Local feast

An entirely Israeli classical festival held throughout the country features a mix of composers and musicians of all walks and generations

August 27, 2010 16:53
2 minute read.
MICHAEL VOLPE: Trying to include more music, to create new cultural connections; (below) Opera Camer

michael volpe311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The Feast of Israeli Music takes place between September 11 and 15 in Haifa, Givatayim, Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Its programs represent a rich spectrum of music by Israeli composers from different generations and various styles. Entry to all festival events is free, but tickets are to be reserved in advance.

Festival director, composer and a true champion of Israeli music Michael Volpe told The Jerusalem Post, “During the five years that I’ve been the artistic director of the festival, I have tried to turn it into a significant event in our country’s life, to include more music, to create new cultural connections, to give the stage to those who do not always make it there and to reach wider audiences. After all, this is first and foremost an educational project.”

“I believe that on the whole we have succeeded, but still there is a lot to be done,” says Volpe, “including media coverage, exposure of the event to the public and documentation. If we had a more substantial budget, we could have filmed our many concerts and then through television reached more homes in Israel.”

As usual, this year’s programs feature symphony and chamber music, pieces for soloists, contemporary music, influenced both by the Western and the local tradition, an opera and scores written in other genres. Volpe says that this year a significant part of the program is dedicated to Jewish liturgy.

“A concerto by Yoseph Tal, in which the composer used liturgical melodies of Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions will be performed in Haifa on the first day of the festival, while all the pieces, which will be played on the last day of the festival in Jerusalem – by Bardanashvili and Paul Ben Haim, as well as four pieces by young composers – are based on Jewish liturgy,” Volpe explains. “And there are other pieces that are inspired by Jewish liturgy or manage a musical dialog with Jewish music of the past.”

Just as in the past years, Opera Camera, a young and daring fringe opera company led by the indefatigable director Daniel Ehrlich, world premiers a new vivid production, this time Moshe Zorman’s The Spirits’ Inn, after Nathan Alterman.

Of the Opera Camera’s annual premier, says Volpe, “This is a tradition and I want to keep it. Among other traditions is a concert of conservatory students playing contemporary music and a homage to a living veteran composer – this year Andre Haidu. But maybe it’s the concert in Givatayim that epitomizes my approach best.” In Givatayim, “the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra, led by the young conductor Karin Ben Yoseph will perform the concerto for piano and soprano, Of Blindness, by Yaron Gotfried as well as new arrangements by David Zehavi, whose centennial we celebrate, all commissioned by young composers.”

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