy Cahn, Mitch Leigh and Zachary’s father, Matthew Wilder. Mr. Wilder illustrates the variety of the important contribution that Eastern European and German Jewish immigrants, along with their children brought to the American Sound.

Mr. Wilder is planning his world-wide tour of this extraordinary event with a jazz quartet and orchestra in the 2025/2026 seasons.

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