Classical Eilat

Shlomo Mintz, Hagai Shaham, Nikolai Demidenko are just few of the ilustrious musicians in the Second Eilat International Chamber Music Festival.

shlomo mintz 88 (photo credit: )
shlomo mintz 88
(photo credit: )
The Second Eilat International Chamber Music Festival, opening this Wednesday and continuing through March 3, boasts an impressive roster of international ensembles and performers. Many of performers will be long-awaited Israeli debuts, while a number of Israeli musicians will be returning after long absences. Even with such big names as singers Elisabeth von Magnus and Ruth Ziesak, renowned Russian cellist Nikolai Gorokhov, virtuoso trumpet player Sergey Nakariakov, excellent pianist Nikolai Demidenko, the famous Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and the exciting Red Priest chamber ensemble, the list of performers is not complete. The Jerusalem Trio, who spend more time abroad then at home, will perform two programs, while two renowned Israeli violinists, Shlomo Mintz and Hagai Shaham, will appear with the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra from Amsterdam, making its Israeli debut. Shlomo Mintz is best known as a violinist, but in a recent phone interview, he said he's also been playing viola from the age of 25. In Eilat, Mintz will play a solo viola part in Sinfonia Concertante, by Mozart, together with violinist Hagai Shaham. Mintz adds, "Today crossover is much easier. For example, there are musicians who play both clarinet and saxophone, and nobody seems surprised. I see it as a part of the overall integration which the world is undergoing. But once it was more difficult. 'He is a violinist? So why does he play viola?' is what people would say. But I really need viola because of its lower range, and quite a few beautiful pieces have been written for this instrument." Mintz, who was born in Moscow and came to Israel with his parents at the age of two, identifies himself as Israeli. Though he currently lives abroad in the Unted States, he comes here to perform, and above all, to pass on the violin tradition to Israel's younger generation, serving as the patron of the Keshet Eilon International Violinist Master Course. Mintz is not at all taken aback by the creation of classical music festivals in the Red Sea resort town of Eilat. "This is the trend today in Europe and across the world. The concept sounds very logical to me. I haven't performed in Eilat for many years and am happy to come back. I believe that one day Eilat will become an important meeting point between several countries of our region." The Festival's program features 14 concerts taking place at the Eilat Theatre. The repertoire, while quite traditional on the whole with pieces by Mozart, Schubert, Bach, Handel, also provides for modern pieces like "Verklaerte Nacht." There will also be free outdoor concerts. For more details visit the official program website: