The 21st Century Ensemble 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
This is our 20th season. These 19 years have passed so fast,” says composer Dan Yuhas, the founder and artistic director of the 21st Century Ensemble, which opens its season on October 30 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The concert will be repeated at the Jerusalem Music Center the following evening, with a live broadcast on the Voice of Music station.
“But now we finally see the fruits of our labor. I believe that our activity has laid the groundwork for various contemporary music ensembles in this country. The entire attitude toward contemporary music in Israel has changed, a new and devoted and international artists see it as important to appear in Israel. Also our ensemble is invited to festivals in Warsaw, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland – these are professional festivals that are dedicated to contemporary music and not to promoting Israeli achievements,” stresses Yuhas.
This modest, soft-spoken man has many reasons to celebrate. Much has changed during the last 20 years since he returned from his sabbatical in Paris with a clear understanding that “It is time to stop being provincial in everything concerning contemporary music.”
As a result, the 21st Century Ensemble (Israel Contemporary Players is
its other name) was born, and in the years since has premiered most of
the important 20th-century pieces written in Israel and abroad, bringing
some of the best conductors and soloists in the field to the growing
In addition, several years ago the ensemble founded Hateiva, an intimate
concert hall in Jaffa that serves as its home. The ensemble rehearses
there and performs special programs and hosts young contemporary music
ensembles, providing them with promotional services and exposing them to
their audience. About 50 concerts are performed at Hateiva every year,
and even the best local soloists, who usually perform traditional
repertoires, appear there with contemporary pieces.
The ensemble’s 20th season features five concerts, and Yuhas says it is
better than ever: “We commissioned pieces from Israeli composers, both
veteran and young, for every concert.”
In the opening concert there will be a piece by Joseph Bardanashvili for
bassoon and ensemble. It was written especially for Richard Paley, a
member of the founding group of the ensemble. Other pieces commissioned
for this season include works by Hanah Ajiashvili, Ofer Pelz (a young
Paris-based composer), Shulamit Ran, Yinam Leef and Yuhas himself.
The opening program also features pieces by Eotvos and Genoël von
Lilienstern. “The latter is very popular in Europe,” says Yuhas.
“A star attraction of the evening will probably be Marco Blaauw, one of
the Europe’s best trumpet players, who will perform Berio’s Sequenza
No.10 and Concerto for trumpet and ensemble, written by Panisello for
Blaauw, who plays the double-bell trumpet,” says Yuhas.
Holding the baton will be the ensemble’s chief conductor for the past 15
years, maestro Zsolt Nagy, who is very busy conducting all over the
world but “has never canceled a single performance in Israel, no matter
what the situation is,” says Yuhas.
Opening concert, October 30 at the Tel
Aviv Museum of Art. October 31 at the Jerusalem Music Center. More