International Harp Contest Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Lenka Petrovic First Prize Winner of the20th International Harp Contest in Israel 2018/Photo courtesy of PR

The International Harp Contest in Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a series of concerts during the months of November and December, culminating in a gala concert on Thursday, December 12, 2019 at the Israeli Opera – Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. The festive concert reflects the vision of its founder Aharon Zvi Propes, featuring as soloists first prize winners from the past 60 years. Seven international winners and one Israeli winner will share the stage: Lynn Turner (USA) – 1962, Chantal Matthieu (France) – 1970, Emily Mitchell (USA) – 1979, Alice Giles (Australia) – 1982, Gwyneth Wentink (Holland) – 1998, Sivan Magen (Israel) – 2006, Anaïs Gaudemard (France) – 2012, Lenka Petrovic (Serbia) – 2018. The program will include works by Ravel, Pierné, Schocker, Debussy, Rodrigo, Boieldieu, Patterson, and Glière. The concert will be accompanied by the musicians of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Eyal Ein-Habar.

Lynne Turner/Photo courtesy of PR

The full program of 60th anniversary concerts:

YuYing Chen/Photo courtesy of PR

YuYing Chen (China), First Prize Winner 2015 will be the soloist, performing in four concerts at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium (Heichal Hatarbut), accompanied by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra.

Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 22:00 Philharmonic in Jeans

Program: Glière Harp Concerto; Khatchaturian Suite from Spartacus. Soloist: YuYing Chen, harpist. Conductor: Yoel Levi. Presenter: Lucy Aharish

Friday, November 15, 2019 at 11:00 Intermezzo

Program: Glière Harp Concerto; Khatchaturian Suite from Spartacus. Soloist: YuYing Chen, harpist. Conductor: Yoel Levi. Presenter: Prof. Oded Zehavi

Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 20:00 Classical Series

Program: Shostakovich Festive Overture Op 96, Glière Harp Concerto; Khatchaturian Suite from Spartacus. Soloist: YuYing Chen, harpist. Conductor: Yoel Levi.

Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 17:30

Program: The Enchanting Harp, with works by Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Mozart, Handel, Tchaikovsky and more. Soloists: Yu Ying Chen, Julia Rovinsky. Conductor: Yi-An Xu. Presenter: Eli Gornstein. With Harp Day participants from all over the country.

All four concerts will take place at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium (Heichal Hatarbut), 1 Huberman St. Tel Aviv. Tickets may be ordered from or call *3766.

Julia Rovinsky and Marina Fradin will perform at The Brigham Young University, Mormon Center, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem

Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 20:00

Program: Bach The Italian Concerto, Mozart Concerto, Debussy Danses for Harp, Uri Brener Northern Wind. Soloists: Julia Rovinsky, Principal Harpist the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra; Marina Fradin, Principal Harpist the Jerusalem Symphonic Orchestra. Admission is free, reserve a place from

First Prize Winners of the Israeli Competitions will perform at Tsavta, 30 Shlomo Ibn Gabirol St, Tel Aviv

Soloists: Lior Uziel, Tamar Fraenkel, Marina Fradin, Yael Beeri. Guests: Solaron Choir. Conductor: Rami Barber. Tickets may be ordered from or call: 03-6950156.

The contest was founded by Aharon Zvi Propes and legendary Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek in 1959. At its inception, the harp competition was the first of its kind. Propes, who played a significant cultural role in Israel’s formative years as founder of the Zimriya – the World Assembly of Choirs, The Israel Festival, and the International Harp Contest. Understanding the importance of culture as an essential part of creating identity and community, Propes sought to create an event that would be unique to Israel. At that time, there was no other international harp competition, and as King David was known for playing the harp, this was a wonderful way to establish a new event that has a deep connection to history and tradition.

The International Harp Contest in Israel is considered the most prestigious harp competition worldwide, and its winners have been invited to perform with leading orchestras. Since its inception, over 620 harpists have participated in the competition. Lyon & Healy Harps of Chicago have provided harps for the competition since 1959, and present the gold harp to the first-place winner. Zubin Mehta, conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, is the honorary president of the contest, which takes place once every three years, with competitors and judges arriving from many countries, the past two competitions have taken place in the city of Akko. The contest encourages the creation of original compositions for the harp, and each contest commissions a new work from an Israeli composer. Musical Director of the contest is Ms. Julia Rovinsky, Principal Harpist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Colette Avital, former Knesset member, is the Chairman of the Harp and Zamir Society, which produces the festival and whose General Director is Yossi Frost.

Links: International Harp Contest in Israel website; facebook page