The Jerusalem Quartet.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Jerusalem Music Center is a hothouse for young Israeli talent. Many Israeli artists currently enjoying brilliant international careers, such as world-renowned Jerusalem and Aviv Quartets or clarinet player Chen Halevi, to name a few, were nurtured there. Yet for the general public the Jerusalem Music Center is first and foremost a concert venue, although the concerts constitute only 20 percent of the JMC’s overall activity, according to the Center’s Director Hed Sella.
On the eve of the new 2013-14 concert season, Sella in a phone interview speaks about its programs, which sound excellent – and judging from the names, not only on paper.
“This year the JMC celebrates its 40th anniversary and our ‘ImCameri’ flagship – or if you’d rather, showcase – series, which is performed at IMCA Hall, hosts many JMC alumni, such as the Jerusalem Trio, the Jerusalem Quartet, violinist Hagai Shaham and pianist Arnon Erez, among others, as well as the best international chamber ensembles, which come from abroad.
“For example, the young Artemis Quartet will make its Israeli debut, performing at IMCA Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, as well as Beethoven’s Quartet No. 14; the successful Belcea Quartet from England, which has appeared in Israel in the past; and the Mandelring Quartet from Germany, which will perform together with Israeli pianist Tomer Lev.”
Among other prominent guests are German superstar countertenor Andreas Scholl, who is very familiar to Israeli audiences.
Together with his life partner, Israeli piano and cembalo player he will present a recital featuring German art songs, or lieder.
Another recital deserving special mention is that of a virtuoso pianist Angela Hewitt, famous for her Bach renditions.
She will appear only in Jerusalem, playing two sonatas, by Bach and by Beethoven.
One of the programs will be performed by The Delft Chamber Music Festival (Netherlands) participants, with American cellist Alisa Wallerstein among them. They, too, will present a most challenging and far from banal program.
In addition to ImCameri series, which includes 12 concerts, the JMC produces its own concerts, which take place in the intimate concert JMC concert hall. The hall, which seats 150, hosts several series. Lecturer-concerts by the Carmel Quartet are among the most intriguing among them. The series has been running for several years now and in turn is presented both in Hebrew and in English by bilingual violist Yoel Greenberg.
“In his explanations, Greenberg, who is also a musicologist, showcases his vast knowledge of music, but makes it easily digestible, and employs a lot of humor. These programs are perfect for those among the listeners who want to enter the world of chamber music,” accentuates Sella.
In addition, the JMC has hosted, for many years now, the Discoveries series by the Israeli Contemporary Players Ensemble, which is broadcast live by the Voice of Music radio channel.
And as if all this were not enough, during the Spring period the JMC presented some four-five concerts of the best young musicians from all over the country.
“This is the David Goldman program for outstanding young musicians. This program, which is named after the person who has contributed money for the building, is most important for us as an educational tool,” explains Sella. “These are highlights of the year-long work of young chamber musicians.”
Another veteran series JMC series is The Youth in the Center, which for many years used to be performed on Friday noon and has been lately moved to Tuesdays at 5 p.m.
“These 12 concerts are free of charge, and performed by the best students of our two music academies or young musicians at the beginning of their professional careers. They include both instrumental and vocal pieces of the most variegated repertoire,” sums up Sella.
In addition, there are near-improvised concerts by master musicians, who come to conduct master classes and then also decide to perform.