Wearing many hats

The Tel Aviv Soloists open the season with the premiere of Arie Bar-Droma’s ‘L’estro Melodico’.

The Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble opens its 14th season with a series of concerts between September 12 and 15.
The program features Schubert’s Symphony No. 5; Beethoven’s Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra with piano soloist Alon Goldstein; and the premiere of L’estro Melodico by Arie Bar- Droma, a violist, violinist, composer and arranger.
“This is a romantic piece written in the form of a Baroque suite,” says Bar-Droma. “There is nothing new about this idea, but I think it is a nice piece of music. It was commissioned by the Tel Aviv Soloists’ artistic director Barak Tal even before I joined the ensemble,” explains the musician, who was recently appointed the ensemble’s CEO.
This is not his first experience in the field of music administration, as he served as CEO of the Israeli Chamber Orchestra.
“I worked closely with Barak,” he says. “We spoke on the phone all the time. I think it is much better that way. The music was written for that specific musical body, and the artistic director knew what suited his music forces best. From the seven original movements, he chose five. What we have now is a 22-minute piece, which is not that simple and rather virtuoso.
It includes solos and quartet fragments. As one can see from the title, it is a kind of homage to Vivaldi’s L’estro Armonico,” he explains.
The ensemble, which was founded in 2001, is comprised of young Israeli and international musicians who either study or play solos and chamber music.
“We have seven projects during the concert season,” explains Bar- Droma. “This brings some freshness to the performances because the concert program starts from scratch every time. But I have to admit that Barak runs this business quite skillfully, and within five or six rehearsals he manages to bring the players together.”
As a newcomer to the ensemble, what does Bar-Droma see as its the problems and challenges? “It is the same as in any other music body – money is the problem. People don’t receive salaries but are paid per performance,” he says.
What is his agenda as the new CEO? “I want to bring the ensemble to the level that it really deserves.” he says. “Technically, you can’t call it an orchestra; but then again, this is not just a group of musicians who do their side job, get their paychecks and forget about it. The ensemble is comprised of young musicians who aspire for perfection. For this, they need better conditions, a constant core of, say 10 to 12 players, to which others can be added. They also need to travel more, to hear other musicians.
For this, a larger budget is essential. Granted, we earn up to 70 percent of our budget, but it is not enough.”
One of the concerts will take place in Gush Etzion, beyond the Green Line. Is this a new trend, aimed to gain a wider audience? “This is the first time we are performing there. It will be a special concert, a matinee for younger listeners. We were invited to perform there. And if we are invited again, we will return,” he says.
The Tel Aviv Soloists concerts will be broadcast live at www.u-sophia.com.
The concerts will take place on September 9 at 12:30 p.m. at the Community Center in Alon Shvut (Tel: (02) 993-7999); September 13 at 8:30 p.m. at Rapaport Hall in Haifa (Tel: (04) 836- 3804); September 14 at 8:30 p.m. at the Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv (054-494-0317); and September 15 at 8:30 p.m. at the Weil Center in Kfar Shmaryahu (Tel: (09) 956-9430).