East meets west meets machine

The bar mitzva edition of the Tzlilei Yaldut Festival promises to delight children with its impressive lineup.

By
September 12, 2013 12:09
SARIT HADAD is doing a show that is designed for children

SARIT HADAD is doing a show that is entirely designed for ch. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Ori Leshman is unreservedly excited about the upcoming Tzlilei Yaldut Festival, as well he might be. The bar mitzva edition of the annual children’s event will take place at the Holon Theater from September 22 to 24, and artistic director Leshman has cooked up a delightfully crafted program for the youngsters and their parents.

“I took over as artistic director last year, and I always look to improve,” says Leshman. “It is a challenge I relish.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


It is also a challenge that he has met with aplomb.

The lineup bears out the fruits of Leshman’s aspirations. For starters, the frontliner roster features Sarit Hadad, whom Leshman dubs “the national singer,” no less.

“There are all kinds of big guns in this year’s program, which I believe is a significant upgrade on last year’s festival,” he says. “I look upon the festival as a vehicle to lead Israeli culture – not just in the world of children – and to devise productions that are different than the regular shows. We have some wonderful original productions in the program.”

The Hadad spot is a good place to start.

“We had lots of discussions about her show before we got started,” says Leshman. “We finally decided on classic Israeli songs for children.

I have seen a few of the rehearsals, and I can tell you it is a fusion of East and West at their most interesting juncture. You have Sarit Hadad singing with an acoustic band of five musicians who all come from jazz and world music.”

Evidently there has been no artistic corner-cutting at Tzlilei Yaldut. The quintet in question features seasoned performers whose efforts are orchestrated by musical director, pianist and trumpeter Adi Rennert.

“We chose all the artists very carefully, and you get Sarit Hadad unplugged. This is a special show for her, too,” says Leshman.

In general, he feels that the children’s music market has been in the doldrums for quite some time and hopes the festival goes at least some way toward righting that.

“If you look at the history of Israeli music, you’ll see that since its very beginning there was not one composer who did not think he should write material for children’s

“But all that stopped, for some reason, around the late 1970s to early 1980s, around the time of Hakeves Hashisha Asar (The Sixteenth Sheep children’s book written by Yehonatan Gefen and the record and show based on it). And now we have Sarit Hadad doing a show that is entirely designed for children. I don’t know why they stopped doing stuff for children's entertainment. It goes right through from people like Mordechai Zeira and Sasha Argov to more contemporary musicians and writers like Matti Caspi, Yoni Rechter, Yehudit Ravitz, David Broza and even Shlomo Artzi,” he says.

“But all that stopped, for some reason, around the late 1970s to early 1980s, around the time of Hakeves Hashisha Asar (The Sixteenth Sheep children’s book written by Yehonatan Gefen and the record and show based on it). And now we have Sarit Hadad doing a show that is entirely designed for children. I don’t know why they stopped doing stuff for children.

Maybe it’s because they thought it was belittling to write and perform for kids,” he muses.

Not content with singing quality material for a junior audience, Hadad is now striking out with a new show-biz line.

“She will do some acting in the show, together with actress Tali Oren,” Leshman continues. “They perform a little show based on the songs.”

THE ICONCERT will be a  humorous affair with Idan Alterman (Courtesy)

Also in the big gun category is the iConcert slot, which is described as “classical music with 3D technology.” This is a first local airing for the Music Animation Machine technology devised by Stephen Malinowski. The invention allows audiences to not only hear music played live in concert but also to appreciate the sounds through their sense of vision, whereby the notes being played are displayed in various colors and enhanced through the provision of 3D glasses. The iConcert show will be a highly entertaining and humorous affair, with actorcomedian Idan Alterman playing the role of the mad scientist. It also stars acclaimed Swiss violinist Etienne Abelin, who will operate the technology and computers together with the Israel Camerata Orchestra, Jerusalem.

The 75-minute show is for children from the age of four and will be followed by a workshop where the kids will be able to use the technology themselves.

“There is a Music Animation Machine clip on YouTube, which I believe has been viewed 100 million times. I think this is the future of music education,” Leshman declares.

Meanwhile, budding violinists will be able to avail themselves of the polished teaching services of some top-notch classical musicians, such as Hagai Shaham and Itai Shapira at the Ilona Feher Master Classes for Young Violinists. Feher was an internationally renowned Jewish Hungarian violinist and teacher whose past students include the likes of Pinchas Zukerman, Shlomo Mintz and Shaham. Feher spent the last two decades of her life as a resident of Holon.

Elsewhere in the jewel-strewn three-day program, you can find the How a Song Is Born session at which Yehonatan Gefen will share some of the secrets of his writing craft with small children and their parents. There will also be quite a few dance and music shows over the three days, including a performance of Clothes Stories by the Fresco dance company choreographed by Yoram Carmi; the Story Flutist musical show directed by Yarden Bar-Kochba; and the Pinocchio Dell’arte production that incorporates music, acrobatics, masks and puppet theater.

Leshman is happy with the mix of events in the festival program.

“Where else could you come across Sarit Hadad, Hagai Shaham and Stephen Malinowski?” he says.

“We have managed to bring them together at the festival, and there will be some wonderful musicians playing for the children. We should always aim to give children the best quality musical entertainment we can.”

For tickets and more information about the Tzlilei Yaldut Festival: (03) 502-3001 and www.hth.co.il


Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys

By JTA