Hitting the bulls-eye at Keshet Eilon

Innovative violin mastercourse turns 20.

Edward Grach 311 (photo credit: Sarit Uzieli)
Edward Grach 311
(photo credit: Sarit Uzieli)
The young participants at the Keshet Eilon International Violin Mastercourse do it in triplicate.
There’s the bow they make to an audience, the one they play the violin with, and the one they shoot arrows from.
Keshet Eilon – keshet means bow in Hebrew – turns 20 this year. The annual event, to be held as usual at Kibbutz Eilon in the Western Galilee, takes place from July 25 – August 12. That’s three weeks of masterclasses, group and individual instruction, performance and trying to hit the bulls-eye with an arrow.
The young musicians, some 50 of them from all over the world, study under some of the greatest artists in the world. These include the legendary Ida Haendel, Haim Taub, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Turkey’s Cihat Askin, Hagai Shaham – and, of course, Shlomo Mintz, whose baby Keshet Eilon has been from the very first day.
The big event this year will be laying of the cornerstone for the new Eilon Music Center campus on August 11, and that was a pipe dream 20 years back. There’ll be a chamber music workshop, one on Jewish music, the usual masterclasses and nightly concerts that are open to the public for free, and two galas (not free).
The opening gala at Eilon July 27 features some of the Keshet Eilon grads of the last 20 years.
The gala on August 4 will be at the Tel Aviv Opera House and features not only the talents of Mintz, Haendel and Shaham, but also the world premiere of “Ararat,” by master oudist/violinist Yair Dallal.
But why teach archery at a violin music camp? It all started when master violin maker Amnon Weinstein got enthused about archery and invited his buddy Mintz to have a go. Mintz learned in a day what other beginners learn in a week, the astonished Weinstein discovered.
He persuaded top archery coach Alexander Lachter, then a new immigrant from the FSU, to teach the kids – and presto. They too learned fast, and archery improved their stance and their confidence, they said.
Last year, 19-year-old Swiss violinist Eurydice Vernay wrote enthusiastically that Keshet Eilon “was clearly the best master-course I ever attended and one of the greatest musical experiences I ever had … I never had the chance to study with so many exceptional teachers in such a short time, and I couldn’t believe we were offered the honor to play for Ida Haendel!” Bulls-eye, indeed.