Much more than Baroque quartets
John Malkovich is one of the highlights of this year’s Eilat Chamber Music Festival.
The Infernal Comedy Photo: Olga Martschitsch
The eighth annual Eilat Chamber Music Festival, one of the country’s most
intriguing and high-quality music events, takes place this year from April 28 –
“Eight years is not so much for a festival, but based on the
ensembles and artists that have appeared on our stages, one can see that age is
not the only criterion for judging the maturity and achievements of a festival,”
says founder and artistic director Leonid Rozenberg.
The idea behind the
festival was to bring high- quality musical culture to the southernmost Israeli
sea resort and contribute to the development of its tourism, but not
“With all due respect to the intensity of musical life in Israel, I
see it as rather conservative – the same artists and ensembles return to Israel
again and again. Not being a professional producer – that is, someone for whom
organizing music events is the major source of income – I could not have
afforded the music quality and innovation to compete with the profitability of
the festival. That said, any festival has to earn money, otherwise it cannot
exist,” he says.
Since chamber music has always been at the heart of
Rozenberg’s professional interests – he is a violinist, violin teacher and music
life organizer – the festival hosts top European chamber musicians and
ensembles, chamber orchestras and chamber operas.
Many of them not only
made their debuts in Israel but also world premiered their new programs. The
performers have included La Venexiana, Concerto Koln, the Concertgebouw Chamber
Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, La Serenissima, pianist Evgeni
Koroliov, actor Sir Roger Moore, violinists Julian Rachlin and Maxim Vengerov
and cellists Mischa Maisky and Nathalie Clein.
“During the last 20 years,
many interesting changes have occurred in the performing approach, which are not
so familiar to Israeli music lovers, and my idea was to bring these artists
here,” says Rozenberg. “We try to be up to date and to bring the
musicians who are kind of incarnations of the contemporary performing
In addition to concerts, there are international master
classes during the festival, which allows young musicians from Israel and abroad
to study with top musicians.
“This year, the Keshet Eilon Israeli violin
master course will conduct its spring seminary with us, for the second time
now,” he says.
The major star of the eighth edition of the festival is
John Malkovich, who brings The infernal Comedy – Confessions by a Serial Killer
, a musical drama created by Michael Sturminger and Martin Haselbock, in
cooperation with the actor.
“No need to introduce Malkovich as an actor,
but he is a very interesting personality, and this is not his first music
project,” says Rozenberg.
Among the other participants are young Russian
violinist Valery Sokolov, “who made his Israeli debut last year in Eilat, and we
have invited him again because of the extremely high quality of his performance.
This time, he is coming with pianist Igor Tchetuev, once a Rubinstein
Competition winner and now a successful performer,” he says.
says Rozenberg, pianist Alexander Melnikov will perform. “A very unusual
musician, the sound of the piano under his fingers sounds almost like a string
instrument. He will appear with the Doric Quartet from England, which is already
familiar to Israelis. It is a very good young ensemble, one of the new excellent
quartets that have recently come into existence,” he says.
cellists are Leonid Gorokhov from England and Hidemi Suzuki. The latter will
appear with the Wiener Akademie Orchestra; the pianist of the old school, with
the rich vocal sound Oxana Yablonskaya.
This is just a partial list of
performers and events. This year, the festival will be hosted by the Dan
“This is the best location we can find in Eilat,” says Rozenberg.
“The concerts will take place in two halls, and at least one of them has high
ceilings, which is so important for acoustics.”
For the complete program: