Abloom with culture

Open to the public, Ben-Gurion College hosts the annual Tel Hai International piano master classes and concerts

July 29, 2011 16:24
2 minute read.
Pianist Tami Kanazawa.

Tami Kanazawa 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The Tel Hai International Piano Master Classes take place July 31 – August 18 at Sde Boker College in the Negev.

“Tel Hai” in the name of the course is a reminder of its place of birth, a village in the Galilee near Kibbutz Kfar Blum, where the master class took place until the Second Lebanon War, “which did not finish in time and forced us to move south,” quips Emanuel Krasovsky in a phone interview from New York.

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Krasovsky is one the co-founders of the course and, together with Prof. Victor Derevianko, serves as its artistic director.

“But we liked it in the Negev, and we stayed,” he continues. “It’s different and it’s special. The climate is much dryer compared to the coastal area, so it’s easier to survive the summer heat; and the desert landscapes are so spectacular.

This is the world before creation.

Sometimes students take their sleeping bags and spend the night outdoors.”

Ben-Gurion College and the Field School of the Society for the Protection of Nature host the piano course, and Krasovsky has nothing but praise for their new home.

“The concerts take place in the auditorium of the Institute for Desert Studies, and we already have a devoted audience of our own. Dr. Amos Richmond, the retired founder of the institute, said that while they brought science to the desert, we are bringing culture, and we are proud to be appreciated by those who make the desert bloom.”

In its 20th year, the course boasts an impressive roster of Israeli and international teachers and aspiring young, talented musicians. “The entrance requirements are rather high,” says Krasovsky, “which results in the impressive overall level of the students.”

Among the faculty members are Dmitry Bashkirov and Vladimir Tropp of Russia, Jerome Rose of the US, Washington-based Israeli Alon Goldstein, Michel Dalberto from France and veteran faculty member Jose Ribera from Denmark. This year Daniil Trifonov, first-prize winner of the Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky competitions, who participated in the course two years ago and won the Pnina Saltsman Competition, returns to Tel Hai as a teacher.

The program features individual lessons, master classes and many concerts of both students and faculty members. Some of the music activities are dedicated to the memory of important personalities who have left an indelible imprint on the local musical life.

“Michel Dalberto, who was a close friend of Pnina Saltsman, will give a concert in her memory,” says Krasovsky.

He adds, “For years Pnina taught at Tel Hai, even when she was already ill.”

And there is a contest in the memory of Yasha Bistritzky, the founder of the Artur Rubinstein Master Piano Competition.

The program also features special courses, such as two chamber music courses, held respectively by violinist Vera Vaidman and clarinet player Ron Selka, as well as duo piano courses (Tami Kanazawa and Yuval Admony, Japan- Israel), and another one held by pianist Jonathan Zak, “who brings vocalists with him. The ability to work with singers is important for pianists,” Krasovsky stresses.

All events at Ben-Gurion College (Sde Boker) are open to the public and free of charge.

The course culminates with a gala concert at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

For more information and updates, visit www.masterclasses.org.il/ or call (09) 958-8468

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