In a career that included touring with Madonna for two years and playing with musicians and symphony orchestras around the world, for violinist Arkadiy Gips, playing klezmer and Yiddish music holds special consideration.
“What I do with klezmer groups, with Yiddish, to me it is the most enjoyable and most important,” Gips said.
Gips, a Columbus resident who emigrated from Ukraine in 1994, will demonstrate such skill at the Columbus Jewish Arts & Music Festival’s “Arkadiy Gips: My Yiddishe Friends” at 4 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Jewish Community Center for Greater Columbus. He will play with musicians Svetlana Portnyansky, Alexander Gounko and Ernest Shteinberg in the concert, which is part of a Columbus Jewish Arts Center series.
As one of few musicians who specialize in Yiddish music in Columbus, Gips said it’s incumbent on him to make sure there are many opportunities for local people to hear it. He said he also enjoys playing Yiddish music because it includes qualities from many different cultures Jewish people have traveled to throughout history.
“I’d like to introduce this type of music because a lot of people know this music, but not many musicians want to play this kind of music,” he said. “Because you know for me, it is my heritage. It’s come down from my grandma and it’s a lot of good music actually.”
Although Gips is a member of Temple Israel in Columbus, he’s likely been recognized playing music at synagogues across Central Ohio. He said he also plays piano, guitar and other instruments, but mostly just to aid his violin arrangements.
“In my opinion, you have to do only one instrument good – all the instruments you can (play) just help understand how music will sound,” he said.
Gips said at the concert, the group will play a diverse mix of songs with Jewish, Latin and Hebrew styles incorporated. He said the performance will include “the best and most recognizable Jewish songs.” Moreover, this concert fits in with many of his performances in that he tries to bring in different musicians and singers from around the country to play with him.
“I think it will be a huge celebration of Jewish music for Columbus,” he said.