Israeli neo-classical fest

The tenth Israeli Music Celebration is a rare chance to encounter Israeli music in all its variety.

September 16, 2007 08:29
2 minute read.
violinist music 224

violinist music 224. (photo credit: AP)


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The tenth edition of the Israeli Music Celebration takes place September 19 through 21 in Haifa, Beersheba and Jerusalem. The traditionally free event boasts a wide array of styles and genres, with music from the pre-state period to our own day performed by local musicians and by those who have led careers abroad. Dozens of pieces by an impressive list of Israeli composers as diverse as Oedoen Partos and Korin Alal, Tsvi Avni and Yonni Rechter, Tsippi Fleischer and Dov Seltser, Gil Shohat and Matti Caspi, Sasha Argov and Paul Ben-Haim - will be performed, some for the first time. Well-known Israeli orchestras and chamber ensembles under leading local conductors such as Mendi Rodan, Doron Solomon and Noam Sherif will be playing. This is a rare chance to encounter Israeli music in all its variety, since most local orchestras only rarely perform pieces by Israeli composers during the regular concert season. According to the festival's artistic director, composer Michael Wolpe, pluralism is the idea behind the celebration. Wolpe, enjoying his second year as festival head, says he wants to bring everything and everybody together. Different epochs and genres meet within the same program, giving listeners an opportunity to discover music which is not their favorite - but still very good. A piano concerto by Paul Ben Haim, performed by Gila Goldstein and the Jerusalem Symphony at the closing concert of the festival at the Jerusalem Theater's Henry Crown Hall, will be one of the highlights. Ben Haim, considered the father of Israeli classical music, immigrated to Palestine from Germany in the early '30s. The encounter with various Jewish traditions completely changed the style of this composer, brought up in the German tradition. Goldstein, who started her musical education in Jerusalem and has built an impressive globetrotting career after graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, has dedicated a major part of her career to promoting Israeli music throughout he world. Speaking from her New York home, she says she feels enthusiastic about reintroducing "this brilliant concerto, which has not been performed in Israel for 24 years. This piece, written in 1948, is based on a folk song the composer heard from singer Bracha Zefira. In a way, it is close to concerti by Bartok and Prokofiev, while still an absolutely original piece." The concerts take place Monday at the Haifa Auditorium complex, Tuesday at Ben-Gurion University, Beersheba, and Wednesday at the Jerusalem Theater. See our Classical Music listings starting on Page 13 for full program details. Admission is free, but seats should be reserved in advance, via either or by calling the various venues. More details at (03) 696-1593.

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