Artists
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The Philharmonic String Quartet

The Philharmonic String Quartet represents the young generation of musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic: cosmopolitan, versatile and artistically passionate. In the winter of 2018, three young Philharmonic members — Helena Madoka Berg (violin), Dorian Xhoxhi (violin) and Kyoungmin Park (viola) — founded a new ensemble out of a desire to make music together with enthusiasm. Together with Christoph Heesch (cello), who brings his experience as a soloist to this intimate setting of making music, they strive to inspire their listeners with fresh impulses and outstanding sound quality.

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SIVAN ROTEM – soprano & painter

One of Israel’s leading Sopranos who sings in five continents with famous conductors in Operas, Concerts and recitals.Rotem is also an International Painter who exhibited her solo exhibitions in London, Madrid, Lisbon, Braga, Bucharest, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Museums and Art Galleries.Collaborated with Pianist Almira Emiri in Tirana, Budapest, Gyor, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and recorded her solo CDs for leading labels as “Helicon” and “NAXOS”.

THE ISRAEL KLEZMER ORCHESTRA

The Israel Klezmer Orchestra is a large musical ensemble which performs Klezmer music, the musical heritage of the Eastern European Jews. The group, the only one of its kind in the world, possesses a distinctive size and energy which hearken back to the early 20th century, when large Klezmer orchestras where still all the rage.  

The orchestra presents the musical culture of Eastern European Jewry in all its glory to Israeli and international audiences, and represents Israel as the center of Jewish traditional music.

The Israel Klezmer Orchestra was founded in 2017 by Gershon Leizerson, an Israeli musician, composer and teacher. Leizerson, a virtuoso violinist, is an expert on Klezmer music who is an active researcher in the field, and is a graduate of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv.

Israel Klezmer Orchestra
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ALMIRA EMIRI

Almira is a prominent classical pianist focused primarily on forgotten works composed by the Russian avant-garde, the Society for Jewish Folk Music and various Albanian musicians. She collaborates with composers throughout Europe and has performed in a variety of prestigious venues such as the Teatro di Marcello (Rome), Recanati Hall (Tel Aviv), the Palace of Arts (Budapest), the Opera House (Tirana), Stefaniensaal (Graz, Austria) and the National Library (Jerusalem).Almira studied at the “Bela Bartok” conservatory and the Music University “Franc Liszt” in Budapest and the University of Music and Arts in Graz in Austria. She founded “Babameto Trio”, the unique pianistic group “Degustation Pianiste” and later “Isralb Duo” and other chamber music groups performing in Austria, Hungary, Israel, Italy, France, Croatia, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland and Kosovo. For 2014 and 2015 she sat in the jury of the international piano competition “Councours–Festival” organized by the Conservatory of Paris for emergent talents of modern and contemporary music.

ASI MATATHIAS

Violinist Asi Matathias, protege of Pinchas Zukerman, is already recognized as one of the most celebrated talents of his generation. He made his debut at the age of 14 with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta, displaying a musical maturity and inspiration far beyond his years. This success was immediately followed by another invitation from Maestro Mehta to perform with him in the following season. Since then, he has performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras across the globe with such conductors as Eliahu Inbal, , Dan Ettinger, Horia Andreescu, Eduard Topchjan, Leon Botstein, Frederic Chaslin, the late Mendi Rodan and Gints Glinka. Mr. Matathias has recorded for the BBC, CBC, WQXR, IBA and ORF. He is a frequent recitalist and has performed extensively throughout Europe, Asia, the US, South America and Israel, in foremost venues like Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, Zankel Hall and Weil Recital Hall in New York, Berlin Philharmonie, Izumy Hall in Japan, Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Bronfman Auditorium in Tel-Aviv, Harbin Opera House and The National Arts Center in Canada. As an enthusiastic chamber musician, he has collaborated with renowned artists such as Yefim Bronfman, Nikolaj Znaider, Pinchas Zukerman, Renaud Capucon, Nobuko Imai and Frans Helmerson. He has played in Festivals such as the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, The Con Anima Festival in Austria, the Vienna Bezirk Wochen Festspiele, the Israel Festival, Prussia Cove in England and other festivals around the world. Mr. Matathias began playing the violin when he was six years old. In Israel, he studied with Chaim Taub, and became the youngest student to be enrolled at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He also studied with violinists Aaron Rosand and the late David Nadien. Matathias was awarded the 2017 career grant from “Salon de Virtuosi” in New York. He was also awarded a diploma of excellence and has been supported by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation since 1997. Matathias earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, where he was a long time student of Pinchas Zukerman and his teaching associate Patinka Kopec.

