Not as a stranger .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘I do not want to be perceived in Israel as a visiting artist,” says Estonian
violinist cum conductor Andres Mustonen, who will lead the Israel Camerata in an
eclectic program between April 4 – 12. “I see myself as part of local musical
life; I feel at home here,” he asserts. And for good reason.
musician with a global career, first performed in Israel with his ancient music
ensemble Hortus Musicus in the late 1980s. “This was even before the diplomatic
relations between Israel and the USSR were have been restored, a fact that
caused kind of a scandal at the Soviet Ministry of Culture, but in the end
everybody was happy and grateful because in a way, we were the first to open
doors to Israel for other artists,” recalls Mustonen in a phone interview from
Now he performs regularly in Israel, appearing with local
orchestras and at major international festivals, such as the Israel Festival in
Jerusalem and Eilat International Chamber Music Festival.
Talvet Mustonen, an Estonian intellectual who was recruited to serve the country
after it gained independence from Russia, was appointed ambassador of Estonia to
Israel. “But that is not the only reason that brings me to Israeli stages but
rather the inner feeling,” he says. “I want to contribute to Israeli musical
life as a violinist, conductor and music life organizer – I’ve been generating
music projects for my entire professional life.”
Mustonen also invites
Israeli artists to participate in his projects in Estonia, and not
“Israeli soprano Claire Meghnnagi participated in a production of a
Baroque opera at the Tallinn Opera theater and in a few days will sing in a big
Palmsontag concert in a church in Finland. Another singer, Etti Ben-Zaken,
appeared with a large symphony orchestra in Tallinn, performing music by Israeli
composer Yoseph Bardanashvili – to great success,” he says.
“This, by the
way, is just another facet of my cooperation with Israeli artists. I have
conducted Bardanashvili’s music, mostly huge choral works, many times, and next
time it will be at the Dome Cathedral in Riga. I also use my international
connections to bring Israeli artists to participate in various musical events in
Western and Eastern Europe. For example, Israeli cellist Hillel Tzori and
his trio will perform at a chamber music festival in Germany,” he
Next year, Mustonen will host the Israeli Camerata in his own
annual Mustonen Fest, which takes place at the beginning of February. “This
year, I already had a wonderful collaboration with Israeli bassoon player Mor
Biron,” he says.
Back to Israel. At the end of this year, Mustonen will
conduct the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in a liturgical program featuring
monumental pieces by Haydn and Handel, and next year he will lead the orchestra
in works by Mahler and Arvo Part.
The current program of the Camerata
features both new and Baroque music.
“We will perform music of my
favorite contemporary composers – Agnus Dei
by Krzysztof Penderecki; Trisagion
by Arvo Part; and Silent Music by Valentyn Sylvestrov,” says Mustonen, “as well
as pieces by Vivaldi, Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (which I will perform) and
Handel’s Gloria . I am happy I managed to bring prominent Italian soprano Gemma
Bertagnolli, with whom I have worked more than once.”April 4, 6, 8, 12
at The Tel Aviv Museum of Art. April 9 at the Jerusalem Theater. April 10 at the
Kiryat Sapir Auditorium, Kfar Saba. April 11 at the Wix Auditorium, Weizmann
Institute, Rehovot. For more details and reservations: www.jcamerata.com