Netanya Kibbutz Orchestra’s season opens with ‘Bridges and Friendship’

The NKO will celebrate the opening of its 49th season, from September 13 to 22, with a series of eight concerts.

THE NETANYA KIBBUTZ ORCHESTRA with Christian Lindberg and Shmuel Elbaz.  (photo credit: KFIR BOLOTIN)
THE NETANYA KIBBUTZ ORCHESTRA with Christian Lindberg and Shmuel Elbaz.
(photo credit: KFIR BOLOTIN)
‘Many countries today worry about their borders,” says Maestro Christian Lindberg from his home in Sweden. “I believe music opens and transcends borders.”
With a voice filled with exuberance, he describes plans and ideas for his fourth season as music director of the Netanya Kibbutz Orchestra. “During my three years as music director, one of the most exciting friendships I have built is with Shmuel Elbaz, who is the resident conductor of the NKO. His musicianship, both as a conductor and virtuosic soloist, (mandolin) is extraordinary, and sharing the opening program is a dream come true.”
Elbaz agrees. “Three years ago I thought two conductors sharing one orchestra could be a challenge. However, I have found in Christian Lindberg a true professional, a fine musician and a friend. We are in constant contact, and collaborate regularly through the phone and Internet. He is a pleasure to work with. One of my responsibilities is to choose the repertoire for the year and he is truly supportive.”
“My duties include conducting a certain number of the season’s concerts,” explains Elbaz, “and, this year, Maestro Lindberg will be in Israel an additional time, conducting three series of NKO concerts. I am impressed not only by his high overall musicianship, but also how he looks to the future of the orchestra. His finger is on the artistic pulse, and he wants to know the details of every concert and reactions of the audience.”
The NKO will celebrate the opening of its 49th season, from September 13 to 22, with a series of eight concerts throughout Israel. Beginning at Giv’at Brenner, they will perform at Ein Hashofet, Beit Gavriel, Nahariya, Netanya, Dorot, Tel Aviv (Museum of Art, Recanati Auditorium) and Ein Hahoresh.
“Personally,” Lindberg remarks, “a high point of last year’s NKO series was when two of Sweden’s choirs performed ‘Hatikvah,’ set to an arrangement composed by a Swedish composer. The harmonies were different, but the beauty and meaning of ‘Hatikvah’ remained the same. This was the impetus for building our new 2019-20 season, entitled ‘Bridges and Friendship.’”
The NKO gala opening concert will begin with Mozart’s Symphony No. 34 and close with Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 “Classical.” The program will also feature the Israeli composer Oded Zehavi: “Piut” – a concerto for mandolin and orchestra with Elbaz as soloist.
“I believe the NKO is unique in the world in their loyalty to communities in the periphery,” Lindberg said,.“ It’s a huge undertaking – travel time, setting up and doing sound checks. It is also a challenge for the musicians who are professionals and put forth effort in each program to be their best.”
“An added challenge is to play the same program in eight different concert halls, some of which are fine and others not quite ‘Carnegie Hall,’” he adds with a chuckle. “Nevertheless, the orchestra knows to adjust to the various acoustics of the hall, and the enthusiasm we receive from the audience heightens our spirit. The State of Israel should be proud of the musicians – I know I am.”
Lindberg is also a prolific composer, and his piece “Black Hawk Eagle” will share the second half of the concert with Swedish composer, Andrea Tarrodi’s “Paradise Birds for Orchestra.” Tarrodi is a young composer whose works are now being premiered and played worldwide. Last year, her compositions were heard in Albert Hall at the BBC PROMS concerts.
“An exciting facet of music is not only to hear and revel in great compositions that one knows and loves, but also to have the opportunity to sample what is new. I have been delighted to bring Swedish, European and American artists and music to the Israel NKO stage,” says Lindberg. “During the month of September, for the first time, our NKO will perform in Sweden at three of their grandest halls.”
“In addition, for the first time,” continues Elbaz, “the NKO will have a distinguished, resident composer, Eugene Levitas, who will compose five compositions for this season. We also have a new, prestigious First Guest Conductor, Guy Braunstein, conducting the Rising Star Series in January, with Lotem Taub, soprano, and Itamar Hildesheim, baritone.”
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