The road taken

Now a composer, pianist and student yet again, Uri Brener could never have imagined this life growing up in Moscow.

ury brenner 88 224 (photo credit: )
ury brenner 88 224
(photo credit: )
Composer/pianist/bassoonist Uri Brener has walked a long, winding road to get where he is today. He's traveled far, both physically and spiritually. And it shows in his music. "I define my style as a crossover, a mixture of everything I've gone through as a musician. You can find modern jazz there, classical and romantic music; in fact everything from 12th century troubadour music to Scriabin to my own compositions." Brener released his debut album, A Walk, about three months ago, filled with piano reflecting his wide-ranging sound. He is performing the album tonight. "All this is woven around my personality, my inner self, what I am. The recital (and the album, for that matter) is not a selection of numbers either, but emerges as a global composition, which is built up during the recital." Brener's personal story is far from usual. Born into a Moscow musical family, he started playing piano at the age of four and later studied music at Moscow's most prestigious school, Gnessin State Musical College. By the late 80s, with the beginning of perestroika and the ability for Israeli representatives to act openly in the Soviet capital, he discovered his Jewish legacy. Brener was 17 when his family moved to Germany. What was supposed to be a short stop lasted for six years, during which he studied composition in Düsseldorf. "That was another planet. Everything that was regarded good in Russia was seen as bad there, and vice versa. Shostakovich? Prokofiev? Forget it!" Despite years in Germany, he never quite felt like he belonged. So Brener, together with his young wife, finally immigrated in Israel. Here, he entered a yeshiva and completely abandoned music. But one day he sat down at a piano and started improvising. The recording of this music reached a Voice of Music radio editor - and his career started anew. Nowadays, Brener, who lives in an Orthodox community near Jerusalem with his wife and four kids, is composer-in-residence of the Israel Sinfonietta Beersheba. He is also working on his doctoral degree in composition at Bar-Ilan University, and he plays as a concert pianist. Brener recently won a prestigious ACUM prize for his concerto for piano and orchestra, Blarings, Clouds, Celebrations. Brener will play tonight at Tel Aviv's Einav Cultural Center at 8:30. For reservations: (03) 604-5000.