Saturday, January 28, 2017

Elam Rotem's "Joseph and his Brethren" returns to Israel to be joined once more by the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra

The Profesti della Quinta Ensemble (photo:Maxim Reider)

Elam Rotem’s work “Joseph and his Brethren” may have  changed our concept of how we define a work as early Baroque music of the Italian style or as new music. Israeli-born harpsichordist, composer and bass Elam Rotem, with specializations in historical performance practice, in particular basso continuo and improvisation (Schola Cantorum, Basel, Switzerland) and a doctorate from the University of Würzburg (Germany), has taken the story of Joseph in the original Hebrew and set it in the musical style (seconda pratica) that flourished in Italy at the outset of the 17th century in tandem with that of Emilio de’ Cavalieri (1550-1602), a composer whose music Rotem has researched. Since its composition, “Joseph and his Brethren” (2014) has been performed worldwide and been recorded for Pan Classics by Rotem’s Basel-based ensemble Profeti della Quinta of five male singers, now returning to Israel to be hosted once more by the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, in the 2016-2017 subscription series. This writer attended the concert on January 25th 2017 at the Jerusalem International YMCA. Joined by JBO founder and musical director David Shemer (organ), violinists Noam Schuss (concertmaster) and Dafna Ravid, Ofira Zakai (theorbo), Chen Goldsobel (violone), also viol players Myrna Herzog and Tal Arbel (also on recorder) as well as the two instrumentalists working permanently with the Profeti della Quinta ensemble - Ori Harmelin (chitarrone) and lirone player Elizabeth Rumsey (Australia) – with Rotem himself at the harpsichord. Returning with some ensemble changes, the Profeti Ensemble today consists of countertenors Doron Schleifer and Ukraine-born Roman Melish, tenors Dan Dunkelblum and Lior Leibovici (Israel/France), with Elam Rotem singing the bass line.

With the indelible memory of two performances of the work heard – indeed, experienced – three years ago, would this be the déjà vu or a new encounter with the work? It was both and no less rewarding than three years ago. Here was one of the most moving and human stories ever told presented in Rotem’s majestic, silken and sensuous musical lines and performed with uncanny precision and superb vocal balance. Countertenor Doron Schleifer, in the role of what would be the Evangelist in a Bach Passion, narrates the story with natural articulacy and emotionally honest gestures, understatement and empathy, however, bringing out the story’s climactic moments in agitated- and more strident timbres. Take, for example, his rich melisma in “And he wept aloud” prior to Joseph’s unheralded, simply-expressed and moving “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt”.

Served well by his substantial, well-grounded tenor voice, Dan Dunkelblum, stepping forward to address the audience, brought out some of the text’s most dramatic speeches, rich in imagery and human emotion. Young countertenor Roman Melish’s attractive singing displayed a richly coloured and fresh timbre. The work’s ensembles exhibited finely crafted blending, shape and precision.  In his vocal solos, Elam Rotem’s unforced bass voice gave imposing reverence to some of the work’s pivotal texts:

“Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him.”

No less significant is Rotem’s fine instrumental writing, with its delicacy, its variety of early dance rhythms, sophisticated counterpoint and transparency.  The sinfonias to each section play an important role in reflecting on what has just transpired and how the plot must move forward. Violinists Noam Schuss and Dafna Ravid’s discerning and informed playing of the upper parts made for fine listening. Altogether, Elam’s instrumentation produced a soundscape inviting the listener to immerse himself in the magic of period instruments. Constructed masterfully, I believe that “Joseph and his Brethren” will stand as one of the most outstanding sacred works of the early 21st century.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Concert at the Austrian Hospice, Jerusalem, in memory of journalist Ari Rath

Ari Rath (photo: Jana Liptáková)

A concert in memory of Ari Rath was held at the Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family, Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem on January 21st 2017. At short notice, alto Veronika Dünser (Austria) and pianist Eloïse Bella Kohn (France) put together a varied program of traditional- and classical music. Markus Bugnar, rector of the Austrian Hospice, for whom Ari Rath had been an influential figure, spoke of how important it was to host the concert at the Austrian Hospice. Ms. Petra Klose, director of K und K Wien, spoke of Ari Rath as a charming, generous man, someone who loved music, and the honour that it was for her to organize the concert.

