A trio of young Israeli musicians will perform Beethoven and a medley of Israeli songs in a series of private and public concerts presented by the Jerusalem Foundation of Canada in Toronto and Montreal next month.
Pictured, from left, are Tamar Greenstein on violin, Elisha Zak- Krawets on piano, and Uriah Tutter on cello.
The group, the Fresh Faces of Jerusalem, is made up of Tamar Greenstein, Uriah Tutter and Elisha Zak-Krawets, all 16, who began their musical careers at age six, at the Jerusalem Conservatory Hassadna. The conservatory is attended by 550 children who are from three to 18 years old.
Thanks to scholarship funds set up by the conservatory, all three members of the Fresh Faces participate in master classes with leading musicians. They play regularly with the conservatory’s chamber orchestra and the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. They are also members of a chamber music group for outstanding musicians at the Jerusalem Music Centre, and they participate in festivals throughout Israel.
In addition to practising up to four hours after a day at high school, Greenstein, Tutter and Zak-Krawets give back to their musical community by volunteering as mentors in the From Risk to Opportunity program. Funded by the Jerusalem Foundation, this program provides access to first-rate music instruction for disadvantaged children.
Greenstein mentors Julian, a nine-year-old violin student who comes from a home where there is ongoing physical abuse between the parents. Greenstein is sensitive to Julian’s situation and appreciative of her own supportive family.
“ I am very lucky to have been born into a musical family,” Greenstein said. “My passion is chamber music, and I hope I will become a very good chamber player.” She is especially excited about performing in Canada for the first time.
Tutter, a cellist, performed a world première of a well-known Israeli composition at the Israeli Contemporary Music Festival. His siblings also attend the conservatory.
Tutter and his sister, Halel, who studies violin, practise with their brother, Yotam, who suffers from cerebral palsy and can only play piano with one finger. Despite Yotam’s disability, he has an amazing musical ear and is able to feel the music just as well as all the other students at the conservatory do. The Tutter family have formed a unique musical ensemble. Playing together is one of the few activities that the Tutters can do together.
Zak-Krawets, the pianist of Fresh Faces, studies composition in a program at the conservatory and is working to become a composer. He was chosen to compose a symphony for the Israeli Contemporary Music Festival 2010. His symphony will be recorded live for Israeli radio.
Patient and kind, Zak-Krawets also plays a four-hand piano ensemble with Jacob, a nine-year-old blind boy who comes from a financially disadvantaged home. For Zak-Krawets, playing with Jacob is a powerful and meaningful experience.
Lena Nemirovksy-Wiskind, director of the Jerusalem Conservatory Hassadna since 1994, created the From Risk to Opportunity program at the conservatory. “For children from at-risk families, their studies at the conservatory brings them pride and a feeling that we believe in them,” she said. “We also see the amazing power that music plays in the lives of children with special needs.
“With the very talented students who decide to take their studies to a professional level, we feel great joy in helping them receive outstanding professional guidance so that they can fulfil their dreams.”
Under the direction of Prof. Michael Gaisler, the Fresh Faces perform at Beth Torah Congregation in conjunction with the Israel Aliyah Centre, on June 6.
For more information on the Fresh Faces of Jerusalem, call the Jerusalem Foundation of Canada, Toronto office, at 416-635-5491.