Updated Sound (“Tzlil Meudcan” in Hebrew), an international festival for contemporary music taking place at the Felicja Blumental Center in Tel Aviv between June 30 and July 3, is probably one of this summer’s most intriguing music events. In its fourth edition, the festival also includes a summer course for young musicians from Israel and abroad, presented by leading specialists.

“A course dedicated to the analysis, composition and performing of contemporary music will be presented in Israel for the first time,” says Yaron Deutsch, 31, the artistic director of the festival and a member of the Nikel contemporary music ensemble, where he plays electric guitar. Deutsch, who divides his time between Israel, Vienna and Cambridge, elaborates that “for this course, we invited composers from Harvard, as well as important ensembles and soloists from Europe. These artists, together with 15 young composers, will spend an entire week in the north of the country at kibbutzim Daliya and Ein Hashofet.”

The 15 were chosen from among dozens applicants from all over the world, with preference given to local artists, because, Deutsch explains, “our idea is to advance contemporary music in Israel.”

Each of the young composers participating in the course will create a piece for an ensemble. The intimate Felicja Blumental Center is the festival’s central stage, with one of the concerts taking place in an unusual Tel Aviv venue – the Nahum Gutman Art Museum.

The concert at the Gutman Museum will come after a special day of performances titled “From Goethe to Gutman.” It will start at the Goethe Institute, which has been supporting the festival from day one – especially in developing the summer course. After a lecture, the audience will be invited for a stroll through Tel Aviv to the Gutman Museum in Neveh Tzedek.

“There is of an aura of elitism surrounding classical music – especially contemporary [classical] music – which we would sort of like to destroy,” says Deutsch.

“Here we give the audience the opportunity to meet the musicians and talk to them – not after the concert, when the audience is tired and the performers are often squeezed, but before that. It will be something of a social event.”

Among the festival guests are composers Chaya Czernowin and Steven Takasugi (who lead the summer course), Ruben Seroussi, Eitan Steinberg, Yuval Shaked, Amnon Wolman, ensembles Ictus soloists, Musica Nova Consort, Nikel and Praesenz, the Romen-Schneider guitar duo, and others. The festival program features both pieces from the world’s leading composers and music composed by the summer course members, and includes quite a few Israeli and world premiers. Several music documentaries will be screened during the festival.

A detailed festival program can be found at http://www.ensemblenikel.com. For reservations, please call (03) 620-1185.

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