Austrian-Israeli journalist and writer Ari Rath (1925-2017) was born in Vienna, arriving in Mandate Palestine at age 13. He became editor of the Jerusalem Post in 1975 and editor-in-chief in 1979. After leaving the newspaper in 1985, he worked as a freelance writer, taught at the University of Potsdam and was news editor for the on-line journal Partners for Peace. In 2005, he received a Special Prize in the British House of Lords from the International Council for Press and Broadcasting in recognition for his tireless work for rapprochement and peace. Ten years ago, Ari Rath returned to live in Vienna. He died there January 13th   2017 at age 92.

The program opened with three Jewish songs, first a somewhat formal reading of the traditional Hassidic melody “Y’varech’cha” (The Lord bless thee out of Zion). This was followed by a Yiddish song “Hobn mir a Nigendl” (We have a song) in which Veronika Dünser’s sensitive and flexible singing captured the mix of joy and sorrow of this genre. Then to a rich and emotional rendering of David Zehavi’s setting of “Eli, Eli”, a poem written in 1942 by young Hungarian resistance fighter Hannah Senesz:

‘My God, my God
May these never end…
The sand and the sea,
The rustle of the waters,
The lightning of the heavens,
The prayer of man.’

We then heard Eloïse Bella Kohn’s performance of W.A.Mozart’s Piano Sonata No.8 in A-minor K.310, a work written in the early summer of 1778. Mozart, 22 at the time, was in Paris tending to his ailing mother. She would die there on July 3rd. If one considers the scarcity of minor keys in Mozart works (there is only one other piano sonata in the minor) it seems he reserved this mode for his most vehement outpourings. The A-minor sonata must have surely been the product of the composer’s dark mood of that time. Kohn did not “soft-pedal” in the opening Allegro maestoso, its drama and outbursts leaning more towards the frenzied and less to its “maestoso” marking. For the pensive Andante cantabile movement, now in the more tranquil setting of F-major, Kohn’s playing was nuanced and finely crafted, her use of textures adding to the beauty of this mood piece. The Presto takes artist and listener back to the setting of despair, its flashes of optimism swept aside by the sense of urgency pervading the movement.  Although heavy at times, Kohn’s playing of the sonata was as clean as it was brilliant. In a letter to his father, informing him of his mother’s death, Mozart wrote: “I have indeed wept and suffered enough – but what did it avail?” Here was a young contemporary artist connecting with the desperation of the young composer.

In a moodscape no less doleful, Dünser and Kohn performed “Das irdische Leben” (The Earthly Life) one of the 22 songs from Gustav Mahler’s collection “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” (The Youth’s Magic Horn), poems taken from an anthology of over 700 German poems compiled and revised from 1805 to 1808 by two young, early Romantic poets – Ludwig Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano.  With its archaic naivete, its German heritage and variety of texts, this collection was to become a major inspiration on the composer’s creative work. It would tie in with his love of folk poetry and music, his sense of fate and with his own eventual suffering from personal tragedy.  “Das irdische Leben” tells of a mother watching her child starve to death as he waits for her to finish baking bread. Dünser’s vocal and emotional resources made for a gripping, convincing and real interpretation of the song. Kohn, also delving into the text, highlighted the most subtle details of the generously furnished piano role.

The program concluded with songs from Johannes Brahms’ “Zigeunerlieder” (Gypsy Songs) Op.203. Composed in 1887 for vocal quartet and piano, Brahms published eight of the songs for solo voice and piano in 1889. The work represents an important episode of the composer’s life. He had accompanied Hungarian-born violinist Eduard Hoffmann on a concert tour, learning to play “alla zingara” - in the gypsy style. He had also studied the 1887 anthology of original gypsy melodies compiled by Zoltan Nagy. Brahms, however, used none of the authentic gypsy modes in the songs, although he does address rhythmic concerns of setting Hungarian texts to music, despite that fact that the songs had been translated from the Hungarian into German by Hugo Conrat. In splendid collaboration, Dünser and Kohn present small pictures of gypsy courtship, love and heartbreak, Dünser’s easeful and honeyed singing in all registers and musical- and facial expression revealing moments of passion, sorrow, light-heartedness, joy and disappointment. How poignant and bathed in warmth was “Lieber Gott, Du weiss” (Dear God, you know how often I have regretted) about a young woman’s cherished memory of her lover’s first kiss, to be followed by the carefree joy of “Brauner Bursche führt zum Tanze” (A swarthy lad leads his lovely blue-eyed lass to the dance) as a young man takes his girl to a dance.  In “Röslein dreie in der Reihe” (Three little red roses bloom side by side), opening with its delicate depiction of courtship, Dünser’s facial expression and vocal timbre then reveal an element of doubt as fear of remaining single creeps in. An experienced and attentive accompanist, Kohn collaborates with Dünser all the way, contending splendidly with Brahms’ full-blooded, almost orchestral piano settings.

