Devoted music lover gets his own concert

Nearly 50 local artists will be performing at the Tel Aviv Museum to pay homage to Moshe Bar Ami, known by many as Israel's biggest music fan.

bar ami 88 298 (photo credit: Maxim Reider)
bar ami 88 298
(photo credit: Maxim Reider)
On February 14, Tel Aviv's foremost music lover will have a concert of his own. Nearly 50 local artists will be performing at the Tel Aviv Museum to pay homage to Moshe Bar Ami, known by many as Israel's biggest music fan. It's been said that if there are two concerts in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem at the same time, Bar Ami will attend both. He is also known as a bit of an eccentric. At 76, Bar Ami is diminutive man, always dressed in black with a black leather cap and a walking stick. He usually sits in the front row and applauds vehemently, exclaiming "bravo" after each performance. Born in Berlin in 1930, Bar Ami immigrated with his parents to Italy and then to the US, which provided safe haven for Jewish refugees. But for Bar Ami, the States is first and foremost "the land of Gershwin and Bernstein." He immigrated to Israel in 1950 and has lived in Tel Aviv ever since. He worked as a clerk his entire life, devoting his spare time to music, despite never receiving a formal music education. He sang in numerous choirs between ages 10 and 70 and even participated in a students' production of "Carmen" 12 years ago, appearing in four different roles. "The first time I met Moshe Bar Ami was some four years ago at the concert of our school choir," recollects 21 year-old pianist, singer, accompanist and producer Hagay Yodan. "We spoke a little and became friends, and since then he comes to almost all of my concerts. So I decided to pay homage to this most devoted music lover." Yodan sent a letter to his musician colleagues asking them to participate in the Bar Ami concert. He has received tens of positive responses. "I thought that if after only four years on the musical stage I feel tremendous gratitude to this man, other musicians, who have seen him in the concert hall for 10, 20 and even 30 years must appreciate him all the more. My guess was right." "Bar Ami decided to donate the proceedings from the concert to the Ronen Foundation, which provides young talented music students with scholarships," explains Yodan. "It was established by Yaffa Israeli in the memory of her music loving son Ronen, who died young almost 15 years ago [at the age of 24]." Nearly six months ago multi-talented Yodan established a company of his own - HYM, Hagay Yodan Music - in order to create special productions, among them, this homage to Bar Ami. Tens of Israeli musicians from three generations, such as pianists Assaf Zoar, Gil Shohat, Hagay Yodan, piano duo Admoni-Kazanawa, violinist Vera Vaidman and pianist Emanuel Krassovsky, violist Haya Livni, cellist Micha Haran, cembalo player Marina Minkin, several chamber ensembles and many other soloists, will participate in the concert. The performance will take place at 8pm. on February 14 at the Tel Aviv Arts Museum. For reservations please call 054-481-1685