Music Festival: Mahler and Liszt are on the list

The International Chamber Music Festival has ‘no end of exciting musicians’ and composers.

August 27, 2011 01:35
2 minute read.
Elena Bashkirova

Elena Bashkirova 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, an exciting event that any music capital of the world would be proud to host, takes place on September 3- 16 in the auditorium of the YMCA in Jerusalem. Now in its 14th year, the festival, conceived as a musical offering to the capital by its artistic director pianist Elena Bashkirova, hosts top international performers and promising young artists from Israel and abroad.

The programs traditionally combine lesser-known works with pieces of well-loved composers, presented in a new light with many wonderful surprises. The participants of the festival have nothing but praise for the appreciative and well-versed audience.

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Speaking from her Berlin home about the 14th anniversary of her “baby,” Bashkirova says that “Among the ‘new names’ on the roster are such renowned musicians as pianist Andras Schiff, who was finally able to find time for us. He will participate in many programs, and we can only hope that from now on he will keep returning to Jerusalem like our veteran guests. These include pianist Efim Bronfman and Kirill Gerstein, singer Robert Hall and flutist Emmanuel Pahud to name just a few, who return almost every year,” she says.

“Another newcomer to the festival is one of the today’s major Wagnerian singers, Waltraud Meier, who will present a cycle of Mahler songs. A really new name is young cellist Marie-Luise Neunecker, whose career is on the rise, especially in France. There’s no end to the list of exciting musicians,” she says happily.

Switching to the festival program, Bashkirova says that this year, as always, they will follow several strands. “The anniversaries of Gustav Mahler and Franz Liszt give us an opportunity to pay tribute to the two great composers. We will hear Mahler’s celebrated song cycles and arrangements of his works, two of which are festival commissions. Liszt is represented by his songs and piano music.”

Another theme is the extraordinary generation of Jewish composers who, had they survived the Holocaust, would have changed the course of musical history. “In each concert we will reveal some of the music of this lost generation whose future was eliminated, leaving a huge chasm,” she says.

And of course, Beethoven, one of the giants of chamber music composers, whose music the festival will explore this year through chamber genres outside of the string quartet canon. And if that were not enough, “We will present a special festival commission by German composer Matthias Pintscher,” concludes Bashkirova.

If you haven’t reserved your seats for this festival, do so soon because tickets are running out for most concerts.

Jerusalem YMCA, September 3-16.

For the detailed program: For reservations: (02) 625-0444

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