The event was indeed a fitting tribute to Ari Rath, a man who loved Mozart and song.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Opera and ballet live from the Royal Opera House (London) at cinemas worldwide, including Israel

Il Trovatore - Royal Opera House (photo:Clive Barda)
As of January 2017, opera- and ballet aficionados in Israel will again be able to watch performances live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (London) at three venues – Cinema City Glilot, Cinema City in Jerusalem and at the Tikotin Museum (Haifa). These venues will be among the some-1500 cinemas worldwide screening these top-class productions. This season will offer a choice of twelve different performances. The Royal Opera House, one of the world’s most prestigious venues, has been an important cultural centre since the 18th century. With Händel living in London, his operas “Pastor Fido”, “Ariodante”, “Alcina and “Atalanta” were performed at Covent Garden in the 1730s. In 1743, a royal performance of Händel’s “Messiah” took place there for George II, establishing the custom of oratorio performances at Covent Garden every Lent. In 1808, a fire destroyed the theatre. It was rebuilt and opened in 1809, now one of the largest opera houses in Europe. The theatre was destroyed by fire in 1856 once again, re-opening its doors in 1858. An evening at the opera cost the Victorian “men of fashion” about a pound. A verse in Punch defined a pound's value at the time as:

"A pound dear father is the sum
That clears the opera wicket:
Two lemon gloves, one lemon ice,
Libretto and your ticket."

In Israel, however, attending an ROH Live performance will cost a little more - NIS 170 at full price and NIS 130 for pensioners.

The following Royal Opera performances, featuring some of today’s greatest singers and conductors, will be shown this season.  All performances will have English subtitles

31.1,2017: Il Trovatore (Verdi)

9.3.2017: Tales of Hoffmann (Offenbach)

22.3.2017: Norma (Bellini)

30.3.2017: Madama Butterfly (Puccini)

18.5.2017: Cosi fan Tutte (Mozart)

28.6.2017: Otello (Verdi)


Royal Ballet performances:

8.2.2017: Woolf Works (Wayne McGregor)

28.2.2017: The Sleeping Beauty (Pepita, Ashton, Dowell, Wheeldon)

11.4.2017: Jewels (Balanchine)

7.6.2017: The Dream/Symphonic Variations/Marguerite and Armand (Ashton)

5.7.2017: Anastasia (Kenneth MacMillan)

Without having to contend with inclement London weather or high ticket prices, audiences will enjoy opera and ballet at their best, well filmed and in the comfort of modern cinemas close to home. As a bonus, the camera just might take you down for a glimpse of the orchestra pit or catch an interview with some of today’s greatest performers.

Tel: 03- 6172650

For more details: Miri Shamir; 052-2884981


Il Trovatore - Royal Opera House (photo:Clive Barda)

Friday, January 20, 2017

The 2017 Eilat Chamber Music Festival will offer audiences high quality performance and variety

The 2017 Eilat Chamber Music Festival will take place from February 1st to 4th at the Dan Eilat Hotel. To all intents and purposes, the hotel’s Tarshish Hall and the Big Blue Hall will serve as concert halls for the duration of the festival. At the press conference held at the Dan Hotel Tel Aviv on January 12th, those attending were offered a glimpse into the captivating program awaiting festival-goers. Speaking at the meeting, Eilat mayor Mr. Meir Yitzhak Halevi, CEO of the Dan Hotel chain Mr. Raffi Sadeh and festival founder and musical director Mr. Leonid Rozenberg made mention of developments regarding the festival, in the city of Eilat and of the contribution the Dan Hotels make to the success of the Eilat Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Hayuta Dvir, known to many as a presenter on Israeli radio, especially of the Monday afternoon Etnachta concert series at the Jerusalem Theatre, spoke of the warm cooperation between all who make the festival a reality and of the value of its educational programs: from January 29th to February 4th, serious young string players, pianists and trumpeters will be studying with some of the festival artists, a stepping-stone to furthering their musicianship and technical skills. In another educational program – the Vienna Tel Aviv Vocal Connection – sopranos Sylvia Greenberg (Vienna Conservatory, Munich Hochschule) and Rosemarie Danziger (Cornell University, Mannheim Faculty) and pianist David Aronson (assistant conductor Vienna State Opera, Vienna Conservatory) will coach young singers who are aiming for a professional career.

