A Holiday ABC: Ariel Quartet, Babka, and Chanukah

December 12, 2020, 3:22 PM · Three of my favorite things will unite Sunday, December 13 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time: The Ariel Quartet, Chanukah, and Chocolate Babka. Packaged as a "delicious and musical interactive livestream," the concert/bake-off is free and will be presented from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, where the group is Faculty Quartet-in-Residence.

Although Chanukah celebrations in my home have certainly toned down since the days when children were underfoot spinning dreidels, it remains one of the most beautiful and meaningful times of the year for me. The simplicity, yet profundity, of the candle lighting is a tradition that I have fully and enthusiastically adopted. I was moved to read the Ariel Quartet’s take on the holiday, which is that Chanukah "encourages each of us to find a way to radiate light into the world."

Ariel Quartet
The Ariel Quartet. Photo by Marco Borggreve.

The formidable foursome is comprised of violinists Alexandra Kazovsky and Gershon Gerchikov, violist Jan Grüning, and cellist Amit Even-Tov. They have performed the complete Beethoven cycle five times over the past five years and in Sunday’s concert, we’ll get to hear a selected work — the famous Quartet in G major, Op. 18, No. 2. I’m eager to hear their rendition of this classic, but I’m probably even more excited to hear Erwin Schulhoff’s String Quartet No. 1 and Steve Cohen’s A Klezmer Nutcracker.

While Grüning is the newest member of the group, joining in 2011, the other three musicians have been together since they were students at the Jerusalem Academy Middle School of Music and Dance. Since their inception, they have garnered a lengthy list of awards, including the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, granted by Chamber Music America, Grand Prize at the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the Székely Prize for the performance of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4, and Third Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

Almost as impressive as their numerous awards and accolades are the photos of their baking prowess.

Ariel baked items

As cellist Even-Tov writes, "In our sound you can hear that we have been friends for a very long time. Our bake-off promises to show another, much sillier side of our friendship. We hope you’ll share in this fun with us."

I, for one, intend to and I hope you’ll join me.

Sign up at here for the livestream event produced by OurConcerts.live.


December 13, 2020 at 10:37 PM · I love the combination! Music, Babka and Chanukah! Three of my favorites also (These are a few of my favorite things...)! Unfortunately I didn't read this until after 5pm on Sunday and missed the concert! However, I signed up for future events with the Ariel Quartet and read that I will be able to see this concert using Apple TV so I'm looking forward to it! And I've forwarded the recipes to my wife - they look delicious! So Diana, reading this is a wonderful Chanukah present! Thank you and Happy Chanukah!

December 13, 2020 at 11:15 PM · Joe, The concert was wonderful and the baked goods looked divine! (The violist is hilarious!) You will enjoy the entire event. And don't miss the Klezmer Nutcracker!

December 16, 2020 at 02:45 AM · I was so happy to watch and hear the Ariel Quartet, and appreciate your letting us know about it. If there’s one silver lining during this pandemic, it’s that we know baking can be an integral part of a concert. I understand that Joshua Bell knows how to juggle (I may be wrong). In our post-Covid world, can we hope for extra entertainment between numbers? Besides juggling, perhaps a musician who’s also a magician. I’ll bet these hobbies even make them better musicians.

December 16, 2020 at 05:29 AM · Joe, what link(s) did you click on to find the recipes? I also am sad I didn't know about the concert in time. I was telling my husband the other night about the Mashuga Nutcracker that I saw live many years ago.

December 16, 2020 at 03:05 PM · Francesca: You can still use the link in the article above to access the concert. They are allowing people to view it following the livestream! And you'll see the link to the recipes there. But here is a separate link to the recipes (I believe):


Paul: What a wonderful comment! Yes, who knew about all these hidden talents! (And the juggling idea is most intriguing!!!)

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