Lifting the Spirits
A benefit concert for the Kitezh Children's Community -
'... Berkofsky tailors the accompaniments with demonstrable taste and empathy.'
When this somewhat odd release arrived in my mailbox I was impelled to discover how it came about. This is what I found.
Though second tier American/Belorussian pianist, cancer survivor and 'ham' radio veteran, Martin Berkofsky  has an impressive musical pedigree and has garnered glowing critical praise for performances of Bruch, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Hovhaness, he is best known for his dedication to a variety of charitable causes.
In 1965, after advanced piano studies and early critical successes, Berkofsky bagged many awards. He lived in Paris for some time and then in Iceland. After Iceland, before settling in Virginia, USA, Berkofsky relocated to Izmir, Turkey, teaching at the Izmir State Conservatory.
Without warning however, destiny intervened. In 1982 he suffered a motorcycle accident so severe that doctors believed his injuries would prevent him from ever performing again.
During a four-month hospital stay -- and a resolute but unexpected recovery -- Berkofsky decided to recast his life and career, leaving the commercial and political music world to dedicate his restored abilities for the benefit of others. Consequently he established the Cristofori Foundation as a vehicle to aid and support charitable and cultural causes through music.
In 2003, during a 880 mile 'Celebrate Life Run' from Tulsa (OK) to Zion (IL) he raised US$ 80,690 for the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation.
Copyright © 25 June 2007
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand