More than an end-of-season concert

Yaron Gottfried bids farewell to the Netanya Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra.

Netanya Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra (photo credit: Courtesy)
Netanya Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Between June 27 – July 7, the Netanya Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra will tour Israel with a special concert, as: in this end-of- season series, artistic director conductor, pianist and composer Yaron Gottfried will bid farewell to his orchestra.
“The festive program suits both the end of the season and the end of the term period of my directorship,” says Gottfried in a Skype interview from his home. “It will open with my Concerto for Two Violins , which I wrote 10 years ago and has become my first piece, performed by the Kibbutz Orchestra.
Like Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins , it consists of three movements, but that is the only similarity. In my concerto, which is kind of a dialogue between the soloists, I widely use Indian ragas, but I treat the music in a Western way. The concerto has been performed abroad quite a few times.
Other pieces in the program include Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 , which is a very beautiful and very rarely performed piece.”
The Ihud Choir and young Israeli soloists will also participate.
Looking back at the 11 years of his artistic directorship, Gottfried says: “I am proud of what I have managed to do in these years. I mean not only various activities but, above all, creating the new infrastructure that has become an inseparable part of the orchestra. Today, it seems like it has always like that, but it cost me a lot of energy and many sleepless nights. And I leave behind me a new orchestra, which over the years has become one of this country’s leading.”
Gottfried’s major achievement is creating the new, clear identity of the orchestra, based on an updated approach to classical music and its place in the concert life of modern society.
“It was necessary to veer away from the outdated conservative approach to programming. We brought together different genres and styles; every concert has become a new kind of encounter between audience and music. This includes, for example, bringing together folklore and classical music, but not for the sake of originality. In one of our programs, we performed Hungarian folk music and pieces by Bartok, revealing the roots of the composer’s inspiration.
There has always been a connection among the arts, which met each other on our concert stage, be it dance (we even commissioned dance pieces from local ensembles for our concerts), jazz, video art (also special productions) or literature, whatever.
We also brought symphony concerts to audiences who live in the peripheral areas. However, we have never abandoned the music mainstream. For example, together with an excellent choir from Germany, we performed a lot of Bach’s choral works and many classical pieces that are loved and demanded by the audience. This made the orchestra far more flexible.
And, by the way, in the most positive manner, I replaced about two-thirds of the orchestra members with young musicians. This has not only improved the overall level of performance, but it also changed our reputation in the eyes of potential audiences and colleagues. The number of subscriptions has doubled.
And there are many other projects that will hopefully stay forever, such as our educational project Music Experience, which embraces 18,000 schoolchildren in the center of the country. When I came to the orchestra, nothing like that existed; it was created from scratch. The project, which we see as the most important, not only builds our audience of tomorrow but also generates money for the orchestra.
And also, the Association of the Orchestra Friends, which supports and promotes us and was most instrumental in our survival, when it came out that the kibbutz movement was unable to support us anymore, we had to look for a new home if we wanted to stay afloat. And we found it in Netanya.”
This is only part of the changes that Gottfried has brought to the orchestra. Now he is looking forward to working on projects of his own, which include local and international conducting tours, composing, recordings and more.

The concerts take place June 27 – July 7 in Netanya, Naharia, Ein Hashofet, Tel Aviv and other venues around the country. For more information and reservations: 077-466-1766.

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