EASTSIDE SINFONIETTA (1998-2003)
Left to Right: Joe Berardi-Keys and Vibes, Jason Payne-Drums, Weba Garretson-Vocals, Ralph Gorodtsky-Bass
Eastside Sinfonietta was a special project that all started when David Catanzarite, director of the West Coast Centennial Celebration for playwright Bertolt Brecht, asked me to sing some songs for his production of “Brecht on Brecht” at the Downtown Public Library on Feb 10, 1998 (Brecht’s 100th Birthday). I was already writing and recording with bassist Ralph Gorodetsky and we invited Jason Payne to play drums but quickly realized that we needed a keyboard player.
We decided to call Joe Berardi, another drummer and amazing musician, who ended up playing keyboards, and becoming the Sinfonietta’s musical director and producer.
From that first gig, the Sinfonietta went on to perform at the Goethe-Institute (Los Angeles, CA), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) (Los Angeles), the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles), the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), Pomona College (Claremont, CA) and the LA City Library in Downtown LA
The Sinfonietta’s work culminated in a production of “Happy End” at MOCA for the Kurt Weill Centennial. “Happy End” was Brecht/Weill’s follow up to their smash hit “Three Penny Opera” and contains some their greatest songs including Surabaya Johnny. This production was supposed to feature the orchestrations developed by the Sinfonietta over the past 2 years, but the Kurt Weill Foundation would not give us permission to alter the arrangements within the context of a musical, so we hired extra musicians and played it by the book.