Collected forces

Yaron Gottfried * Phot Israel Malovani

Yaron Gottfried * Phot Israel Malovani

As this musical season draws to a close, the phrase “going out with a bang” seems apt.
“For our closing concert, together with my colleague and friend Doron Salomon [the artistic director of the Beersheba Sinfonietta], we decided to treat our audiences to monumental pieces that demand a larger orchestra. We’ve done it in the past and plan to repeat it next season,” says the artistic director of the Israel Kibbutz Orchestra, Yaron Gottfried.

This Saturday night, two local chamber orchestras – the Israel Kibbutz Orchestra and Israel Sinfonietta Beersheba – will join forces to present an all-Russian program, featuring Rachmaninoff’s Second concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth symphony.

“Nothing more can be said about these pieces,” he smiles. “These are simply gems. Tchaikovsky himself said that he would never be able to compose anything better; and as for Rachmaninoff’s concerto – the world-renowned pianist Alexander Korsantia [who will play with the orchestra] is especially good in this repertoire.”

Pianist, composer and conductor Gottfried, who was appointed director of the Kibbutz Orchestra seven years ago, has a strongly held belief: From his very first day in the position, he said, “A concert is not a museum, it has to be relevant, open, vivid.”

And now he feels others have picked up on it. “Today I see that other orchestras have followed our pattern and integrate jazz, world music and dance into their programs. If they do it well – I am only happy for them!”

Over the years, Gottfried’s innovative approach has proven right. The orchestra has doubled both its audience and the annual number of concerts, playing about 120 shows a year. And this figure excludes the orchestra’s educational programs. Gottfried compares these programs to those of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; they are built in three-year cycles. “Within the framework of this program, we are responsible for 10,000 students throughout the country. It means an additional 120 chamber and 20 orchestral concerts for the young audience.”

Next year, the orchestra will celebrate its 40th anniversary. “It has never been a bad orchestra,” notes Gottfried, “but the many young musicians who have joined us give it an invigorating push.”

The program for next season continues along the same successful line the orchestra has been following for seven years, putting together the familiar and unfamiliar and bringing a new aspect to a tried-and-true repertoire. “In one word: We give the audience a reason to come to the concerts,” says Gottfried.

For the opening performance, Gottfried has invited a young Korean violinist, Ye-eun Choi, who will play Beethoven’s concerto. “It’s a real stroke of luck – she is a rising star.” She is being supported by Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation. “In three years, we will only be able to dream of inviting her, but now we can still afford it,” he says with a proud smile.

Haydn’s oratorio The Creation is among the orchestra’s major productions, in which the Potsdamer Kantorei choir from Germany and Sinfonietta Beersheba will participate. Other programs sound no less appealing – Cantus Arcticus, Concerto for Birds and Orchestra by Rautavaara (conducted by Israeli-American maestro Ya’acov Bergman); Gottfried’s new choral piece (with Ma’ayan Choir and conductor Nir Kabaretti); and a special program with the Renana Raz dance ensemble, which will present its new work to Rameau’s music.

The orchestra members will appear as soloists in almost every program.

The Israel Kibbutz Orchestra will play with the Israel Sinfonietta Beersheba June 20, 25 and July 4 in Beersheba; June 23 in Beit She’an; June 24 in Karmiel; June 27 in Givatayim; June 28 in Kibbutz Givat Brenner; June 30 in Nahariya; July 1 at Kibbutz Ein Hashofet; and July 2 in Ashkelon. For more details and reservations call the orchestra office: (09) 960-4757.

Jun. 18, 2009
Maxim Reider, THE JERUSALEM POST

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