Classics for children

Now in its 10th year, the annual Tzlilei Yaldut Festival takes place on September 26-28 at the Holon Theater.

‘Unlike other popular music events for children, the Tzlilei Yaldut Festival, which has pleasure written all over it, has some educational aims as well. We want to reveal the beauty of classical music to the younger generation,” says composer/ pianist/conductor Gil Shohat, the festival’s artistic director. “Since the Education Ministry removed a substantial part of music programs from the school curriculum, cultural institutions and municipalities have taken upon themselves the important task of bringing high-quality culture to the children.”
Shohat, who is the artistic director of several festivals in Israel and abroad, was recently appointed artistic director of the Vermont Mozart Festival. But he maintains that for him, the smallscale Tzlilei Yaldut is still the most important festival of all.
“This festival will bring kids closer to more refined and complex music and theater and will make their future lives much richer.
Taking kids to this festival is the best cultural investment that parents can make.”
But he is fully aware of the fact that “bringing classical music to the little ones is a complicated task and that keeping kids’ attention is far from easy. The line between a captivated child and a bored one is very thin,” he says.
The festival program features several major productions, the main one being Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with the Haifa Symphony under the baton of Shohat.
Israeli animator Dudu Shality, together with his colleagues, has prepared an hour-long mélange of classical animations, starting from Disney and 101 Dalmatians, which will be screened during the concert.
The festival premieres a special Hebrew version of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, in cooperation with the Israeli Opera. This production will be presented in Tel Aviv later this year.
Rinat Gabay, a favorite among little children, will sing a selection of Uzi Hittman’s songs for kids, as well as some classics. And Yoram Carmi, one of Israel’s leading choreographers, presents his Arabian Nights.
And as always, the festival opens with a special concert, dedicated to the children’s department of Wolfson Hospital. This year, the Ra’anana Symphonette and countertenor David De’or participate in the concert as well, with Shohat conducting.
This year there will be a lot of free outdoor activities for children, starting from a very tender age. “We have an outdoor concert for infants, with drummers showing two- and threeyear- olds what rhythm is all about,” concludes Shohat.
For more details, visit For reservations, call (03) 502-3001/2.