Keeping time with Hadas Peeri

"I believe that now the time of electronics has come,” says young Israeli composer Hadas Peeri, the Prime Minister Prize winner.

Hadas Peeri (photo credit: NAOMI DAHAN)
Hadas Peeri
(photo credit: NAOMI DAHAN)
Music-making has been developing all the time. During the Baroque period, orchestras included mostly strings and a harpsichord, and over the years, woodwind, brass and percussions joined. "I believe that now the time of electronics has come,” says young Israeli composer Hadas Peeri, the Prime Minister Prize winner, whose new piece “The Time Is Not Working Properly” will be world premiered by the Israeli Contemporary Players Saturday February 9th in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem next day. 
“Electronic music is about a new listening experience,” she says. “When coming to a traditional concert, you know exactly what to expect – where the sound will be coming from and how it will be connected to the musician’s movements. With electronic music it is all different – music might be coming not from the stage and not especially being a result of the performer’s immediate actions. I find it interesting. So I feel like entering a concert hall and saying – OK, we already know it all, let’s put it aside and make something new.” 
But does it sound like an intellectual game rather than an emotional experience?
“It is both. Also, a lot depends on the audience. In such countries as France and Germany, where kids including those coming from far-from-wealthy families are well familiar with contemporary music and most experimental pieces are performed by philharmonic orchestras, people can emotionally relate to this kind of music. It is different in Israel, where the youth is not familiar with classical music, with an exception of a few master pieces performed by orchestras, if at all. Yet again, it is known that unexpected and surprising sounds and effects in music pieces may cause emotional reactions.” 
Peeri was born into a family of scientists and programmers, so computers have never been strange to her. In her childhood, she played violin and piano as well as other instruments, double bass and bassoon among them. After completing her first academic degree in composition at Mannes School of Music in New York, she continued to France, where she studied electronic music. 
“I really liked it. I’ve realized that there are many possibilities in electronic music, which traditional instruments do not offer. The sound, the perception of time and space – everything is different,” confides Peeri. “I just knew that this was what I wanted to do.” She has also returned to computing and is nowadays in high demand. “There are not-so many musicians who know programming and programmers who understand music,” she smiles. 
Among other things, she cooperates with choreographers. “I develop special sensors which are then fixed on dancers’ body. Their movements are perceived by my computer and change various characteristics of the sound. What I like about it is that the choreographer and I really create these multimedia pieces together, and not that I compose the music while the choreographer stages the dance.”
The concert program also features Alter Ego Concerto for piano, bass clarinet and ensemble by Ivo Medek, and Chamber Concerto by György Ligeti. The soloists are Sara Medkova of Czech Republic (piano and voice) and Tibi Cziger of Israel (bass-clarinet). Hungarian maestro Zsolt Nagy conducts.
The concerts take place February 9 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (for reservations: 03-6077070) and February 10 at Mishkenot Sha’ananim Music Center in Jerusalem (for reservations: 02-6241041). The concerts start at 8:00 p.m.