Marie Moskowitz and Lou Michaels performing at Red Pipe Organic Café.
It is unique to enjoy live music as you dine, but that is the case for patrons at Red Pipe Organic Café at 71-60 Austin Street.
Singer, guitarist and violinist Lou Michaels and his wife, singer, guitarist and percussionist Marie Moskowitz, are regulars and becoming a popular part of the Forest Hills music scene. Recently, the duo also began playing at Reef Restaurant & Bar at 108-02 72nd Avenue.
“I have my eyes on a few restaurants in Forest Hills, particularly the Theater Café at Cinemart Cinemas on Metropolitan Avenue,” said Michaels.
In May, he volunteered to perform at Barnes and Noble, collaborating with another talented local musician, Doug Leblang, for Customer Appreciation Day. Michaels has also performed for affairs at Forest Hills Jewish Center and as a member of the house band at Terrace on The Park.
Lou Michaels is the stage name for Louis Moskowitz, a 52-year-old Briarwood resident who was raised in Bensonhurst. He explores various genres, including jazz, standards, pop, and classical, and has also performed original compositions - New Wave songs with an 80s rock feel.
His diverse talents reflect his wide range of performance numbers. An evening may consist of George Gershwin’s “Embraceable You,” “The Very Thought of You,” which was performed by numerous artists including Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” and his own spin on Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” and “Isn’t She Lovely.”
Bach compositions have become a part of his repertoire, and routinely he will take requests from his audience.
A genuine artist acknowledges their career is shaped by fellow musicians and fans. Michaels credits his success to one of his earliest and most influential music teachers, Frank Schindelheim, who he met while playing violin in his elementary school orchestra.
Across the street, Schindelheim owned a music school, and in the 1970s he began pursuing guitar lessons under his direction. Later, he would find himself teaching in the same music school for seven years.
“The best lesson he taught was to be a well-rounded musician and not stick to one style or bag,” said Michaels.
Michaels attended John Dewey High School in Brooklyn, where the stage jazz band was recognized as the finest in the country by DownBeat Magazine. He later pursued music at Kingsborough Community College.
Michaels also attributes much of his success to the leader of the Vincent Paul Orchestra, where he played from the mid-1980s until a few years ago.
“Vincent Paul, who is legally blind and a talented vocalist and percussionist, showed me that anything is possible,” he said. “He would get up to dance, sing, and even jump around. No one knew he couldn't see, but he always performed like a champ.”
Two years ago, he began performing with his wife, who he praises for exhibiting great harmonies and taking the lead on occasion.
“Marie is the love of my life,” he said. “Performing together gives us confidence in other parts of life too. Every gig, no matter how small, is exciting to us.”