We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Bernstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
We started the Pasadena Master Chorale in early 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis, and we had three things in our favor. 1) Choral music is fairly low overhead among the performing arts, 2) in difficult times people need the arts, and 3) if we could make a go of it for the first couple of years things would only improve! Now we find ourselves silenced by the coronavirus pandemic, and it reminds me a bit of the climate in which we got our start 12 years ago.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Singing together is a profoundly human activity, and there limitless ways to do it. The choral sound I have in my head, that I strive to achieve with PMC is a blended sound, a sound in which no one voice predominates. To me, that kind of sound is community made audible, and it’s incredibly moving. It’s also something that can’t be created remotely, digitally, or socially distanced. The sound of a blended choir live in the room is potent and inimitable, and it’s a hallmark of PMC’s brand.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
LA’s natural environment is a great treasure, and I love being outdoors, so we’d make a tour of great natural sights including Joshua Tree, the Angeles National Forest, Griffith Park and the Observatory, Catalina Island, and the Santa Monica mountains. Assuming this visit isn’t taking place during COVID, we’d obviously have lots of cultural sites to take in. The Hollywood Bowl and the Disney Concert Hall, the LA Philharmonic and the Pasadena Playhouse, the Huntington Library, Norton Simon Museum, LACMA. My eating and drinking recommendations skew east side, but I wouldn’t want to miss out on The Raymond, Union or The Blind Donkey (Pasadena), CaCao Mexicatessen (Eagle Rock), or the San Antonio Winery.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The Pasadena Playhouse and its artistic director Danny Feldman. They create stunning theatrical experiences and have built a terrific digital platform during the pandemic.