Top Dutch violinist Janine Jansen, together with five other high-caliber European musicians, is coming to Israel to perform two gems of the chamber music repertoire: Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht and Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major. The concerts will take place at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art as the closing concert of the International Stars series, as well as in Jerusalem and Haifa. From there, the ensemble – which includes violists Amihai Grosz, Boris Brovtsyn and Maxim Rysanov and cellists Jens Peter Maintz and Torleif Thedeen – will continue to Wigmore Hall in London and locales in Hamburg, Eindhoven and Dortmund.

The much-awarded Jansen, who is internationally recognized as one of the great violinists of our time, is a truly exciting and versatile artist. Her London debut in November 2002, with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, was quickly followed by invitations from some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, and she has worked with such eminent conductors as Valery Gergiev, Mariss Jansons, Lorin Maazel and Riccardo Chailly.

In addition to her concert performances, she is a devoted performer of chamber music and recently released an album with Itamar Golan. She established and curates the annual International Chamber Music Festival in Utrecht. Her chamber music partners include Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Mischa Maisky and Khatia Buniatishvili.

“As an Israeli, I am happy and proud that Israeli concert halls stand in the same row with the most prestigious European venues,” says violist Amihai Grosz, to whom the initiative of their entire concert series is to be credited.

Grosz, the former founding member of the Jerusalem Quartet, has made Berlin his home since 2010 and was recently appointed to the position of principal violist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

“With the Berlin Philharmonic, I play in only 50 percent of the concerts, which leaves me enough time to perform as a soloist with various orchestras or in chamber programs,” says Grosz in a phone interview from Berlin. “I realized that some of my friends, with whom I play or would like to play, have never been to Israel. Unlike performing a solo with an orchestra, when you come for a day and go, chamber music tours are different – you come for a week, you rehearse and play. You see the places, and yes, you enjoy your life. I told to my friends that this was not the place where they would earn a lot of money, but we surely would have a great time, and all of them agreed. I felt really honored. For musicians of such a caliber with a busy schedule to find a free week is not that easy. They are coming for music and out of friendship, not for business.”

Grosz contacted Ilan Rechtman, the music director of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art chamber music programs, and that is how the International Stars series was born. This will be the first time these musicians will perform this program together. But according to popular opinion, only with the years does a group of performers become an ensemble and their music personalities merge into one musical body, with a special and unique sound.

“I should not generalize because everything depends on individual players, of course, when we speak about those who know what chamber music is about. Granted, this is not a jam session, but what I especially cherish in playing chamber is the interaction among the musicians, the dialogue, the freedom that you allow your partner in the hope that in return he or she will allow it to you, too. And that is what makes the performance fresh – because an overpolished performance can become dull. And believe me, as one who has played chamber music for many years, I know what I’m talking about. But again, the professionalism is also about going on stage with the same people to perform a familiar piece and still make it sound fresh.”

The concerts take place on May 9 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (03) 607-7070. On May 10 at the YMCA in Jerusalem (02) 623- 4347. And on May 12 at the Rappaport Concert Hall in Haifa (04) 835-3506

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