Slavic songs

Violinist and conductor Kolja Blacher leads the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

By MAXIM REIDER
June 19, 2014 12:49
2 minute read.
Kolja Blacher

Violinist and conductor Kolja Blacher leads the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Leading German violinist Kolja Blacher is in Israel for two concerts with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and in both he will be conducting and playing solo.

While the first concert – Mozart and Friends – had already taken place last week, the second concert this Wednesday is The Slavic Nations, part of the orchestra’s Popular Series program, features music by Glinka, Dvorák, Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Yet the violinist, who is already familiar to Israeli music lovers from his performances at the Jerusalem and Eilat Chamber Music Festivals, does not see himself as a “real” full time conductor.

“I am not doing much conducting and this time I will lead the orchestra from the concert master’s chair,” he says. “I enjoy doing it immensely. Since there’s no conductor’s hand showing them, every player and every section has to take more responsibility in how and when to play and because people are more involved it becomes more lively. In the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century this was a common practice, there were no conductors.”

“But now there are plenty, so why not to play under their baton?” he says. “I like playing with conductors, and in some monumental pieces, like those by Mahler, it’s impossible to get along without them, so I know the limitations of the project. I even don’t say it’s better – but it is for sure different. I do it more and more and orchestras seem to enjoy it. It’s like giant chamber music.”

Asked about his preferable repertoire as a soloists Blacher says that “it is difficult to define.”

“Because I do so many different things, and I like most of what I am currently playing, which is a necessity of working,” he adds.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


“Among the concerti I prefer are those by Schumann, Beethoven, Brahms, Berg, Stravinsky, but I also play Weil and Magnus Lindberg concerti but what I really like is the concerto by Schoenberg, which comes out on disk in the fall. Another preference is Bach solo sonatas – but who does not like them? – and also Sibelius Sequenza, but again, I do so many things.”

Speaking about his approach to performing, Blacher says that it includes two aspects: “It has to be very personal, and at the same time performers have very strong responsibilities towards the composer.”

How do you strike a balance between these two – perhaps opposing – demands?


If you really deal with the score with what you know about the composer and the style you will automatically make personal decisions, which will be different from those of other violinists. So I do not see here a contradiction, it goes together.

Nowadays, classical music is losing its popularity, less people are going to concerts. Do you have any explanation for this phenomenon?


That’s true, and I think the programming is to blame: Generally, programs are too conventional. People are afraid of new things, but they usually like them. Often, these pieces are not announced on the program, otherwise nobody is going to come. But then, when I perform a contemporary piece as an encore, people really like them. I think we should take more risks. Also, I think that programs have to be not too thematic – a concert has to include works from different composers with music for different tastes.

Wednesday at the Jerusalem Theater at 8 p.m., for reservations call 1-700-70-4000.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys

By JTA