(photo credit: DUDI HASSON)
This year’s musical offering takes in a largely classical music-based program, with some literary synergies, a smattering of ethnic material and a rock spot. Jazz fans will be disappointed to note that festival artistic director Itzik Jolie – a theater director and playwright – has dispensed with the genre entirely.
Jolie’s principal line of artistic thought is very much front and center in the June 2 Hours of Freedom: The Story of the Terezín Composer multidisciplinary work, which is based on material written by 15 Jewish composers incarcerated at the Terezín concentration camp. The concert includes film and narration with excerpts of selected works by Viktor Ullmann, Gideon Klein, Zigmund Schul, Pavel Haas, Rudolf Karel and 10 others, who were considered the natural successors of the renowned Czech composers. Most of the works that will be performed were the last ever composed by these young artists, who were in their twenties and thirties when they were sent to their deaths. American conductor Murry Sidlin will preside over the live onstage proceedings, which take in the efforts of actress Sharon Hacohen Bar, pianist Philip Silver, the Fama String Quartet from the Czech Republic and musicians from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.
There is another Holocaust connection, in an intriguing confluence between acclaimed American cellist-composer Sonia Wieder-Atherton, in the Odyssey production based on the cellist’s eponymous composition, and texts by writer and Holocaust survivor Aharon Appelfeld.
There are some charming extramural classical music offerings at the Eden-Tamir Music Center in Ein Kerem. The three-concert Symphonic Piano Series will feature works by Liszt, Stravinsky, late 19th-early 20th century French composer Paul Dukas, Beethoven and Ravel, performed by the likes of the Tami Kanazawa-Yuval Admony Duo, Michael Zartsekel, Dror Semmel and Ron Trachtman.
The country’s multicultural core will resonate in the May 31 Jerusalem Theater collaboration between the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Mendi Rodan Symphony Orchestra of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.
The concert, which will be conducted by Eitan Globerson and Michael Wolpe, features fusions of Yemenite folk song and contemporary classical music, as well as numbers made famous by Yemenite-born diva Shoshana Damari and iconic Lebanese singer Fairuz.
Rock fans who like their music seasoned with some ethnic flavoring will be happy to see the inclusion of guitarist-vocalist Dudu Tassa and his Kuwaitis band. For some years now, Tassa has been recording and performing his contemporary takes on music written and performed by his grandfather Daoud al-Kuwaiti and great-uncle Sallah al-Kuwaiti. Tassa’s nine-piece band will be joined on June 4 by pop singers Yehudit Ravitz and Mira Awad.
Rock fans of more mature vintage should be happy with the tribute to seminal 1980s Israeli new wave band The Clique at the Yellow Submarine on May 26. The lineup for the occasion includes five leading indie acts – Vaadat Charigim (“Exceptions Committee”), Hamasach Halavan (“White Screen”), I Was a Bastard, Aviv Mark and HaNetzach (“Eternity”), and Hila Ruach, who will play new arrangements of songs by the Clique as well as their own original material influenced by the band.
Literature and music also combine, with added theatrical endeavor, for the Breaking the Lines slot at Zappa Jerusalem on May 27. The disciplinary crossover show features poets Ronny Someck, Haviva Pedaya and Dory Manor who will share creative encounters with The Tziporela Ensemble thespian group, rocker Dikla and rock-pop singer-pianist Shlomi Shaban. The show also includes some verbal tete-a-tetes that look at such topics as the interface between songwriting and composition, mysticism, love and poetry.
Elsewhere the Castle in Time Orchestra will dish up a high-energy offering of classical music filtered through indie and electronic sounds, while playwright-actress Nava Frenkel will join forces with actor-musician Yoni Silver, dancer Shani Granot and musician Guy Scharf in an intriguing tribute to legendary left-field blind composer, musician and poet Louis Thomas Hardin, better known as Moondog, who was a fixture on the streets of New York City in the 1940s-1960s, wearing a cloak and a Viking-style helmet with horns.