Passion and emotion in klezmer music
Gould brings clarinet talents to Biola’s Crowell Hall. | Caitlin Blackmon/THE CHIMES
Music acts as an important aspect of unity and connectedness, something the Biola community emphasizes, including through their Music at Noon concerts.
a specialist in in klezmer music
This week’s guest musician was Gary Gould, a clarinetist specializing in klezmer music, which blends various geographic and cultural sources into a single form of music. It originated in Eastern Europe and traveled to America with the Jewish immigrants who embraced it. Through each song, klezmer music attempts to improvise the melodies to reveal an overall mood and soul.
On Wednesday, Gould’s music did just what he wanted it to: bring out emotions in his audience.
“My shows are upbeat and fun,” Gould said before his concert. “It’s really about you, the audience, and what’s going on in your mind, with your memories, and frankly, those are my favorite kind of gigs to play.”
Not only can Gould play the clarinet and penny whistle, which were his two featured instruments in Wednesday’s concert, he can also play dozens of others.
“I play the saxophone, the saxophone family: soprano, alto, c melody, etc.” Gould said. “I also play the flute, and the wooden flute called the bansuri, a bamboo flute from India.”
In Gould’s fourth song of the concert, he played Bei Mir Bist Du Shein, a klezmer melody performed by the Andrews Sisters from a Yiddish theatre. Gould played the penny whistle to engage the audience, who quickly grew cheerful at the high pitched sound of the instrument.
Though his young audience enjoyed his music, Gould said he enjoys performing in front of older audiences because of how much music they have probably experienced throughout their lives, which he can help bring back.
fulfilling his longing for happiness in life.
“These people have more memory than anybody,” Gould said. “And if you can hit a melody or play a song that means something to them, or if you could just release some memories and feelings by playing great music to an audience like that, to me that is the whole purpose of being a musician.”
Gould had not always worked as an entertainer. In college, he majored in advertising and now in addition to playing instruments professionally, he works with his own advertising company.
Even though he found a passion in the advertising and graphic design fields, Gould was not able to fulfill his longing for happiness in life.
“To be honest with you the people that I was working with in the advertising agencies did not seem like happy people,” Gould said. “I am very much focused on finding happiness and fulfillment in life, and I was not finding it with the people that I was working with.”
However, Gould managed to find his fulfillment through his music, which is why he strives to share it with people and help provide some fulfillment to those who listen.
“The whole time [I worked in advertising], I was also playing saxophone,” Gould said. “I was doing gigs and playing for special events, and I found that work to be very gratifying. I hooked up with a couple of entertainment agencies that booked me and kept me pretty busy, so I prefered that, although I still do both.”
He aims to have his songs bring out emotions within his audiences, so that they can feel the power of the music in their hearts as he does when he plays each melody.
“The material that I play is really all about you, because who knows what effect this music will have on you and your life,” Gould said. “Maybe it will make you cry, maybe it will make you change directions and maybe it will make you ask questions and wonder about things. The music is outside of me and we are all sharing it together.”