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Felicja Blumental International Music Festival announces highlights from this year's edition
Stephane Wrembel.

TEL AVIV.- Since 1999 the annual Felicja Blumental International Music Festival has played an important role in making Tel Aviv's musical scene ever interesting and alive.

Although Tel Aviv has always been well known for its classical music activities, it never before had a classical music festival that combines, in one intense and exciting week, chamber, orchestral and vocal music, as well as films, plays and folk music.

Many of today’s Israeli stars made their debut at this festival, which features the young and unknown as well as established artists, ensembles and orchestras.

Starting with intimate concert performances of piano recitals (Louis Lortie, Freddie Kempf, Shay Wozner, Konstantin Lifschitz, Roman Rabinovich, Antony Barishevsky), vocal recitals (Philippe Jaroussky, Karita Mattila, Sarah Walker, Edith Mathis, Michael Chance, Stephanie d’Oustrac), and chamber music groups (such as St. Petersburg Quartet, Saint Lawrence Quartet, Israeli Chamber Project, Multipiano Quartet), the Felicja Blumental International Music Festival has also included Baroque Music Ensembles (L`Arpeggiata – Christina Pluhar, Early Music Opera Company, Dunedin Ensemble, The Red Priest, I Musici de Montreal, Les Violon du Roi, Concerto de Cavalieri) and also vocal ensembles (Anima consort, Voces Musicales, Armonico consort, Nordic Voices among others) that together have offered the public a very rich program throughout the years.

The festival has also had wide experience with folk music in the past – having invited Milva, Jacques and Paula Morelenbaum, Yasmin Levi, Fado ensemble from Portugal and an unforgettable production of Israeli folk songs with Dan Ettinger, David D`Or and Rafi Kadishson. In an effort to expand these programs, the festival established as of 2016, the Bikur Moledet day which explores the compositions of Israeli composers abroad.

Now in its nineteenth year, the festival continues to promote collaborative encounters in early music, folk music and contemporary music between musicians from all over the world.

Opening of the Festival “Vissi d’arte” - I live for Art / screening and Encounter - Encounter with the festival directors, Annette Celine and Avigail Arnheim - Screening the documentary film about Annette Celine and the festival. Asaf Galay, Director

Jeff Koons. American Pop Art /Lecture - Lecture and Documentary - Sigal Mordechai, lecturer

“Bikur Moledet” (Israel) /Concert - Universal Beethoven and Wondering Jews, Zvi Plesser, cello, Einav Yarden, piano

“Celtic voices” with the Israeli Vocal Ensemble and Evergreen Band, Yuval Ben Ozer, conductor - Celtic music, on its many forms and colors, has magic and mystery in it that sweeps us into wonderful musical realms. The Israeli Vocal Ensemble with Evergreen band that specialized in Celtic music, on concert combining folk songs, dance rhythm, lyrical ballads and much more!

“Ecco la primavera” (Greece) - A Mezzo Ensemble and guests - Dimitris Kountouras, recorders and traverso, Elektra Miliadou, Vielle, Doret Florentin recorders, Yeela Avital, soprano, Erez Mounk, percussion – A unique program of Medieval and Renaissance music with songs and dances from Italy, France, Greece and Spain;

“Don Quixote goes to Vienna”. “La Ritirata” (Spain); María Espada – soprano, Victor Sordo – tenor, João Fernandes – bass, Josetxu Obregón – artistic director, Hiro Kurosaki – violin - Commemorating 400 years since the death Miguel de Cervantes, the group created a program featuring a collection of selected arias from the operas: “ Don Quixote at the Duchess” and “Sancho Panza, governor of the island Barataria” by Antonio Caldara. Supported by the AC/E and INAEM, Spain

“Cats” The Musical / Lecture with excerpts from Documentary films about T. S. Elliot and A.L. Weber - Yossi Schifmann, lecturer

Young Chamber Music Ensembles (Israel) /Concert - Jerusalem Music Center - The Goldman program for outstanding musicians

