Piano Festivities 2019
with Winners of International Competitions
hosted by PASTORAL, Kfar Blum
5 – 7 December, 2019
In memory of Jan Jacob Bistrizky
THURSDAY, 5 December
FRIDAY, 6 December
SATURDAY, 7 December
Ching-Yun Hu’s concert career has flourished with a host of engagements on five continents after winning the top prize at the 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she was also awarded the Audience Favorite Prize. Immediately after, she was engaged for a seven-city tour across Israel and a special invitation from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on only a week’s notice. A year later, she won the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York City.
Awarded the 2018 Most Innovative Instrumentalist in Piano by New York’s Classical Post Award, Ching-Yun Hu’s 2018–2019 season highlights include performances in Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Beijing and Bogotá. She gives the Asia premiere of Red Cliff, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Yiu-kwong Chung and the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan, following the concerto’s world premiere with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Dirk Brosse. She is heard at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, in return engagements with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor and Bozeman Symphony Orchestra in Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1. She returns to Colombia for a residence at the Festival Internacional de Piano en Ibaque. She also embarks on an eight-city tour of China – “Ching-Yun Hu’s Silk Road Project”.
Pianist and composer Nicolas Namoradze came to international attention upon winning the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary, Canada—among the largest competition prizes in classical music. The Calgary Herald called him “unparalleled” and “a pianist’s pianist,” stating: “the refinement of his playing was of international standard and everywhere his interpretative skills commanded attention and admiration.” Namoradze’s activities as the 2018 Honens Prize Laureate include recitals at Carnegie Hall (New York), 92nd Street Y (New York), Wigmore Hall (London), Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, the Gardner Museum (Boston), and the Konzerthaus Berlin; recordings on the Honens, Hyperion, and Steinway labels; and worldwide engagements with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Miami International Piano Festival, and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
After completing his undergraduate studies in Budapest, Vienna, and Florence, Namoradze moved to New York to obtain his master’s degree at The Julliard School. He now pursues his doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center holding the Graduate Center Fellowship, studying piano with Emanuel Ax and Yoheved Kaplinsky and composition with John Corigliano. Namoradze serves on the faculty of Queens College.
GIL SHARON, Violin/Viola
Gil Sharon was born in Bucharest, Romania and immigrated as a child to Israel. In 1971, after moving to The Netherlands, he won the first prize at the “International Emily Anderson Violin Competition” in London which marked the beginning of his international career.
In 1992 he founded the Amati Ensemble, a chamber music ensemble that performs at the highest possible level and in many different formations, from duo to full-scale chamber orchestra. The Amati Ensemble has released numerous CDs and recorded a series of television productions and since 1995 features in its own chamber music series in the city of Maastricht (The Netherlands).
Gil Sharon’s reputation as a soloist leads him to perform with various orchestras and to give recitals in Europe, Israel, Canada and the United States. He is a frequent guest at international Music festivals including the Pablo Casals festival in Prades (France), Chamber Music Festival in Giverny (France), Festival of the Sound (Canada), Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, etc.
Gil Sharon also performs frequently as viola player, in recitals as well as in chamber music concerts and numerous festivals where he performed among others with the Tokyo Quartet, the Talich Quartet, Gryphon Trio, etc.
He gave master-classes at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Fontainebleau (France) and in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and is guest professor at the Maastricht Academy of Music.
In January 2018, Gil Sharon became a member of the Fine Arts Quartet playing the viola.
In 1997 Gil Sharon was honoured with the Dutch Royal Award “Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau” by HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands for his outstanding merits in the domain of chamber music.
SAIDA BAR-LEV, Violin/Viola
Saida Bar-Lev grew up in Switzerland and began studying the violin at the age of 8 with Margarita Karafilova. At 14 she entered the Lausanne Conservatory, where she studied with Christine Sorensen. A year later she joined the violin class of prof. Tibor Varga and performed with him in several chamber concerts at his summer festival in Switzerland. In 1988, she won the First Prize at the Jeunesse Musicale Competition in Lausanne. she has appeared as soloist with orchestras in Switzerland, including the Swiss Italian Radio Orchestra and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra.
In 1990, she settled in Israel where she studied with Haim Taub. She joined the First violins section of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1990-91 season. In Israel she has appeared as soloist with the Ramat Gan Chamber Orchestra and the Tel Aviv University Orchestra and has appeared in chamber concerts with members of the IPO in Israel and abroad. She has also appeared in many recitals in Switzerland and Germany with her father, pianist Assaf Bar-Lev.
HILLEL ZORI, Cello
Hillel Zori won the gold medal at the 1986 Maria Canals Competition, and prizes at the Rostropovich, Whitaker USA, Geneva, Stradivarius in Cremona, Shapira and Jackson awards in Tanglewood. He won the America Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship; studied with Uzi Wiesel at the Tel-Aviv Academy of Music, graduating with honors; and with Bernard Greenhouse in the USA.
In 2008 Zubin Mehta invited him to perform Bruch’s Kol Nidrei at the UN General Assembly, New York on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Zori has composed a virtuoso suite for cello and orchestra on themes from Carmen, a Fantasy for Voice, a String Trio, and ‘Carmel’ – songs for voice and chamber ensemble.
He teaches chamber and orchestral music at the Jerusalem Music Center and is a professor at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, Tel Aviv University. Hillel’s CD anthology ‘Inspirales’ was chosen as the BBC’s “Disc of the Week”.
GABRIEL Volé, Double Bass
Gabriel Volé, played double bass in the Israel Philharmonic from the late 60’s, was a 3rd generation member, personnel manager and a member of Management.
Since 1975 he has taught at Tel Aviv University Music Academy; his students perform in orchestras throughout Israel.
Volי graduated the Curtis Institute Philadelphia; he played solo and chamber music in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, and took part in Tanglewood.
Volé is active in the Israeli chamber music scene, appearing for 10 seasons at the Kfar-Blum Festival. He collaborated with violist Tabea Zimmermann, pianist Rudolf Buchbinder and others.
Netanya Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra
The Netanya Kibbutz Orchestra was founded in 1970 and since then has won a place of honor among the orchestras in Israel. The orchestra serves as a cultural ambassador, bringing with it a message of excellence and working to create new acquaintances between the Israeli audience and international artists. The orchestra was ranked by the Ministry of Culture in the highest level of excellence – 5 and is highly regarded by the music community in Israel and abroad.
The orchestra holds concert series for subscribers and for the general public in eight halls throughout the country and performs over 120 concerts a year. It is the only orchestra in Israel that concentrates most of its activity in the peripheral regions, thereby making rich and diverse musical experiences accessible to the community far from the cultural centers of Israel.
In addition to its extensive activity for adults, the orchestra conducts an extensive educational activity, operating in Israel’s formal education system. As part of the “Sounds in Sounds” project, the orchestra holds 240 chamber and orchestral concerts throughout the country, for an audience of 20,000 kindergarten and elementary school students.
Conductor and Music Director: Maestro Christian Lindbergh
Residence Conductor: Shmuel Elbaz
CEO: Hila Dagan
Shmuel Elbaz, Conductor
Shmuel Elbaz was born in Beer Sheva, Israel. He is a graduate of the Conservatory in Beer Sheva, Jerusalem Academy of Music and the Academy of Music in Amsterdam, in the faculties of conducting and art of performance. He Studied with the conductors Prof. Mendi Rodan, Prof. Stanley Sperber, Peter Etvöse, David Forslein, Roland Kift and Lior Shambadal.
Since 2016 Elbaz is the resident conductor of the Netanya Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra.
Since 2002 has served as Principal Conductor of the Israel Andalusian Orchestra.
In 2006, during the period under his musical direction, the orchestra was awarded the Israel Prize “for its contribution to society and state, in culture”.
Elbaz often appears as a guest conductor with Orchestras such as Jerusalem Symphony, Rishon Lezion Symphonic, Symphony Haifa, the Israel Stage Orchestra, Sinfonietta Beer Sheva, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Ashdod Symphony Orchestra and more.