The Else Ensemble.
(photo credit: PETER C. THEIS)
The Else Ensemble, an Israeli- German chamber ensemble, will perform in Israel next month, appearing in Tel Aviv, Kibbutz Na’an and Beersheba.
Much of the ensemble’s repertoire features music by German and Jewish composers from the 19th century to the present time. The ensemble is dedicated to researching and performing forgotten works, as well as works affected by political events. The group also likes to premiere pieces written by female composers. The Else Ensemble tours Germany and performs throughout Europe.
In a phone interview from her home in Frankfurt, Israeli-born cellist Daniela Shemer, the co-founder of Else, explains that forming the ensemble was a natural step.
“We, a group of Israeli musicians who had been living in Germany for years, first studying and then working, used to perform with our local friends and colleagues, so we decided to put some order into this activity,” she says.
The ensemble members are young musicians – award winners of international competitions who perform in the world’s leading orchestras. Among those who will perform in Israel are Shemer, violinists Hed Yaron Mayersohn and Sarah Christian, violist Miriam Manasherov, cellist Valentin Scharff, clarinetist Shelly Ezra and pianist Naaman Wagner.
“We were thrilled to bring our German friends to Israel last year, and we are really looking forward to the upcoming tour,” says Shemer.
The ensemble is named after Jewish German poetess and painter Else Lasker-Schüler (1869 – 1945) who, with the rise of Nazism, escaped to Israel, where she lived in Jerusalem.
“We were looking for an artistic personality who could inspire us, and Lasker-Schüler fit it to perfection. In both her life and her art, she connected Germany and Israel. She was also an unusual person for her time, not the kind of housewife who cared only about kitchen – just the opposite. She was famous for her bohemian lifestyle in Berlin and was even regarded as mad by some,” Shemer says.The concert programs feature pieces by Schumann, Brahms, Weber, Mordehai Seter, Menotti and Nino Rota, varying slightly from venue to venue. For the detailed program, go to www.elseensemble.com/Israel-Tour-2017. May 11 at 8 p.m. at Kibbutz Na’an, 052-223-2556; May 13 at 9 p.m. at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (03) 607-7070; May 17 at 8 p.m. at the Beersheba Conservatory (08) 626-6422; and May 18 at 8:30 p.m. at the Israel Conservatory in Tel Aviv (03) 546-6228.