Sunday, October 11, 2015

The concert concluding the first workshop of the Bronislaw Huberman Project for Outstanding Young Players takes place at the Jerusalem Music Centre

The final concert of the week-long Bronislaw Huberman Project for Outstanding Young Players took place at the Jerusalem Music Centre on October 3rd 2015. Established and directed by Zvi Carmeli, an Israeli violist and conductor whose international career includes performing, conducting and teaching, this event concluded the first workshop of the newly formed Huberman Project. The concert was dedicated to the memory of Guido Valerio. Opening the Jerusalem concert, Maestro Carmeli explained that the decision to name the project after the great violinist Bronislaw Huberman (1882-1947) was taken due to his having represented the highest standards of performance. A joint project of the Jerusalem Music Centre, the Ra’anana Music Center and the iClassical Academy (the world’s first online music academy), students spent an intensive, enriching week at the Ra’anana Music Center, taking part in master classes in the mornings, in the afternoons playing in chamber music ensembles and in the string orchestra. They worked under the following tutors: violinists Theodora Geraets (Holland) and Virginie Robilliard (Switzerland), Zvi Carmeli (Israel) - viola and chamber orchestra, Matias de Oliveira Pinto (Brazil) – ‘cello and ‘cello ensemble, Petru Iuga (Romania) – double bass and double bass ensemble and Sander Sitig (Holland) – piano accompaniment and chamber music.

Also addressing the audience, violist, teacher and recently appointed executive director of the Jerusalem Music Centre Gadi Abadi emphasized the enjoyment and benefit of Israeli youth playing and studying music with young participants from overseas. He is looking forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with the iClassical Academy.

The evening’s musical program got off to a sparkling start with Itamar Carmeli and Tom Borrow’s performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’ own transcription for two pianos (4 hands) of symphonic poem “Danse Macabre” (1874). In playing that was brilliant, clean, suspenseful and strategic, the two young pianists brought to life (death, actually) the devil’s frenetic night’s work, with each orchestral idea effectively presented with pizzazz on keyboard. This was followed by the opening movement of Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quintet in f-minor, opus 34, in which Itamar Carmeli, Nicole Leon, Yuval Nuri Shem-Tov, Alexis Pelton and Assif Bennes gave the epic movement much Romantic melodious playing, intensity, yearning and dynamic variety, handling its complexities admirably. In their majestic playing of the second movement of Brahms’ String Sextet in G-major opus 18 (Andante, ma moderato), Offje van der Klein, Roni Shitrit, Gal Eckstein, Shachar Tabakman, Emily Siegreich and Pascal Szekely’s richly contrasted playing of the variations in d-minor and poignant solos and were the result of fine teamwork. Tom Borrow, Stephan Nieuwesteeg, Solomon Marksman and Ori Ron gave an imposing and highly expressive performance of the first and third movements of Dmitry Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in g-minor opus 57, with pianist Tom Borrow setting the scene for the work’s searching character. They tackled the feisty Scherzo candidly, shaping it with delicacy and humor.

Following the intermission we heard “Voyage” by American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Zvi Carmeli spoke of the work’s theme of survival. Composed in 2012 for string quartet, it was commissioned by heirs of the legendary Galimir String Quartet, and Austrian string quartet founded in Vienna 1927 by Felix Galimir and his three sisters. Of great relevance is the fact that Bronislaw Huberman saved two of the sisters by bringing them to Israel to play in the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra (now the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra). The other two siblings went to the USA. Taaffe Zwilich (b.1939), a violinist and prolific composer, wrote the single-movement work to describe the Galimir Quartet’s history: a lyrical, melodic work, it includes such elements as Viennese waltzes, dissonances and wailing and ending with Klezmer wedding dance music. Performing it with involvement, competence and feeling were Gennaro Cardoropoli, Jonathan Uzieli, Idan Abrahamson and Eli Levi. Members of the Galimir family were present at the concert.

Presenting the first movement of Franz Schubert’s String Quintet in C-major, we heard some impressive, flexible and informed playing on the part of Hadar Zaidel, Michael Shaham, Noga Shaham, Danielle Akta and Emma Osterrieder, some of these players not yet in their teens! With its extra-rich sonority of the two ‘cellos, they addressed the work’s lyrical beauty and personal expression. Then for a very different ensemble of four double basses – Naomi Shaham, Shira Davidson, Blanche Inacio and Liad More in a potpourri of pieces, from Henry Purcell’s March for the Funeral of Queen Mary, to Thomas Morley’s risqué spring madrigal “Now is the Month of Maying” to the whimsical, Latin-tinged music of Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther” film theme.

The program concluded with the 1st movement of Shubert’s “Death and the Maiden” Quartet in d-minor D.810, performed by the Huberman Project’s string orchestra of some twenty players, conducted by Maestro Zvi Carmeli, a reading highlighting the movement’s intensity of emotion, its mystery and Viennese lyricism and songfulness. For an encore they performed the final movement in playing that was a true tour-de-force.

All the evening’s performances vouched for the high quality of the young music students chosen for the course, their tutors and for the enriching experience of taking part in the Huberman Project.

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