New year, new format

The Israel Chamber Orchestra devises an exciting season.

The Israeli Chamber Orchestra  (photo credit: EYAL HIRSCH)
The Israeli Chamber Orchestra
(photo credit: EYAL HIRSCH)
The Israel Chamber Orchestra launches its new season with Mozart’s Requiem, featuring young Israeli vocalists performing solo parts, as well as Song of the Songs by Israeli composer and conductor Noam Sheriff. ICO artistic director Ariel Zuckerman will lead the orchestra and play the flute solo in Sheriff’s piece.
The orchestra, one of the oldest in the country, is obviously on the rise. Many ambitious young musicians have joined the orchestra, some of whom have returned from abroad to become part of the renewed ICO.
“One of our aims is to bring Israeli musicians back home,” says Zuckerman in a phone interview from Australia, where he is currently on tour. “The entire management has changed,” he adds. “We want to make the orchestra more attractive. After all, the ICO is an old orchestra and is well known in the world. Even here in Australia, people know it. Maybe one day we will bring it to perform here.”
In regard to the program of the upcoming concert, Zuckerman says, “This is for the first time I will perform Sheriff’s wonderful piece. The orchestra recently performed a piece by Egon Partosh for flute and orchestra.
Noam Sheriff, who was immensely impressed by the level of the performance, suggested that one day we should also play his piece. Song of Songs, commissioned to Sheriff by James Galloway, is one of the most beautiful Israeli pieces ever written, and I believe that performing it at the opening concert is just the right thing. It is one of those compositions that are difficult to perform yet easy to perceive and enjoy. Later this season, in November, we will perform Poulenc’s symphony, which is less known to local audiences, and I think they should hear it.”
As for the season’s program, Zuckerman says, “The idea is to appeal to wider audiences, to perform more beautiful and challenging music, including works by Israeli composers, to combine familiar masterpieces with music written here and now, as well as to bring the best soloists possible, both international and Israeli.”
This is not only the repertoire that Zuckerman and his supportive orchestra want to change.
“We want to tell a wider story, to break the old concert structure of overture, concerto, symphony,” he explains. “In one of the concerts, we will perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.
3, but not only. It will be preceded by Adagio by Betty Olivero and followed by Elegy for Strings by Bardanashvili. These are short and beautiful pieces – and that is our message to the audience: not to be afraid of music written here and now but rather to meet and enjoy it.”
Another example of renovation, he says, is an “academic concert, a form that existed 300 years ago.
At the time, sometimes they did not perform entire pieces but several movements of different pieces. So our concert will be a specially organized mixture of pieces by Mozart and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.”
Zuckerman, for whom this is his third season with the ICO, says the orchestra receives a lot of positive and enthusiastic feedback from its audiences, both veteran and devoted and young and new.
Among the soloists who will perform with the ICO are singers David D’Or and Keren Hadar, pianist Lucas Vondracek and violinist and conductor Andres Mustonen. Along with familiar pieces, such as Mozart’s Requiem and Misa Criolla by Ramirez, there will be rarely performed compositions, such as the opera The Emperor of Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann, who perished in the Holocaust.
The season’s programs will also include lectures about music and musicians, encounters with the soloists and orchestra members, as well as walking tours. In other words, goodbye routine and boredom, long live fresh and beautiful music.
The concerts take place on September 11 at 8:30 p.m. at Heichal Hatarbut in Karmiel; September 12 at 7 p.m. & September 13 at 8 p.m. at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; and September 18 at 8 p.m. at the YMCA in Jerusalem. For reservations: or (03) 518-8845. For more details, visit