An extra dimension to this year’s Eilat Chamber Music Festival will be an exhibition of artwork by Nevo Afek, an almost-blind, high-functioning autistic young man. Merav Afek, Nevo’s mother spoke of the artistic talent Nevo has displayed and of the young artist’s aim - to inspire people with his artworks.

With the rich choice of splendid concerts, festival-goers are going to have a hard time choosing which to attend…or perhaps which not! Pianist and conductor David Greilsammer will be back with his orchestra – the Geneva Camerata – this year to be joined by the bold, versatile Russian-born violinist Viktoria Mullova. Greilsammer and the Geneva Camerata will present the Israeli premiere of Swiss composer Martin Jaggi’s “Uruk”. From France, the young, prize-winning Van Kuijk Quartet will perform French music and Schubert and will introduce the audience to Japanese composer Akira Nishimura’s string quartet “Pulses of Light”, then to be joined by Israeli pianist Amir Katz to perform César Franck’s Piano Quintet in F-minor. A treat in store for Baroque aficionados will be the Gabrieli Consort & Players, with their musical director and conductor Paul McCreesh; British soprano Gillian Webster will solo with them in Händel’s magnificent Italian cantata “Donna, che in ciel di tanta luce splendi”, written to celebrate the deliverance of Rome from the earthquake of 1703. And with the festival moving “outside the box” for Concert No.19, the Geneva Camerata will be joined by French jazz pianist Jacky Terrasson in a concert combining classical works, jazz and Israeli composer Jonathan Keren’s Variations on Gershwin’s “I Got Plenty of Nuttin”.

No new face to the Eilat Chamber Music Festival, pianist Amir Katz, in a daring and challenging program, will take the listener with him into the beauty and intricacies of Liszt’s music. 28-year-old Italian pianist Federico Colli will perform works of Domenico Scarlatti and Beethoven and, on his first Israeli visit, 15-year-old Alexander Malofeev from Russia will give a recital of mainstream works, with some piano repertoire discoveries.

Chamber music concerts will feature such world-renowned artists as violinists Marianna Vasileva (Israel/Russia) and Grigory Kalinovsky (USA), violist Mikhail Bereznitsky (Russia/Montenegro), ‘cellists Hillel Zori (Israel) and Martti Rousi (Finland) pianists Rena Shereshevskaya (Russia) and David Aronson (USA). 

Festival audiences will welcome back Canadian jazz trumpeter Jens Lindemann; in two exhilarating concerts, he will be performing with Israeli- and overseas jazz artists: keyboard player Kristian Alexandrov (Bulgaria/Canada), bassist Jeremy Coates (Canada), Israeli percussionist Gilad Dobrecki and pianist Guy Mintus, an Israeli boundary-crossing pianist, composer and educator living in New York.

And to an upbeat, uniquely Israeli and entertaining event: in a concert of new arrangements of several of his songs, Israeli songwriter Alon Olearchik (voice, piano, guitar) will be joined by violinist Yulia Klein, violist Daniel Tanchelson and Yoed Nir (‘cello).  Olearchik’s natural and communicative manner and humour make it a pleasure (and a must) to follow every word of his lyrics, to smile and to remember with nostalgia what was…or what might have been.

And for the children and us adults who treasure the memory of childhood, clown and actor Fyodor Makarov will present much fun and information in “SchMozart” (Concert No.9). Singers of the Vienna-Tel Aviv Vocal Connection, sopranos Avigail Gurtler Har-Tuv and Roxana Mihai, baritone Robson Bueno Tavared and instrumentalists will provide plenty of fine music by W.A.Mozart.     

