Classical winter break

A major international chamber music festival with a wide variety of local and European talent will open this week in Eilat.

concerto koln 88.298 (photo credit: )
concerto koln 88.298
(photo credit: )
The country's newest chamber music festival, Classic Winter in Eilat, starts its three-day run Thursday. "For many years I've been dreaming of inaugurating a major international chamber music event in Eilat, and now it's coming true," says violinist Leonid Rozenberg, the festival's artistic director and head of the town's local conservatory. The festival is the initiative of the Eilat municipality and is supported by the Red Sea Tourism Authority. During this long weekend, the Red Sea resort town will host both internationally acclaimed artists and their younger colleagues. The legendary Ida Haendel, one of the great violinists of the 20th century, will perform with the young iPalpiti ("Heartbeats" in Italian) orchestra. The orchestra's players, aged between 19 and 30, have each won prestigious international awards and represent 20 countries. During the festival, iPalpiti will perform as an orchestra under the baton of its founder, violinist/conductor Eduard Schmieder, as well as in smaller chamber ensembles. Another renowned soloist is pianist Evgeny Koroliov, regarded as one of the most interesting interpreters of J.S. Bach. He will be playing Bach's "Goldberg Variations." The Concerto K ln, a world-acclaimed Baroque instrumental ensemble, will make its Israel debut at the festival. Two fine young Israeli chamber ensembles will also be participating. One is the Aviv Quartet, which combines globetrotting with performances at home; the other, the Jerusalem Trio, nowadays performs mostly abroad. The sumptuous program features pieces from Bach to Piazzola, from Sammartini to Shostakovich. The concerts will take place in various halls, theaters and hotels throughout the resort town. For its concluding concert Saturday night (February 26), the festival moves north to Jerusalem, where the young iPalpiti players will perform an eclectic program of Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 10, Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony, and Piazzola's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires at the YMCA hall there. Prices range from NIS 50 to 120 (NIS 40 to 100 for Eilat residents). Tickets and information at (08) 634-0253; Israir tour company holiday packages: (03) 795-7000, or visit