English Symphony Orchestra Art of Storytelling project continues as Henry Goodman narrates Lubin, from Chelm

29 Nov, 2020


Henry Goodman

Following on from the successful launch of their new series of virtual storytelling concerts with the premiere of Kenneth Woods’s The Ugly Duckling narrated by Hugh Bonneville, the ESO are thrilled to welcome Henry Goodman who narrates David Yang’s hilarious Klezmer-inspired work, Lubin, from Chelm. The new orchestral version of Yang’s 2010 composition (orchestrated by Kenneth Woods) premieres on ESO Digital at 6PM on Friday the 4th of December. The video includes performance footage of Goodman and the ESO alongside pencil drawings by Canadian artist Alisa Snyder.


Henry Goodman has long been one of the most admired and accomplished British actors of his generation, equally at home on the stage, in film and on television, as well as being a highly sought-after voice actor. As a leading Shakespearean, he is a renowned interpreter of the title role in Richard III and of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. His Awards include Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical playing Charles Guiteau in Assassins at the Donmar Warehouse directed by Sam Mendes in 1993), Olivier Award for Best Actor for Shylock in The Merchant of Venice at the National Theatre directed by Trevor Nunn in 2000. He has also been nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Chicago), London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Best Actor (The Merchant of Venice), Theatre Awards UK for Best Performance in a Play (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui). Of Jewish descent, Goodman won universal praise in the iconic tole of Tevye in Trevon Nunn’s revival of Fiddler on the Roof.

Chinese-Jewish-American composer and violist David Yang is the founder of the Philadelphia based musical storytelling troupe Auricolae, whose most recent recording was a “Auricole: The Double Album” for Avie Records. Lubin, from Chelm is one of five works in Yang’s “Chelm” series, which have drawn universal acclaim for their distinctive humour and virtuosic Klezmer stylings. Yang is Director of Chamber Music at the University of Pennsylvania, and Artistic Director of the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival.

Yang and conductor Kenneth Woods were long-time colleagues as violist and cellist in the string trio Ensemble Epomeo, and so it was natural that Yang entrusted Woods with the orchestration of Lubin. “I’ve probably played the original duo version of Lubin over 100 times,” says Woods. “Orchestrating it was just a joy. David’s music, and his use of language, are so clever that it’s actually quite easy to expand a piece that is originally just two voices into something much more elaborate. There’s just so much to work with in it.”


One of Alisa Snyder’s whimsical illustrations for Lubin

Illustrator Alisa Snyder was born in Providence, Rhode Island but she has lived most of her life in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Landscape and still life are the primary subjects of her painting, and central to her work is an emotional response to nature. “A love of music has always been a part of my life and practice as a visual artist,” says Snyder, “and illustrating David Yang’s score and story was a special pleasure.

Response to the launch of The Art of Storytelling project have been universally enthusiastic, with Arcana.FM’s Richard Whitehouse writing of The Ugly Duckling that “ there could hardly be a more sympathetic narrator than Hugh Bonneville, who relates the story with thoughtfulness and compassion. He is aided in this by illustrations from Wanda Sobieska as (rightly) suggest a setting far removed from comfortable domesticity…Woods’s score ably sustains itself over the 18-minute whole….The ESO musicians… play with their customary verve and finesse, and this whole production should prove congenial for children and adults alike. As usual with ESO, a range of supporting material helps enhance the total experience.”

Future instalments in the series include contributions from Davood Ghadami, who narrates “The Warrior Violinist” by Jay Reise, a re-working of one of the world’s oldest folk tales, believed to have its origins over 6000 years ago in Egypt. Henry Goodman also returns to narrate Tom Kraines’s setting of the Brothers Grimm classic, Hansel and Gretel.


For further press information please contact eso@eso.co.uk