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Chen Zimbalista and the Music Factory - Gala Benefit Concert in Jerusalem

Chen Zimbalista (photo: Eli Katz)

Two outstanding organizations were represented at the gala benefit concert for the Yad Elie Foundation, which took place at the Jerusalem International YMCA on January 1st, 2016.  The musical program was provided by Chen Zimbalista and the Music Factory.

Yad Eli, established by Marion Kunstenaar in 2002 in memory of Elie Saghroun, provides meals for needy Jerusalem school children, feeding 500 Arab- and Jewish children on a daily basis. It sets up educational programs to teach children about nutrition and health, creating a forum where Jewish and Arab participants can think, work and benefit from each other. Rabbi David Lilienthal serves as chairman of Yad Elie.

Directed by world-renowned marimba player and percussionist Chen Zimbalista, the Jewish-Arab youth orchestra – the Music Factory – was established four years ago. For the Jerusalem concert, it was joined by members of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Beer Sheva Sinfonietta and mezzo-soprano Noa Hope. The concert was preceded by the three-day Music in Omer Festival, consisting of open rehearsals, master classes and concerts. Taking place at the Open Museum in the Industrial Park of the southern town of Omer, this was the second of its kind involving the Music Factory and run by the charismatic Zimbalista. With the high standards of performance and nurturing of Zimbalista, an educator and social activist for bringing together children and youth from city and periphery in high-quality music-making, the 12- to 18-year-olds attending the festival were instructed by renowned teachers, who then joined them to play together in the youth orchestra.

The program included finely-crafted orchestral playing of movements from cardinal works of symphonic repertoire and some chamber pieces, these punctuated by Zimbalista’s dashing, stylish and virtuosic marimba playing. For the performance of works of J.S.Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Bizet, Ravel and Piazzolla, the role of concertmaster alternated between some of the orchestra’s outstanding teen violinists. Introducing Ravel’s “Bolero”, Zimbalista explained that the composer had written it as an exercise for orchestra. With Zimbalista on drum, the players gave a beguiling reading of Evgeny Levitas’ shortened version of the “Bolero”; among the fine small solos, a very young boy - Negev Almog - gave a richly sonorous and most impressive performance of the flute solo.

Of the chamber works on the program, we heard ‘cellists (and Music Factory tutors) Adiel Schmidt and Erich Oskar Huetter (Austria) in some delicate, imaginative and subtle playing of two movements from a Telemann work. Another enjoyable item was the playing of an arrangement of the subject and three of the variations from Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” elegantly presented by Asher Belchman (violin), Lara Karpalov (viola) and E.O. Huetter (‘cello). (Huetter, having visited Israel several times, has been involved in similar music projects with Arab youth.)

Contending easily and naturally with the orchestra, guest artist mezzo-soprano Noa Hope took players and audience to the world of opera with “Voi che sapete” (You who know what love is) from Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro”, her creamy, substantial voice well integrated with her communicative stage performance. Hope’s dramatic and colourful rendition of the Habanera from Bizet’s “Carmen” displayed her dynamic range, well supported by the competence, accuracy and fine listening skills of the Music Factory players.

The festive concert concluded with two works of tango composer Astor Piazzolla, a rich and soundscape of captivating Argentinean rhythms, yearning and joy. Adding to the nostalgic yet life-affirming atmosphere of this music, young accordionist Uri Ofek, relaxed and smiling, wandering across the stage in front of the orchestra, had the audience enthralled by his competence and professionalism.

Throughout the evening, Chen Zimbalista introduced the evening’s artists and works with cheerful informality. Conducting, performing with them and soloing, he directed both young- and experienced players in a vibrant program of outstanding orchestral playing, promoting the harmony of co-existence.  





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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Emer Buckley and Jochewed Schwarz record chamber works of François Couperin on two harpsichords

Yochewed Schwarz, Emer Buckley (DuoChord Pictures)
Two discs titled “François Couperin - Les Nations, Sonates et Suites de Symphonies en trio and Other Pieces for Two Harpsichords”, recorded by Jochewed Schwarz and Emer Buckley are now available to French Baroque music aficionados. Recorded in 2013 at the von Nagel Harpsichord Workshop (Paris) for the Toccata Classics label, the discs offer the listener the chance to hear some of Couperin’s major chamber works played on two harpsichords. No contrived concept, in the preface to the published edition of his  “Apothéose” Trio Sonata (1725, dedicated to Lully’s memory), originally scored typically for two melodic instruments plus bowed string and keyboard continuo, Couperin writes that this work and his intended complete collection of trios can be played on two harpsichords, as he does with family and students; his informal introduction offers some tips as to performing the works on two harpsichords, also suggesting that this is a more convenient means of playing them than bringing together “four working musicians”.

