A prized performance

The Tel Aviv Soloist Ensemble will be performing a concert to honor this year's Israel Prize winners in music, internationally renowned conductor Mendi Rodan and pianist Pnina ("Israel's first lady of piano") Saltzman. The performance is billed as a gala event, and will be hosted by Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai and attended by MKs Yuli Tamir and Ophir Paz-Pines. The event takes place this Sunday at 8:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv. The Soloists Ensemble, founded in 2001 by conductor Barak Tal, showcases the talents of musicians in their twenties and thirties. To celebrate this year's honorees, the ensemble will perform 19th- century chamber works by Schubert, Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Grieg. Managing Director Bilha Rubenstein explains that there is an intimate chemistry between the performers that allows for a "fresh, creative interpretation" of the pieces they perform. Indeed, the works chosen reflect the innovative characteristics of the ensemble itself. Leading off the program will be Schubert's "Quartettsatz (Quartet movement)" in C minor - a vivacious movement somewhat reminiscent of the composer's other great uncompleted work, the Unfinished Symphony. A rather neglected masterpiece combining great drama, solid structure and melodic lyricism, Dvorak's Piano Quartet No.2 in E-flat major, Op.87, is listed second, followed by another all-too-often overlooked romantic gem, Mendelssohn's spirited String Quintet No.2 in B-flat major, Op. 87. Closing out the concert will be Grieg's wonderfully picturesque Holberg Suite. The two primary chamber groups of the ensemble, the Contemporary Quartet and the Zamir Ensemble, will be performing Schubert and Dvorak, respectively. A combination of the Soloists' other members will play the Mendelssohn, while the entire Ensemble will unite for the Grieg. Salzman and Rodan won't just sit idly by while being honored. The pair will take part in the program by performing in some of the pieces themselves. Saltzman will play the Dvorak piece, while Rodan will conduct the Holberg Suite. Both honorees have been involved with the ensemble before: Saltzman has been performing with members of the ensemble almost since its inception, while Barak Tal has been studying under Maestro Rodan for the past few years.