Next weekend, award-winning jazz pianist Tamir Hendelman will perform alongside Penfield students in a pair of special concerts.
Hendelman, who has roots in Rochester, has performed worldwide with his own trio and other big acts. He began his keyboard training at the age of 6, and moved to the U.S. from Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1984.
At age 14 he won top honors at Yamaha’s National Keyboard Competition and went on to study at the Tanglewood Institute in 1988. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music, in 1993.
Penfield Music Department Chairman Jim Doser met Hendelman while directing the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble. He was struck by the pianist’s talent immediately.
“(Hendelman’s) personality and his musicianship are very much the same, and that is very unassuming and polite, but with a whole lot of energy under the surface,” said Doser.
Hendelman will perform with all district jazz groups in two concerts Feb. 1-2 and will be working with students at workshops during the week.
Friday’s concert will feature the Bay Trail jazz ensembles, PHS jazz democracy, jazz factory and jazz choir. Saturday’s concert will include the PHS studio orchestra, jazz ensemble, and piano ensemble, with new musical arrangements tailored to students to play with the artist.
Doser said that getting hands-on training from a real professional musician has many benefits for students.
“It would be the same as the basketball team having Michael Jordan come in and do a clinic,” said Doser. “Just being around excellence at that level has a tremendous impact on students of all ages.”