The more substantial works presented on the discs are the four ordres (suites) making up Couperin’s vast and ground-breaking project of “Les Nations”, each suite constituting a combination of a virtuosic Italianate trio sonata da chiesa (sonade) followed by a large-scale and elaborate French suite of dances. Representing Couperin’s paradigm of “les goûts réunis” (union of tastes), “Les Nations” was published in 1726, although three of the trio sonatas were composed in the 1690s. Each of the four ordres celebrates a Catholic power of Europe – France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Savoy dynasty of Piedmont.  On publishing “Les Nations”, Couperin confessed to being “charmed by the sonatas of Signor Corelli and by the French works of M. de Lulli, both of whose compositions I shall love as long as I live”. This being the background to the ordres, Schwarz and Buckley’s performance of them does not endeavour to layer them with extra-musical conjectures – political, sociological or otherwise. In their playing of the opening movements of each, Schwarz and Buckley present the flamboyance, fast mood changes, piquant dissonances, contrasts and forthright character of Italian music and with some lively, gregarious ornamenting. Moving into the French agenda of each ordre, the artists then offer sympathetic- and indeed pleasingly stylistic readings of the dances, also rich in agréments. With Schwarz and Buckley’s absolute precision and superb synchronization never sounding pedestrian, they display the noble elegance of this courtly music in playing that is fresh and vigorous, exposing the music’s interest, rhetoric and rhythmic ideas.

The disc also includes selected pieces from Couperin’s “Pièces de Clavecin” and “Concerts Royaux”, most of which were also written as trio compositions.  From Book 2 (1717) of the “Pièces de Clavecin”, the artists perform “Les Barricades mystérieuses”, the rondeau’s mesmerizing, otherworldly sound wrought of an intriguingly dovetailed contrapuntal texture. Then to the robust “Allemande à deux Clavecins”. From Book 3 of the “Pièces de Clavecin” (1722) the CD includes “La Létiville” and two robust, solidly-anchored musettes - the “Muséte de Choisi” and “Muséte de Taverni” – their drones referring to early folk music and instruments.

Organist of the Royal Chapel, François Couperin composed his “Concerts Royaux” (Royal Concerts), published in 1722, “for the little chamber concerts where Louis XIV bade me come nearly every Sunday of the year.” Buckley and Schwarz offer stylish performances of some of its delightful miniatures, calling attention to their opulence, their sense of joy and wit. In the Forlane Rondeau (4th Concert), the artists highlight the variety and contrasts made possible by the rondo form. The splendid pieces of the “Concerts Royaux” must surely have provided the aging Bourbon monarch with pleasurable entertainment; to today’s listener, they represent French Baroque chamber music at its best.

Corresponding to the candid, full touch of both artists, the sound quality of the two CDs is true and engaging, offering the listener a lively listening experience. Written by both players, the liner notes accompanying both CDs are highly informative both musically and biographically. Basing their information on what Couperin himself wrote, the artists have made a deep enquiry into the works and into the question of playing them on two harpsichords rather than in a mixed consort. Schwarz and Buckley write: “This challenge is one which faces all harpsichordists and, throughout the preparation of our recording, it has been a constant inspiration to us to imagine Couperin playing the music in his own home, surrounded by family, friends and pupils.

Emer Buckley was born in Dublin, Jochewed Schwarz in Tel Aviv. Both discovered the harpsichord during their university studies – Emer Buckley at University College, Dublin, and Jochewed Schwarz at the Music Academy, Tel Aviv University. Emer continued her studies in France and Italy, then moving to France to begin a career as a soloist and continuo player. She also teaches harpsichord and the art of continuo at the Conservatoire de Lille. Jochewed Schwarz studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and in Paris, then returning to Israel, where she lives today performing, directing and producing concerts. The two artists met at the von Nagel Harpsichord Workshop in Paris and, despite living in different countries, they take every opportunity of making music together.