An intimate circle

On September 21 at the intimate Felicja Blumental Center in the heart of the old Tel Aviv, a group of Israeli musicians, which has adopted the name The Israel Chamber Club, will present an intriguing In the Jewish Spirit program. The concert, which features pieces by Prokofiev, Darius Milhaud, Bloch, Ben-Haim, Stuchevsky, Shulamit Ran and Paul Williams, will be performed by pianist Michal Tal, cellist Hillel Tzori, violinist Ya’akov Rubinstein, clarinet player Gilead Harel, together with their younger colleagues and student pianist Netanel Grinstein and violinists Gili Radian Sade and Noa Sarid.

“For us – cellist Hillel Tzori, his violinist brother Nitai and me – it is important to manage our career from Israel,” says Tal, who was born into the family of violinist Alexander Tal. She started playing piano from the age of five, received her musical education in the US, but has occasionally returned home.

“It is also important to create a positive image of an Israeli musician who has returned home after completing his or her studies abroad and builds the career from here, both as a performer and a teacher. Granted, this is far from easy and maybe less glorious, but seeing these flowers flourishing over the years as a result of your efforts is an immense pleasure; it is most rewarding,” she says, Busy performers and teachers, Tal and the Tzori brothers, who have been playing together for many years, have inaugurated their club in order to perform and record the music of Israeli composers and to pull from obscurity some of the pieces that were composed some 50-60 years ago.

Over the years the Israel Chamber Club, which makes the Felicja Blumental Center its home base, has performed about 70 pieces by Israeli composers.

“Another aim of the club is to educate,” continues Tal. “We often invite our students to perform with us, and for them this is the most valuable knowledge. They both learn new pieces and acquire performing experience. Busy as we are with our careers, we make it a point to prepare three or four new programs for our club every year.”

The guest performers at the evening are as well as the internationally renowned clarinet player Gilead Harel and Israeli violinist Ya’akov Rubinstein, who enjoys a globe-trotting career and, until recently, served as the concert master of the Bamberg Symphony.

“We also work in the close cooperation with the Jerusalem Music Center and Telma Yellin Arts School. This is where the young concert participants come from,” says Tal, who divides her time between performing and teaching.

In December, she will play Erwin Schulhoff’s Piano Concerto with the Jerusalem Symphony.

“Schulhoff, a Jewish composer who perished in the Holocaust, studied with Debussy. T his is an intriguing and purely neoclassical piece, and I’m almost sure this will be its Israeli premiere.”

Known for her love of French music, Tal will tour the US with a series of lecture concerts on this theme, as well as perform a circle of all Brahms sonatas with violinist Nitai Tzori.

Her teaching activities include master classes in Israel and abroad, including the Far East, and she recently returned from Italy, where she taught a master course at the Perugia Music Fest, organized by Israeli pianist Ilana Vered. “There was an impressive group of Israelis there, both teachers and students, and I really loved the very special non-competitive atmosphere.”

And now, with the support of the Jerusalem Music Center and its director Hed Sella, “who from the very first moment was of great help for us,” she is working on a summer course for young pianists, which takes place every July in Jerusalem.

“We bring about 20 young pianists from all over the country for a few days of team work. Most of them are recipients of the America Israel scholarship, the foundation that makes the continuation of musical tradition in this country possible. Among other things, they play music with four and eight hands, sometimes written especially for the course.

“This gives them an opportunity to come out of their rooms, where they practice alone, and see other kids,” she says.

September 21 at the Felicja Blumental Music Center, 26 Bialik Street, Tel Aviv. For reservations: (03) 620-1185

By MAXIM REIDER
Published at the Jerusalem Post 16/09/2011

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