Israel Music Festival: Celebrating local talent and inspiration – Israel Culture

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The 26 Israel Music Festival will take place September 18-22 in Jerusalem, Zichron Yaakov, Haifa, Beersheba, and Tel Aviv, offering free concerts and events to the Israeli public.

Conductor Yuval Zoran, the artistic director of this major event in the Israeli musical calendar, has put together an impressive lineup dedicated to the variegated artistic Israeli Music that began with local composers even before the establishment of the state. The festival will host dozens of concerts and performances, presenting iconic works by masters from the early years alongside premiers of contemporary works, mixing old and new as well as East and West, performed by musicians, orchestras, choirs, and solo musicians of all genres.

This year’s program includes several concerts and performances for the whole family, as well as special events such as the premier of an original opera Mei Tehom (Groundwater) with music and libretto by Tamar Shalit James; an open-air walking-listening tour; and a tribute concert by Jerusalem’s Firqat Alnoor orchestra created in 2013 in the image of the 1950s-1980s Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Kol Israel Arab Orchestra.

According to the festival’s musical director, the rich program represents the variegated musical genres and styles that make up the music of Israel.

“The musical mosaic of the festival includes a history of 100 years of original creation, performed by some of our best musicians.” These include the prestigious Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the 21st Century Ensemble, the Tremolo Ensemble, and the Haifa Symphony Orchestra.

JERUSALEM SYMPHONY Orchestra. (credit: Avina Golan)

A few of the highlights of the program include a concert with stellar concert pianist Ofra Yitzhaki – described by New York Magazine as “downright sensational” – interpreting Josef Tal’s piano Concerto No. 1, for the first time since the 1940s. 

In the same concert, representing the younger generation of Israeli artistic musicians, the pianist will give the world premiere of a new work by composer Talia Amar.

The Haifa Symphony Orchestra will perform Israeliana by Mark Lavry, with violinist Yael Barolsky (September 20 at 8:30 p.m., Haifa). Lavry, an Israeli composer and conductor who immigrated to Israel in 1936 was instrumental in the development of the Mediterranean School of Composition that merged elements of oriental Jewish and Arab music with modern European classical music. Also in the concert program are premiers of contemporary composers Omri Kochavi, Barcha Bdil, and Shai Cohen.

Noteworthy performances

Another noteworthy concert is the first performance of a work by composer Verdina Shlonsky (1905-1990), Movement of the Air, which may prove very interesting. Also in the same concert’s program performed by Ensemble 21 Century are works by Ayal Adler, Yitzhak Yedid, and Eitan Steinberg.

The new musical director of the Israeli Sinfonietta Beer Sheva, Rani Calderon, will join forces with young recorder virtuoso Menashe Lukin, to perform the Recorder Concerto by Michael Volpe, as well as works by Ronnie Reshef and Erel Paz.

The opera Mei Tehom tells the story of David, a flamboyant artist who suffers from dementia and is supported by his lover Raphael. It will be performed on the last day of the festival by the Meitar Ensemble, conducted by Edo Frenkel, on September 22 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Habait Theater in Tel Aviv.

A projection of the iconic murder mystery The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, will take place September 18 at the Jerusalem theater. The screening will be accompanied by live music composed and performed by Yuval Gotlibovich. The 1920 German silent horror film tells the story of an insane hypnotist who uses a somnambulist to commit murders – and with live music, it promises to be quite an experience.

The performances of Firqat Alnoor orchestra are always interesting, and their concert will pay tribute to one of the best orchestras of Arabic Music that has performed in the Middle East (September 19 at Elma Hotel in Zichron Yaakov). The concert program includes pieces composed by musicians of the legendary orchestra, most of which have never been performed. 

Musethica is a unique musical program that promotes young musicians and presents chamber music concerts in “the geographical as well as social periphery of Israel, focusing on people with special needs.” Musethica will showcase a chamber music concert (September 19 at Elma Hotel in Zichron Yaakov).

Between the Nile and the Atlas Mountains is the musical collaboration of renowned jazz pianist and composer Omri Mor, and saxophonist and singer Abatte Barihun, who combines musical elements from his Ethiopian heritage. The two stellar musicians will bring a fascinating mix of these inspirations to Elma September 19. 

For the complete program, dates, hours and more information about the concerts go to Entry to all performances is free pending preregistration. To reserve your seats go to

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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