Classical: Remembering Gary Bertini

A series of vocal concerts will echo across the country.

March 30, 2015 16:10
2 minute read.
Gary Bertini

Gary Bertini. (photo credit: AKIRO KINOSHITA)

The Gary Bertini Israeli Choir, named after prominent Israeli conductor, music life organizer and pedagogue Gary Bertini, commemorates 10 years of Bertini’s death with a series of vocal concerts. The Netanya/Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra, other choirs, as well as leading soloists, join the celebration of the human voice. The concerts will take place in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Rishon Lezion, Haifa and Abu Ghosh between March 30 and April 24.

"Gary was a pioneer in this field," says Haggi Goren, the initiator of the series, who co-founded the Bertini Choir with maestro Ronen Borshevsky in 2009. "The choir was created together with the Israel Philharmonic to answer the highest professional demands. Since then, it has performed more than 150 times in Israel and abroad. For me, this music ensemble is the beating heart of Gary Bertini," says Goren.

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Speaking about Bertini, he says, "In addition to his international activities, which continued almost to his last days, Bertini inaugurated several music bodies in Israel, such as the Israeli Chamber Orchestra in 1965 and the Rinat Choir in 1955. Rinat was created according to the top professional criteria.

What can I say? At the time, it was like bringing a classical ballet performance from Saint Petersburg to the Negev Desert." The series starts on March 30 with a special concert called In the Spirit of Gary, explains Goren.

"It will open with a nostalgic event in the lobby of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art [at 6:30 p.m.], dedicated to the Rinat Choir. The audience will sing together with the highly professional Jerusalem Music Academy choir under Stanley Sperber, who will lead the amateur singers. We have invited several veterans of the Rinat Choir. The repertoire is that of Rinat – mostly madrigals and chorals. Admission to this part of the concert is free. The series is sponsored by the Tel Aviv Municipality, and the family of the late maestro Bertini has donated a reasonable amount of money," he says.

The concert itself will begin at 8:30 p.m.

“That is when Bertini's spirit will come alive," stresses Goren. "The Netanya/Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra, the Gary Bertini Choir and the Jerusalem Academy Choir, as well as soloists, will take part in the evening. We will open with three a cappella pieces, starting with “The Birds,” a famous old Catalan song that Bertini arranged for a choir and performed it for Pablo Casals, bringing the latter to tears. Pieces by Monteverdi and Rossi, who were Gary's specialties will follow. And then Brahms’s Liebes Lieder, arranged by Brahms for choir and orchestra, which have not been performed in Israel for at least 40 years." The a cappella pieces performed by the Jerusalem Academy Choir under Sperber will follow. At the end of the concert, the two orchestras will join forces under the baton of maestro Avi Ostrovsky.

The program will be repeated (with the exception of the Rinat homage) on April 7 at the Jerusalem Theatre.

Additional concerts will take place on April 11 in Haifa's Mar Elias Church; April 18 in Abu Ghosh; and April 24 in Rishon Lezion, offering a varied repertoire that includes contemporary pieces for choir. For reservations, call *3221 or (02) 560-0575.

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