Asi Matathias, violinist
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VICTOR STANISLAVSKY

Victor Stanislavsky is hailed as one of the most outstanding Israeli pianists today. His international career as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician has taken him to many countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and to north and South America. Stanislavsky has performed in prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall and the 92Y in New-York, Berlin Philharmonie, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Seoul Arts Center and Beijing’s National performing arts Center to name a few. Stanislavsky holds both bachelors and masters degrees summa cum laude, in music performance from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel-Aviv University, where he studied with Daniel Gortler and Arie Vardi. Winner of more than 10 top prizes and awards in competitions in Italy, Andorra, China, U.S and Israel, and supported by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarships.

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FLAKA GORANCI

Flaka Goranci set out studying piano, before changing her major to singing. She obtained her bachelor degree at the Music Academy of Tirana in Albania. Master studies followed at ”Buchmann-Mehta-School of Music” – Tel Aviv University in Israel. As 22 years old she made her debut as Rosina in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”, at the Albanian State Opera in Tirana.

Flaka has worked under distinguished conductors including Nicolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Kuhn, Ulrich Windfuhr, Pawel Poplawski, Enrico Delamboye, Manfred Mayrhofer, Vittorio Parisi, Yishai Steckler, Zhani Ciko etc… She is a winner of the Hildegard Zadek Scholarship Foundation (KS Hilde Zadek). Flaka has been performing in many prestigious avenues like : Theater an der Wien, Vienna Konzerthaus, Gläserner Saal Musikverein, Stefaniensaal Graz, MuTh hall, Vatroslav Lisinski concert hall etc…with great orchestras like Hamburger Symphoniker, Concentus Musicus, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, Albanian Symphony Orchestra, Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra etc. In 2015 her first CD-Project ”Albanian Flowers” with the ensemble “Dielli” (Vienna Philharmonic musicians) was released by Gramola company in Vienna. In this voice, you can find everything: Lyric, Bel canto – Coloratura, Italian, French, German or Slavic Zwischenfach…” like this is praised the young opera singer Flaka Goranci from the ”Neue Merker” critic in Vienna.

AGRON PENI – GUITARIST & COMPOSER

As a guitar virtuoso, Agron Peni is able to blend Flamenco and classical music with an astounding and captivating technique. While graduating for classical guitar at the Faculty of Arts in Prishtina (Kosovo), he had already established the “Latino Band” characterized by a fusion style –merging traditional Balkan music with Latin music and Flamenco. Agron Peni has a prolific record of musical projects. In 2006 he released his first album with the “Latino Band”. In 2009 he recorded his second album “Duo Guitar” as a duet with the guitarist Astrit Stafaj, featuring original creations by Agron. In 2015, “Publimaster Records“ (Spain) presents exclusively Agron’s third and fourth albums, a double album record entitled “Mirage” (group) and “Solo” (more personal and intimate), whereby classical, Flamenco, Latin and Balkan music are blended in a unique style. In 2017, he released his fifth album entitled “Udhë” (Pathways) as a duet in Norway with the soprano Lindita Ottarsson. During the 2020 lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemics, Agroni presents the Album “Home”. Agron Peni has performed in numerous stages around the world, including Albania, Northern Macedonia, Bulgaria, Italy, Norway, Poland, Qatar and New York.

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BORIS PIGOVAT

Boris Pigovat (b.1953, Odessa, USSR) studied at the Gnessin Music Institute  (Academia of Music) in Moscow. Between 1978 and 1990 he lived in Tadjikistan.   Boris Pigovat immigrated to Israel in 1990. In 1995 he got the Prize of “ACUM”   (“Society of Authors, Composers & Music Publishers in Israel”) for his composition  Requiem “The Holocaust” . In 2000 he got the prize of Prime Minister of State of  Israel. In 2002 he received his Ph.D. degree from Bar-Ilan University (Israel).   His compositions have been performed around the world.  Among his works are: Oratorio “Eichah” (“Jeremiah’s Lamentations”) for  narrator, soprano, chorus & symphony orchestra(2001); Requiem “The Holocaust” for viola & symphony orchestra (1994-1995, 3 Symphonies, tonal poems for symphony  orchestra, wind orchestra, works for different chamber ensembles and solo instruments.

