End Looms for Musical Jewel in the Crown

One of Jerusalem’s best offerings—the free Monday afternoon Ethnachta series of chamber music concerts—is yet again in danger of being axed. The series was born in 1983 when the Israel Broadcasting Authority established Kol Hamusika (the voice of music), Israel’s classical music station that broadcast the concerts live. The featured artists include promising young Israeli musicians and older Israelis who have already established vigorous careers in Israel and abroad as well as artists from other countries. And the music is not all Beethoven and Brahms. Etnachta also features works by Israeli composers. Since 1989 the concerts have been produced and presented by Hayuta Dvir, who introduces each musician and each work with both passion and erudition.

On Monday afternoons, even in stormy weather, hundreds of local residents and visitors can be seen streaming to the Henry Crown Symphony Hall at the Jerusalem Theater, often filling the venue to the rafters. