Winter Park / Live Music: Yaniv Salzberg: ‘The future is wide open’ |

Winter Park / Live Music: Yaniv Salzberg: ‘The future is wide open’

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Seven p.m. Friday night. The stage lights at the Grand Theatre Company shine on local guitarist Yaniv Salzberg portraying James Taylor during a tribute play. The shy musician seldom lifts his eyes to the audience, but if he did, he’d see pure, unadulterated admiration. Some audience members tear up because he’s touched their hearts ” just to see the multi-instrumentalist perform can have that effect on you.

Nine p.m. the same night, Salzberg is running late for his next gig with electrified bluegrass band Hunker Down. Once he arrives and settles into their sound, he grins ear-to-ear while he and the band jam for audiences at the Winter Park Pub.

Considering all his ventures, it’s easy to see that Salzberg is going places. During recent years, he’s had the opportunity to work primarily as a professional musician (playing acoustic folk and more) with too many bands to name and at almost every venue in the Fraser Valley. When he’s not on stage, his time is spent teaching private music lessons and he has served on the volunteer board for the Grand County Blues Society.

The Jerusalem-born musician who grew up in Colorado from age 3, has a professional certificate in studio production from the Berklee School of Music.

And even though it seemed that Yaniv woven inextricably into the fabric of Grand County, we couldn’t keep him here forever.

It was just a matter of time before his journey took him somewhere else.

His next adventure will take him far away from the friends and fans he’s made over the years here in Grand County, but he said he may come back. In fact, he said he will probably return, maybe not to live here year-round like before, but perhaps seasonally.

“I feel fortunate to have a lot of options that I’m excited about. I may come back to Grand County after the contract; I may sign on for another cruise ship contract ” I may try out living in a big city,” he said. Salzberg said he may even go to graduate school. He was accepted to DU’s Lamont School of Music for their master’s program

in music composition for the fall of 2008, but he might put that off for a year or indefinitely.

He is leaving, on a jet plane, to Miami Sunday to work for a cruise line for the summer. He’ll join about a dozen other musicians who will make up the big show band playing on one of several stages on the Carnival Imagination cruise line.

This will be his very first cruise and Salzberg is excited about the different cultures he’ll be exposed to, as well as the opportunities that exist on the ship.

“The truth is I really love all kinds of music, and I love playing all kinds of music,” he said.

The cruise route includes stops in the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Its main stage auditorium, where Salzberg is set to play, seats up to 1,200 people, one of the biggest crowds he thinks he will have ever played for.

He’ll be playing electric guitar for the show band, which is like a pit orchestra that backs up singers and dancers on the main stage. He said the stage “is amazing.” The band will consist of a six-to-eight-piece full horn section, piano, guitar, bass and drums.

“It’s really an ideal job,” he said. “I’ll travel to beautiful places and perform for packed audiences every night. It’s also steady work. I won’t have to worry about booking, or juggling schedules, or promotion, or even setting up a PA system for five months.”

The type of music will be Broadway or Vegas-style production material, he said, and also big band charts. He’s also excited about the opportunity to sit in with some of the other bands booked on the ship, as well as local musicians at the ports where the ship docks.

“I’m going to work a lot on my guitar playing and my writing,” he said, adding that he most likely will bring along an acoustic guitar and maybe a mandolin. He said he’ll have a lot of “down time” on the ship between shows, “and I really want to work on writing new songs for a second album.”

It’s his goal to finish a new record by the end of this year.

This year also marks another first for the musician. His first-ever solo CD arrived at his house just after New Years and features him singing and playing several instruments, including the guitar, bass, dobro, piano, mandolin and ukulele. Copies are available at Singing Dog and the Grand Theatre Company, and online at iTunes,, and through his Web site

He said he’ll try to keep up on his blog while he’s on the ship and the news office is hoping to receive postcards every now and then to share where his journeys take him with those here wishing him bon voyage.

“I’m really lucky to be in a place in life where I don’t have much tying me down, and I can follow my dreams wherever they take me,” he said. “The future is wide open.”

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