ALEX WASSERMAN

Alex Wasserman is a composer, conductor, and cellist. He studied composition and conducting at the Rubin academy of music with Prof. Abel Erlich and V. Cello with Zvi Harel. He studied V. Cello with Peter Willy (Beaux Art Trio) and conducting with Michael Chary at The Mannes college of music in New York and later received a doctorate degree from The Julliard School of music.His works had been performed In Israel, United States and Europe. Alex Wasserman   He is currently the music director of the Tel Aviv Chamber Music society and the Ramat Gan Symphony Orchestra. During the years he conducted all Major Orchestras in Israel in a large and variable Symphonic repertoire.

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SUZANA TURKU

Suzana Turku studied at the University of Arts in Tirana. Doctorate in Ethnomusicology. For 17 years Turku was the conductor of the Albanian National Theater of Opera and Ballet Choir. Head of the Conducting Department at the University of Arts in Albania and was appointed as Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports. She founded several choral ensembles such as “Pax Dei”, “Little Angels” and “Mother Theresa”. She is a guest conductor, participates in festivals, conferences and seminars often regarding the Albanian music phenomena and issues. She has been awarded with the country’s highest distinction, “Meritorious Artist”, by the President of the Republic of Albania.

NITZAN BARTANA

Nitzan Bartana an israeli violinist born in 1989. She attended the Tel Aviv and Givataim Conservatories, winning at age 12 the Strings Competition. Since 2002 she studied with prof. Yair Kless, first at the Buchman-Mehta School of Music of the Tel-Aviv University, where she was offered a full scholarship, and between 2008-2012 she completed with distinction her Bachelor of Arts degree at Kunstuniversität Graz, Austria. 

Nitzan gave her first solo performance, with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, at age 12, and has since appeared with most of the Israeli orchestras including the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, the Ashdod Symph. Orch., the Buchman-Mehta Symph. Orch. and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with which in 2008 she also performed in a Gala concert in Carnegie Hall, New York. 

Nitzan received the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarships with distinction for solo and chamber music performance since 2001, won awards in Israel (the Buchman-Heiman Award, Lions Preis, TA Municipality Award, “Aviv” Competitions Public Award,prizes in the TA Music Academy Competitions for solo and chamber music) and in international competitions – like Mozart Concerto in the 2014 international violin competition Freiburg, German. At age 15- at the H. Marteau International Violin Competition, Germany,  the Tolls Stiftung Preis, Honorary-distinction-prize for KUG graduates, and several prizes for chamber music, playing with her trio, based at the Graz Music University.  Nitzan performed regularly in a quartet of the Jerusalem Mishkenot Sha’ananim Music Center and participated in many recorded or live broadcasted concerts (at the Tel Aviv Museum, Kfar Blum Festival, Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, Ein Hod Festival among other).

Her solo performances abroad include concerts with the Kammerphilharmonie Dacapo München, the Vogtland Philharmonie, the Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, the Philharmonic Orchestra Freiburg, Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Max Reger Festival, Schubertiade Tamba Festival, Japan, in Mozarteum Salzburg, Paris, USA, Poland, Hungary, Russia (at the Moscow Kremlin), Latvia. Chamber music performances lead her also to Italy, France, Japan, Czech Rep., Belgium (Musica Mundi Festival, 2001-2008), St.Gallen and Eggenberger Schlosskonzerte Festivals, Austria.

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YAEL KATZIR

Professor Yael Katzir is an Israeli born professor, teacher, guest lecturer, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. Prof. katzir has produced and directed over 20 full length documentary films, including “The Albanian Code,” which won “Best Documentary” at the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival in 2019.

Prof. Katzir has taught film and history for many years, including at the Art School of Beit Berl Academic College, the Kibuzim Academic Teachers’ College, the Tel Aviv University’s Film Department, and the Hebrew University. She was the Director of Beit Berl College’s Communal Cable Television Center and served as the head and designer of the “Jerusalem Across the Ages” course at the Open University.