“Swing de Gitanes” Trio/ Composer Stephane Wrembel (France/USA) and Trio Yakov Hoter, guitar, Oren Sagi, contrabass, Alon Sagi, guitar (Israel) - He’s been called “a revelation” by Rolling Stone. Woody Allen recruited him to score the theme to the 2012 Academy Award winning film Midnight in Paris, and he performed live during this year’s Oscar’s telecast. This virtuoso, who is now Brooklyn-based, has truly just begun to make his mark as one of the most original guitar voices in contemporary music. At the festival he will join “Swing de Gitanes” Trio for a unique and festive concert feature Gypsy music.

Saatchi Gallery, London. Lecture - The Revolutions in Modern Art at the 21st century - Raz Samira, International contemporary art curator.

“Tempra” Ensemble (Israel) / Improvisations on classics - Gan Lev, saxophone, Yigal Melzer, trumpet, Amit Dolberg, piano, Tomer Yariv, percussion - The four Israeli virtuosos bring the art of chamber music to the utmost, and provide a new and fresh take on the classics. In the program: new versions for music by Prokofiev, Shostakovich and others.

“In Freundschaft” / In Friendship - A 2017 version to the musical game “In Freundschaft”. 15 composers from across the world composed short music pieces for the project members, each three minutes long that create one music piece with many movements. This year, the works are connected to the paintings in the gallery. Editor: Moshe Aharonov.

Meitar Ensemble (Israel) / Night of grand Symphonies - Yuval Zorn, conductor, Ayelet Amotz, mezzo soprano, Amit Dolberg, music direction and piano

“Ocean Spoon” / A Theatre Show - Noam Ben Azar, director, Anna Gelfand and Avigail Arnheim, Actresses/creators Vered Dekel, music - After a fascinating process, two characters were created, two different faces of Szymborska’s personality as reflected by her poetry; two travelers with no place or definition, time transcending characters that came from nowhere and go nowhere.

“Big Country” From Stephen Foster to Bob Dylan / Gilad Ephrat Ensemble (Israel) - Gilad Ephrat – arrangements and contrabass, Keren Tannenbaum – vocalist and violin, Hilla Epstein – cello Shmuel Elbaz – mandolin Guests: Yermi Kaplan, Aramat Arnheim-Sharon, Shmulik Shamir - A tribute concert to poet and composer Stephen Foster, “the father of American music”. A journey through points in time of American music; from its Celtic influences to the folklore of today.

Mr. Turner / A film by Mike Leigh (2014) - About the British painter, William Turner (1775-1851) - “The best film of the year” Kenneth Turan, LA Times.

Marsh Dondurma (Israel) /Concert for the whole family - Taninim Al Harosh, Marsh Dondurma Special guest: Yoav Yefet - Stories and music that will move your feet and delight your ears with the great sound of 16 wind players and drummers.

Cologne Guitar Quartet / Concert - Tal Botvinik (Israel), Henrique Almeida (Portugal) , Ptolemaios Armaos (Greece) , Tobias Juchem (Germany) - Works by Bach, Torroba, Gasull, Kubo, Bogdanović, Skalkottas and and Bellinati - Supported by Goethe Institut and the Portuguese Embassy, Tel Aviv - In cooperation with the Tel Aviv Guitar Week.

Multi Piano /Multi Percussion (Israel) - MultiPiano: Tomer Lev, Berenika Glixman, Nimrod Haftel-Meiri, Almog Segal - Tremolo: Tomer Yariv, Lior Eldad, Nadav Ovadia, Daniel Salomonov, Tomer Galily In the program Stravinsky – Excerpts from “Petrushka” - Holst – The Planets Suite for two pianos (eight hands) and a percussion ensemble (New Arrangement by Israel Sharon) - In cooperation with the Buchmann Mehta School of Music, and “Tremolo”, the Israeli Percussion Center, Netanya.

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