Concert begins at 8:00pm, Workshop at 6:30
Scattered across Sullivan and Ulster counties, New York, are the physical remains of the Borscht Belt. Structures of various sizes and diverse forms lie vacant, abandoned. Overcome by entropy and engulfed by their natural surroundings, these former resorts, hotels, and bungalow colonies are now decaying in a disused landscape, casting a gray shadow over a vibrant past.
For some people, these structures signify economic stagnation and cultural loss. For others, these former vacation destinations are eyesores, blights upon the land. Manicured compounds have been pillaged. Their lobbies, once elaborate, are adorned with graffiti, their foundations cracked and buckling. Insulation plunges from ceilings, moss cultivates the carpets, and swimming pools have become shallow ponds tinted green with algae. But to me, these discarded places are artifacts of time, evidence of change, and settings of intrigue.
The remains of the Borscht Belt evoke something great that is no longer.
—Marisa Scheinfeld (photographer)
The Solomon Diaries is a set of new music inspired by the dramatic rise and fall of the Borscht Belt, the colloquial name for the primarily Jewish resort community of the Catskills that helped to shape 20th century American culture. The current day remains of the region’s vanished communities are beautifully captured in photographs by Marisa Scheinfeld in her book The Borscht Belt, which provided the initial inspiration for Sadigursky’s pieces. Although many of these photographs may appear solemn and melancholic at first glance, they also lead Sadigursky to vivid imaginings of the life and vitality that existed in the region’s heyday, as well as deep contemplations of the passing of time, the ephemeral nature of culture and community, and 20th century Jewish assimilation in America.
The resulting music intimately fuses sounds of Jewish spiritual and Klezmer music along with classical influences, middle-eastern rhythms, jazz improvisation, and tinges of Americana.
Sam Sadigursky – clarinets
Nathan Koci – accordion