With a passion for research and studying, Yael received her BA and MA at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. She continued her doctoral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Hebrew University. Returning to the United States, Yael completed a MSC at Boston College of Communications in Film Broadcasting. Yael has served as a Guest Lecturer on subjects related to the Israeli documentary film industry. She was an invited guest to film festivals in Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, the U.S. and in her native Israel.

ARBEN GOLEMI

Arben Golemi is an Albanian artist born in Berat, pursuing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts of Tirana (MA in art theory, 1987) and the Tirana University  (MSc in architecture, 1978). Golemi’s painting works have been exhibited in solo and collective exhibitions worldwide, including Madrid (Spain), New York (USA), Geneva (Switzerland), Pristina (Kosovo), Sofia (Bulgaria), Karabyk (Turkey) and Rabat (Morocco). Golemi’s family has received recognition for helping the rescue of Jews from the Nazi extermination during the Holocaust. Referring to Golemi’s works, Jeannie McCormack compares his “paintings to the gemlike masterpieces of Paul Klee in the period when he conjured up the mystery of little towns in abstract terms with geometric shapes and glowing colors.”  

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VIOLA ISUFAJ

Viola Isufaj is an author and Associate Professor of Contemporary Albanian Literature at the Department of Literature, Faculty of History and Philology, University of Tirana, Albania. She is the author of several books, ranging from research, university texts, literary fiction and poetry. She has published many scholarly papers and high school textbooks. Her first novel, Zotit M. – një letër (To Mr. M. – a Letter, Tirana, 2004) focuses on the loss of present day human communications, and opens up with an introduction by Ismail Kadare, the world-class Albanian writer, who describes the novel as a “sweet, sober and lŭurious wonder”. Originating from a family that was persecuted by the totalitarian regime, she was a teenager when communism collapsed in Albania and metaphorically expressed these events in her second novel Saga e gjarprit (Snake’s Saga, Tirana, 2005). The third novel Ditë të askujt (Nobody’s Days, Tirana, 2008), was followed by the publication of several cycles in poetry and the book Adamah (Adamah, Tirana, 2016).
With Adamah, Viola Isufaj was awarded the First Prize in Poetry at the 2016 Prishtina International Book Fair, Prishtina, Kosovo. She also won the First Prize of the 2017 National Poetry Festival in Korça, Albania and was runner up for the 2015 Tirana International Albanian Book Fair Award. Viola Isufaj has also translated poetry work into Albanian, the most important of them, the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay as well as some parts of Irish mythological cycle.
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IVÁN BENDA

Iván Benda is a Hungarian photography whose diverse works range from broad segments of portrait and advertising photography, to the creation of theater, ballet, concerts and various philosophically and historically motivated, cross-border photographic art series. Through works spanning almost four decades, he can trace the use of most modern digital and graphic-software techniques from the analogy black-and-white era. Among the highly successful books, calendars, and publications feature “Living Jerusalem”, “Hungarian Memories in Italy” and the Gutenberg Prize-winning “Photo Bend” album, or the Olympic calendar created with the support of the Hungarian Olympic Committee. In addition to recordings of the greats of the world music, theater and literature (like György Solti, Zoltán Kocsis, Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern), he has worked with world companies as Siemens, Kapsch, Ericsson, Johnnie Walker and Sony. He has been working in Israel continuously since 2000. With works spanning almost a decade, he vividly presents, among other things, the coexistence of the three world religions in the Holy Land.

EDLIRA SULAJ

Edlira Sulaj is the Founder and Director of “Tradita Popullore”, a unique business enterprise wholly focused on Albanian traditions and heritage. The passion for traditional costumes dates since Edlira’s childhood, having inherited from her grandmother and mother the traditional techniques for the realization and reproduction of traditional costumes. This rich background experiences and legacy has driven her to explore ways on how to protect, develop and transmit this heritage on to younger generations. In 2012 she established the aptly called “Tradita Popullore”, an enterprise growing by the year thanks to Edlira’s dedication. Edlira holds certificates in the fields of artisanal work and couturier/fashion design, as well as theoretical and technical instruction of artisanship. With her qualified and committed staff, Edlira Sulaj has participated in numerous festivals, concerts, and cultural and social activities, notably the “Gjirokastra Festival” with all costumes adorning this national event being creations of Edlira’s atelier of artisans. Every year Edlira travels abroad extensively and presents the best of the Albanian traditions and heritage to the Albanian diaspora as also to the large international public.

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