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Ludwig van Beethoven inspired generations of composers with his powerful string quartets and daring concertos. The intensity of his compositions moved Wagner to proclaim Beethoven a "Titan, wrestling with the gods." This Wednesday, the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance honors Beethoven with a series aptly titled, The Titan.
"Beethoven has the mark of authority," says Asaf Zohar (pictured), musical editor of the series. "He is very dramatic, very determined. Beethoven is the pivotal composer because his music is very strong and people sympathize with it very much."
The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, founded in 1947, has since taught many of Israel's gifted artists, dancers and musicians. The campus hosts a diverse crowd of almost 600 Arab and Jewish Israeli pupils. Students begin their education at the Academy when they are as young as five and the school has gained a reputation for being the training ground for Israel's young, artistic prodigies.
Leading the orchestra is one of Israel's foremost conductors, Mendi Rodan, who has won numerous awards, including: the Prize for the Promotion of Israeli Music and the A.C.U.M. Prize for Artistic Achievement. Born in Romania, Rodan has lived in Israel for more than 40 years, and has received several prestigious domestic and international appointments as a conductor and professor (he teaches at the Academy). Frequently, he is called on to guest conduct in Europe, South Africa and the US.
Five concerts in The Titan series have already taken place with all proving to be an immense success, filling the Academy's 550 seats. According to Zohar, those who frequent the concerts are usually from a pool of regular attendees - students, teachers, subscribers and music-loving Jerusalemites.
The next installment is on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 8:30 p.m. at the Wise Auditorium, Hebrew University, Givat-Ram Campus. Tickets cost NIS 70 per concert. For more information call, (02) 675-9907.