Jerusalem Chamber Fest celebrates 10 years

Among other pieces, the festival offers art songs by Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler and more.

The Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival is getting ready to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, with the 2007 event set to take place August 31 through September 12 at Jerusalem's YMCA performance hall. More than 80 top international and Israeli musicians will take part in the concert series, which despite tentative beginnings has become one of the country's major chamber music events. This year's roster of performers is as impressive as usual and includes musicians who have been a part of the festival since its first years, among them cellist Mischa Maisky; violinists Gidon Kremer, Guy Braunstein, Nikolaj Znaider and Renaud Capucon; and pianists Oleg Meissenberg, Kirill Gershtein, Ascher Fisch and Elena Bashkirova, who also serves as the festival's artistic director. Other returning participants this year include legendary horn player Dale Clevenger and singer Robert Holl. Those making their festival debuts include baritone Roman Trekel, rising cellist Johannes Moser, violist Nobuko Imai and bassoonist Klaus Thunemann. The festival has become known over its decade-long history for facilitating joint performances by soloists who don't normally share the same stage. The festival's rich program focuses this year on the late styles of composers including Bach, Stravinsky and Ligeti. Pieces receiving special attention during the festival include "Metamorphosen," by Richard Strauss, which will be performed in its original version for 23 players. Kremer will play Bartok's "Sonata" violin solo, while Brahms' "Four Serious Psalms" will be sung by the Dutch Holl. Among other pieces, the festival offers lieder (art songs) by Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler and Hugo Wolf, as well as songs rarely performed in Israel by Victor Ullmann, a Jewish composer who died in the Holocaust. On the whole, the festival program is a mixture of familiar chamber pieces, among them Beethoven's "Archduke Trio," and pieces that will be less recognizable to the general public. The festival traditionally commissions new pieces from young composers, and this year's include "Me'urav Yerushalmi, a Quintet for Piano and Winds" by Los Angeles-based Israeli Avner Dorman, and a piano trio by German composer Christian Jost. Elsewhere on the schedule, "Adagio" from Mahler's last symphony has been arranged for a chamber ensemble by American composer Cliff Colnot. Master classes with pianist Dmitri Bashkirov and bassoonist Klaus Thunemann will be held in cooperation with the Mishkenot Sha'ananim Music Center. Detailed program information can be found at Tickets can be purchased by calling (02) 625-0444.