Alon Goldstein 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The annual Tel Hai International Piano Master Classes, which bear the name of
its co -founder, the late pianist Marina Bondarenko, take place at Ben-Gurion
University in the Negev from August 5 – 24. Featuring individual lessons, open
master classes and student concerts and several competitions, the rich program
culminates with the traditional gala concert at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
“I’ve taken upon myself the mission of bringing classical
music to the wider audiences in the US, where I spend most of my time,” says
Alon Goldstein, one of the teachers at the Tel Hai Master Classes.
the finest and most successful Israeli pianists, Goldstein is living in
Washington, D.C,, and has an impressive globe-trotting career but never misses
an opportunity to perform or to teach in Israel. A veteran faculty member of the
course, he speaks to The Jerusalem Post by phone from France, where he is
participating in another summer course for young proteges.
“Just as we
eat bread and drink water every day, so classical music is food for our soul,”
says Goldstein, ”I often perform at schools, hospitals and retirement homes.
Amazingly enough, I find that in the places where there is awareness of music
and of culture, the society is far more pleasant, developed, interesting and,
yes, simply more clever.”So who is “afraid” of classical music?
a common belief that classical music is elitist and that in order to reach wider
audiences, it needs to ‘go down’ a level. This results in all kinds of “concerts
in jeans” concerts with a cigarette and a glass of beer, and I find it hard to
accept. Music, classical music, is beyond day-to-day matters. It is not elevator
music. It took geniuses to create something that has survived for hundreds of
years. So it requires special concentration. It is like reading a book – you
leave the here and now, the reality that is full of noise, and are taken to
another reality. Music is spiritual.How can one find one’s way into the
world of classics?
I totally agree that for modern man this is quite difficult.
While on TV the pictures are changing every second, to sit in a concert hall and
look for half an hour at a pianist who almost does not move is a challenge. We
seem to have lost our ability to concentrate. Yet there are so many lecture
concerts, especially in Israel, for every taste and for every
People who present them, such as Astrit Balzan, Gil Shohat or Orit
Wolf, are extremely clever. They are looking for the ways to bring music to
people without compromising.
They don’t offer beer and don’t try to be
funny but rather impart important knowledge to the audience. It is always good
to go with a friend with whom you can share your emotional
experience.Coming here to the Tel Hai Master Classes, what do you want
to give to the students?
I try to teach them to teach themselves, to ask
questions, to shift the subconscious to the conscious.
They often say
that it’s impossible to explain music by words, but I still demand explanations
from my students. Not ’I like this and I don’t like that,’ but I want them to be
specific and aware of what they are doing. I try to give them the tools that
allow them to conduct a dialogue with the piece and with the
composer.The Tel Hai Master Classes take place August 5-22. Most of the
activities are free and open to the public. For more information and a full
Alon Goldstein joins the course on August 13.
He will give a special concert with the Israel Chamber Orchestra at the Tel Aviv
Museum of Art on August 22.