Grapevine: Anniversary season

Stepping from dance to classical music, the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Jerusalem Theatre (photo credit: Rebecca Crown Auditorium)
Jerusalem Theatre
(photo credit: Rebecca Crown Auditorium)
■ TEL AVIV is celebrating a period of festivals and milestone anniversaries – among them the Suzanne Dellal Center’s 25th anniversary. The cultural center held a major happening in its courtyard last week, but general manager Yair Vardi is planning much more, including performances on May 23 and 24 by the Batsheva Dance Company, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Batsheva’s artistic director Ohad Naharin, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s most talented choreographers, is constantly dreaming up new moves for his troupe.
■ STEPPING FROM dance to classical music, the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Held in cooperation with the Tel Aviv Municipality and the Culture and Sport Ministry, the competition will run from May 13 to 29.
Since the competition was established in 1974 by Jan Jacob Bishtritzky, the number of classical music competitions in the world has increased, but the Rubinstein competition has maintained its prestige and attracted some of the finest young musicians from many countries. The event takes place every three years; so far there have been 13 competitions with 600 competitors, and prizes in excess of half a million dollars awarded to a total of 43 pianists. The juries have consisted of 180 international music experts, each of whom has won fame in his or her own right. Prize-winners have gone on to make great careers for themselves.
For the current competition, there were 150 top-flight applicants, and the jury selecting the participants had a difficult time because the level of talent was so high. The 40th anniversary will open with a gala concert at the Tel Aviv Museum on May 13. The pianists will be Daniil Trifonov, who was the first-prize winner in the 13th Rubinstein competition; Roman Rabinovich, who won second prize in the 12th Rubinstein competition; David Fung, the fourth-prize winner of the 12th Rubinstein competition; and students from the Buchmann Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University. Solo singers will be soprano Shira Karmon, mezzo- soprano Avital Dery, tenor Jeffrey Francis and baritone Oded Reich.
Also performing will be percussionists who are students at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, in addition to the Jerusalem Academy Chamber Choir and the Israel Camerata Orchestra conducted by Stanley Sperber. The program will consist of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion Instruments; Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” for Four Pianos, Percussion Instruments, Solo Voices and Mixed Choir; Mozart’s Fantasia No. 3 in D minor, K.397; and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy for Piano, Solo Singers, Mixed Choir and Chamber Orchestra.
■ IN ANOTHER not-too-distant sphere of the arts, the Israel Opera Company is celebrating its 30th season. The rich and varied program will include new operas written in Hebrew based on the works of writers S.Y. Agnon and Hanoch Levin, and composed by Haim Perlmutter and Yoni Rechter. And of course, the tradition of an opera on Masada is being maintained, with La Traviata scheduled for June 16 and 17.
■ MOVING FROM the opera stage to the theater, the Cameri Theater is celebrating its 70th anniversary. In a sense, it is comforting to know that cultural institutions that were established before the creation of the state are still going strong. The Cameri also works toward fostering peace through culture and brings Palestinian and Israeli youngsters together in the theater to watch productions and express their views. Cameri director- general Noam Semel, in a desire to encourage more original Israeli drama at home and abroad, founded the Hanoch Levin Institute of Israeli Drama under the auspices of the theater.
■ PIANO CONCERTS for four hands, and even for six or eight, are not that unusual. But at the Rishon Lezion Spring Festival from May 15 to 24, the diverse program – which encompasses opera, jazz, dance, classical ballet and theater – will include a mega-piano performance on seven Steinways with pianists Rami Kleinstein, Shlomo Gronich, Leonid Ptashka, Victor Stanislavsky, Michael Zertsekel, Omri Mor and Gil Shohat playing together with the Rishon Lezion Symphony Orchestra. Shohat, who likes to blend different genres, is the producer of the 70-finger performance. The performance will include compositions by some of the artists.
■ THE LEMONADE Fund, which concentrates largely on cancer awareness, will host an evening focusing on women’s health issues with particular emphasis on Breast Health. Dr. Zvi Koyfman, chief surgeon and director of the Breast Center at Kfar Saba’s Meir Medical Center, will speak about the latest screening methods and self-examination with a question-and-answer session to follow. The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. on May 12 at the Ohel Ari Congregation, 90 Ravutsky Street, Ra’anana. It is open to women only.