Janice Martin - A Gershwin Fantasy
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Janice Martin - A Gershwin Fantasy

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Classical Broadway


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The best kept secret in music


I’ve been reviewing theatre for almost three years now for www.talkentertainment.com and I’m always looking to discover someone who I think has the talent to become a star. This past Saturday at the Hilton Hotel I did.
The press release for Janice Martin’s show “A Gershwin Fantasy” reads: “A world class concert violinist, pianist, opera singer who does comedy, dance, gymnastics, trapeze, pop singing, martial arts and plays many other instruments such as guitar and trumpet. She is also an expert marksman with a rifle.” As a reviewer I thought twice about all this. Especially the “expert marksman” business. What if I didn’t like her, would she track me down? How could a woman possess so many talents and be an unknown entity that didn’t ring any bells whatsoever.
So, at the invitation of Robert Blume, I traipsed off to the Hilton Hotel this past Saturday afternoon just as the flakes began to fall to what I thought would be a 45 minute segment of the 90 minute full course concert of “A Gershwin Fantasy”. Little did I know that it was part of a huge convention of the Association of Arts Presenters and Producers - where all kinds of acts are seen to be sold and booked across America and beyond. Somewhat like auditions for “America’s Got Talent”.
In the Beekman Parlor I sat while the fifteen members of the Gershwin Showcase Orchestra settled in. No trapeze in sight. The conductor, Anthony LaGruth lifted his baton and began a thrilling Gershwin overture that sounded great. What followed is how I discovered a rising new star - Janice Martin.
She is blonde, petite and confidant. She started with the violin. Very good. Played the piano. Very very good. Then started singing “Summertime”. I was swept away by the sheer beauty and power of her voice. Where was it coming from? Starting out legit she then jazzed it up. What a terrific arrangement. She continued to wow the audience. An amazing vocal of “The Man I Love” segued into her playing the violin which takes the song into some high Celtic magical place and comes back again to Ira’s great lyric. Another fresh and exciting arrangement - courtesy of Bob Goldstone and David Bixler.
Her range is incredible. When she sits down quietly with her guitar to sing “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” you will be entranced, get a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye. Checking my notes, I wrote “It doesn’t get much better than this.” Janice Martin does not need a trapeze or a shotgun. She has what it takes to be a star without them.
Changing tone midway through she does a duet with herself dressed in a very clever two sided costume. She sings “”Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” as a sophisticated snobbish opera singer and a street wise cracker (exploring her Tracy Ullman inner child). It is unexpectedly hysterical.
All of this is surpassed by her passionate rendition of “Rhapsody in Blue” where all three talents shine through like lasers and get the audience standing to praise her performance. Have I made myself clear? Have I mentioned Janice Martin’s name enough times for you to remember it? Will you be anticipating her appearances? You can start with her web site -
www.janicemartin.com. Just remember, I told you so.

- www.oscaremoore.com

"Janice Martin is a violinist with a strong personality...and the dignity of her playing established her credentials. She made the frolicsomeness of John Corigliano’s Sonata fun...She was splendid, too, in Brahms' G Major Sonata, which gained from the dark, rich-textured tone." - Paul Griffiths, The New York Times

""The only American onstage was the brilliant young violinist Janice Martin, who soloed in Haydn's Violin Concerto in C. She coordinated smoothly with the [European Union Chamber] orchestra, spinning out Haydn's lilting melodies and generating technical fireworks in her cadenzas. A high point was the slow movement, an excursion into pure instrumental song with the lightest possible accompaniment from the orchestra."
- Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post

"Janice Martin is a stunning talent ... this is playing of incisive drive, style and lyricism, crystal clear with dead-center intonation." - James Roos, The Miami Herald

"A chamber musician of consummate elegance..." - Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post

"Janice Martin performed a dazzling violin solo ... As a winner of numerous music competitions and soloist with a number of high-profile symphonies, Martin knows how to handle performance pressure ... If the audience’s applause was any indication, Martin’s message came through loud and clear!" - Janet Howells-Tierney, The Pentagram

“A love of music seems to be at the heart of Ms. Martin’s playing; it effortlessly engulfs and captivates her audiences. [Her] lifelong passion for music brought a...crowd of hundreds to its feet.” - Joseph Scolaro, The Journal Times
"For the [Dvorak] Violin Concerto in D, the [Pilsen Philharmonic] orchestra was joined by American violinist Janice Martin, who exuded a warm, responsive sound from her 1708 Stradivarius." - Michael Huebner, Birmingham News, 2/23/04

"Janice Martin is a superlative artist. Her debut Australian recital was such that perfection was never in question: a silvery tone, liquid facility, and a natural musicianship whose feeling is as effortless as it is refined. Her sound is warm, firm, and bright, sometimes magically soft. Bold and impassioned playing is reserved for big moments that are all the more effective for their rarity." - Christopher Lyndon-Gee, The Canberra Times, Canberra, Australia

“Splendid lyricism ... poignant ... Martin played [the Corigliano Sonata] with an easy confidence ... [she] tapped the emotional capital built up [in the Brahms G Major Sonata] ...very Brahmsian.” - Pierre Ruhe, The Washington Post

"Martin made the unrelenting double stops of Ysaÿe's unaccompanied Sonata No. 3 a blazing showcase." - Ronald Broun, The Washington Post

“Another highlight was the gorgeous ... and emotional sweep of violinist Janice Martin.” - Florence Fisher, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"The highlight of the concert was the supreme sound of Martin with her 1708 Stradivarius violin. She gracefully managed Ernest Chausson's Poeme for Violin & Orchestra, Opus 25 (1896) with impeccable tone and technique. Martin then played the livelier Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso of Camille Saint-Saëns with the same precision and authority." - Tim Thompson, Palm Beach Daily News - Various


Still working on that hot first release.



In “A Gershwin Fantasy” the music of Gershwin is portrayed through a fantasy of different characters and genres played by multi-talented Janice Martin. In the course of the evening, Janice sings, dances modern and aerial dance (aerial hoop and trapeze included in Aerial show only), performs multiple costume changes all of which support her performance of different instruments including acoustic violin, electric violin, piano, guitar, and Erhu, all accompanied by a talented band.