The strings have it

American conductor Rachael Worby makes her debut in Israel with a programme ranging from Bach and Handel to Vaughn-Williams and Barber.

Although not her first visit to Israel, American conductor Rachael Worby will be performing in Israel for her first time. In America she leads the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, has an international career and is the creative initiator of very popular music education programs in the schools. Click for upcoming events calendar! In October she performed two concerts with soprano Jessye Norman in China. Although she is used to traveling and making herself feel at home wherever she goes, as a Jewish conductor she says she anticipates feeling not only completely but deeply at home here. Worby will be conducting the Herzliya Chamber Orchestra with soloists Ludmilla Ozeritsky, violin, and Shir Shahal, oboe. The title of the program is "The String's the Thing." In fact, it is only the string section of the orchestra that will be performing. The program features Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on a Theme by Tallis; Handel's Concerto Grosso Op. 3, No. 3; Barber's Canzonetta for Oboe and String Orchestra; Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 4; and Mendelssohn's Octet (the orchestral version). Says Worby of the Mendelssohn octet, originally written for four violins, two violas and two cellos: "The Mendelssohn has always been one of my favorite pieces. I think it was Toscanini who first performed the Octet with a full complement of strings, but subsequently many others have. The piece is simply performed note for note exactly as written for eight people, which makes it enormously satisfying and enormously challenging." Canzonetta for Oboe and String Orchestra was American composer Samuel Barber's last piece. It was composed in 1978 and intended as the middle movement of a three-movement oboe concerto commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for Harold Gomberg, the solo oboist of the New York Philharmonic at that time, as one of a series of compositions for solo orchestral instruments. However, the onslaught of cancer, from which Barber died less than three years later, prevented him from finishing the work. "Canzonetta" traditionally means a brief, lyrical song, and Barber uses the oboe to sing very much as the human voice. Although it is relatively modern, it is not atonal (Barber was considered a conservative composer). Says Worby, "I think the audiences will find it an instantly satisfying experience." The concerts will take place at the Herzliya Performing Arts Center on Tuesday January 9 and Saturday January 13 at 8:30 p.m. For further information, call (09) 972-9988.