Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival 2017

Elena Bashkirova – Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival Artistic Director/Photo: Dan Porges

The Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, will take place from August 31 – September 9, 2017. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this year’s program reflects a tribute to the past 19 years of the festival, remembering works performed and commissioned by the festival over the years. Festival Artistic Director Elena Bashkirova, with Director and Producer Hana Manch, have selected works from past festivals to be performed, with one concert devoted almost exclusively to works performed at the very first festival. Concerts will take place at the festival’s traditional venue, the YMCA in Jerusalem.

The Chamber Music festival provides a stage for new compositions, the re-discovery of rarely performed works, and quality performances of well-known and beloved chamber works. This year’s festival will open with the world premiere of Israeli composer Omri Abram’s Iridescence, a new work commissioned by the festival, and performed by the Tel Aviv Wind Quintet. The festival will also feature the Israeli premiere of a new work by German composer Sven-Ingo Koch, Clarinet Quintet, commissioned by the festival, and inspired by a poem of Yehuda Amichai. Evoking the excitement and memories of the first festival, there will be a performance of York Höller’s Klangzeichen, the first work commissioned by the festival. Höller has written about this work: “The first six notes of the figure of sound were taken from an old Hebrew melody, recorded in the encyclopedia Das Musikwerk (vol. 44, Außereuropäische Folklore und Kunstmusik) as part of a liturgy for atonement. This melody, in its original form, is presented by the clarinet towards the end of the piece. It is meant as a sound symbol, or sound signal, of a wish shared by many people: namely, that the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples may at last reconcile themselves and find a peace long desired. The lonely, subdued melody of atonement leads into a dramatic finale, in which a multi-part song from the wind section unfolds over a rhythmic and dance-like bass line played by the piano. The zest and optimism of the music here point clearly to the future. Klangzeichen is dedicated to the children of Israel and Palestine.” (composer’s notes from the Boosey & Hawke site, translation: Andreas Goebel) Klangzeichen will be performed by the Tel Aviv Wind Quintet with Einav Yarden on piano, and conducted by Dor Magen.

Music lovers can immerse themselves in a whirlwind 14 concerts over the course of 10 days, with works by Glinka, Musorgsky, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Strauss, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Handel, Hayden, Dvorak, Mahler, Debussy, Ravel, Berio, Liszt, Schumann, Salieri, Mozart, Brahms, and many more.

Martha Argerich/Photo courtesy of PR

Renowned pianist Martha Argerich will be a guest of the festival for the first time, performing together with her daughter, the actor Annie Dutoit. The festival welcomes the return of guests who will be coming to join the anniversary festivities, including: pianist Yefim Bronfman, violinist Renaud Capuçon (who performed as a youth in the first festival), viola player Likiu Chang, contrabassist Nabil Sheta, pianist Shay Wosner, viola player Gerard Cause, cellist Kyril Zlotnikov, viola player Ori Kam, and violinist Guy Braunstein who returns to the festival after an absence of many years. Conductor Lahav Shani first performed in the festival while still serving in the military, at the time he played the contrabass, and will be performing in this year’s festival on piano. A very warm welcome to the musicians who return each year to grace the festival with their performance, including: violinists Kolja Blacher, Rainer Honeck, Michael Barenboim, Michaela Martin; cellists Frans Helmerson, Alexander Knyazev, Julian Steckel, Istvan Varadi, Tim Park, Edgar Moreau; singer Robert Holl; pianists Plamena Mangova, Denis Kozhukhin; flautist Emmanuell Pahud. Young musicians participating in the festival for the first time include pianist Einav Yarden, violinist Tatiana Samouil, and violinist Lidia Baich.

Angela Denoke/Photo courtesy of PR

One of the many memorable concerts from recent years was Soprano Angela Denoke and pianist Tal Balshai’s program of pre-war cabaret songs by Jewish composers in Germany. The duo returns to the festival this year with “Unbounded Liberty,” a program of cabaret songs composed between the two World Wars. They will be accompanied by Tim Park on cello, and Shirley Brill on clarinet. This concert will take place on Friday, September 8th.   The festival will continue its tradition of closing with Mendelssohn’s String Octet in E flat major, op. 20, to be performed by Renaud Capuçon, Daishin Kashimoto, Asi Matathias, and Daniel Austrich – violins; Krzysztof Chorzelski, Ori Kam –  violas; Julian Steckel, Tim Park – cellos.

All concerts will take place at the YMCA, Mary Nathaniel Hall, 26 David Hamelech Street, Jerusalem. Tickets for each concert are 170 NIS, with discounts available for multiple purchases, seniors, students, and friends of the festival. To order call: 02-6250444. The Festival website:

The Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival Artistic Director –  Elena Bashkirova, Director and Producer – Hana Manch, Chairman of the Board – Yeheskell Beinisch.