• Ilona Oltuski

Orli Shaham's Bach Yard


With the participation of young “performers,” from the center’s own Special Music School, and Carnegie Hall’s educational outreach Ensemble Connect, the show also potentially attracts newcomers to the center’s diverse educational programs, like its Special Music School or the Lucy Moses School afternoon programs.

Recently named NPR’s From the Top talent show host, Shaham offers a strong presence as an accomplished international concert pianist, which she combines adequately with her

extensive experience as an educator and her personal one, as a mother. Shaham also took the opportunity to personally connect with the kids, sharing that she was born in Jerusalem and only later became a New Yorker.

With great authority, she leads kids’ attention – and recognizing the lack thereof – with ample story time interactions, were kids are encouraged to move along with the storyline’s musical characters. A train ride that stops and has the kids stand up, following their musical’s station’s characteristic movements, to partake in a fiesta, a carousel ride and a marching band, inspire kids to actively identify music’s components, moods and tempi.

Incidentally, not all musical works – as the title may suggest – featured works by Bach. While Sunday’s show had kids immersed into works by Bach and Mozart, it also incorporated contemporary works by Avner Dorman, Arthur Honegger and Beata Moon.


Directing kids throughout the different activity stations, the concert had started a little late but had a largely uninterrupted flow. Once, when things got a little lo

Only at the end, when all kids got invited to join Special Music School kids for a “performance” on stage, did it become clear that not all parents’ ambitions were limited to a wholesome afternoon of musical exploration. Ambitiously heaving their kids onto the stage, parents got excited about their kids’ exposure to yet another ingredient of the world of music, the attraction to a little bit of the stage’s star dust.

Shaham’s next Bach Yard at Merkin Hall, Spring Strings, will focus on the family of string instruments.

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