Italy comes to Tel Aviv
Music Fest Perugia is a master course that offers young musicians many rare opportunities.
Israeli pianist Ilana Vered Photo: Courtesy
On February 4, a special concert will take place at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
For the first time, the local audience will have the opportunity to get a taste
of Music Fest Perugia.
Music Fest Perugia? This term is more familiar in
Italy and other countries than in Israel, although this unique master course,
which takes place every summer in the ancient Umbrian city of Perugia, was
conceived, founded and is artistically directed by prominent Israeli pianist
Ilana Vered (pictured).
In the concert, a promising young Israeli pianist
and a singer, as well as two other vocalists, will come from Italy to perform
with the Ashdod Symphony under the baton of Uri Segal.
Vered, who was
born in Jerusalem, started her music education in Israel but continued her
studies in France, where she entered the Paris Conservatoire at 13. As an adult,
she performed in recitals worldwide and as a soloist with major
orchestras. Her performing career came to an abrupt end, however, when
she injured her hand in a traffic accident. The multi-talented artist
switched her skills to studying painting in Florence. There, she was
asked to perform a recital in the smallest amphitheater in the world – Il piu
piccolo teatro del mondo. The recital was a huge success, which caused Vered,
together with her husband, Peter Hermes – a leading neurologist and partner in
his wife’s musical activities – to initiate a festival of their own.
summer, the sixth edition of the festival in Perugia, which started as a small
two-week event, will last an entire month and host students from all over the
world, including a group of young Israeli talents.
advertising, we have become quite popular in the music world, and we’ve had to
make the course twice as long due to the large demand,” says Vered.
are several factors that make the course so special. The first is an orchestra
in residence. This time, it will be the Ashdod Symphony, with internationally
renowned maestro Uri Segal. (“Many years ago in London, we recorded Mozart
together for the Decca label,” Vered recalls.) This gives the students an
opportunity to perform with an orchestra – something that is almost impossible
for a young pianist. Generally speaking, one would have to win an important
competition and, as part of the prize, receive a contract for performances.
“For a beginner pianist, the educational value of such an experience is
immense,” Vered stresses.
Another factor is Vered’s approach as a
performer and teacher of music making.
“Today, with all this technical
perfection of performers, the essence of music-making is often lost. We try to
teach students to speak with music, to communicate with the audience through
music, to read the audience the story written by the composer. For me, this is
what counts in music – to move, to touch and to communicate,” she says.
Vered explains that the renowned teachers who come from different
countries (including Israel) and schools are actually talking about the same
ideas but slightly differently, “which broadens our students’
In addition, the young musicians are exposed to the beauty and
art treasures of the ancient Italian town and its museums, which enriches them
immensely: It is no secret that more often than not, the contemporary system of
education lacks this kind of experience.
At present, the Music Fest
Perugia hosts pianists and vocalists, but Vered is considering including chamber
music as well.
Another special feature of the festival does not relate to
music but rather to Israel.
“For many international music students, this
is a rare opportunity to meet their Israeli counterparts, and it’s amazing how
fast they become friends, how quickly they are captivated by the warmth and
openness of Israeli kids, and what a good name our festival makes for Israel –
in Italy and throughout the world,” says Vered.
This summer, the master
course will take place July 16 – 30 and August 2 – 17. For further information,