Striking a cultural chord

A school in the Galilee is fine-tuning the musicians of tomorrow.

violin 88 (photo credit: )
violin 88
(photo credit: )
In honor of the opening of the GA in Israel, young violinists aged five and up take to the stage of Binyanei Ha'uma to perform together with the Music and Dance Symphony Orchestra in a special concert for the General Assembly of Jewish Federation of North America. These children are students of the Musicians of Tomorrow Association, which is dedicated to raising a future generation of musicians. The Musicians of Tomorrow project was conceived in 2006 by one of the finest violinists of our time, Maxim Vengerov. He firmly believes that if you do not bring up musicians and music lovers today, there will no be place for classical music in the world of tomorrow. When Vengerov inaugurated the new music school in the picturesque village of Migdal, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, he was warmly welcomed by both residents and authorities, who shared his vision. A special wing, which includes two concert halls and five study rooms, was added to the local community center. "Aspiration for excellence is our motto," says the pedagogic coordinator of the project, Anna Rosnovsky. "The idea is to revive the Eastern European music playing tradition, to give the children a broader music education." Today, close to 40 students aged four to 10 attend the music school. They are divided into two streams - those who exhibit exceptional talent and those who are musically gifted. The children receive lessons every day. The students from the first group study two musical instruments and perform concerts in front of an audience biweekly. "We give them as much as we can," says Rosnovsky, who for many years was part of the Israel Philharmonic and left Tel Aviv for Migdal after her retirement. "We teach them piano, cello, guitar, alto, choir singing - and dance and English. We also take them to the Philharmonic concerts. They have performed with orchestras abroad, and two of them have already won prizes at the Canetti International Violin Competition," she says. The children from the Upper Galilee area are taken directly to Migdal after their regular school day, but in the evening they return home. "They spend the entire day together. They play and listen to each other, they eat, rest and do homework, but in the evening they go back to their families. I think that is important. I didn't want to turn it into a boarding school," stresses Rosnovsky. She explains that "There are many talents in the North but not much money for cultural activities. Some of our teachers are volunteers and the children are taught for free; some even receive scholarships. For us, supplying the project with money is a daily concern. The lives of the children from the periphery who joined the project have changed dramatically, so we must keep the school running." And what is their dream? "We want the Musicians of Tomorrow to become an international music school. Why should young Israelis travel to study abroad? Rather, we want students from all over the world to come and learn violin in Israel."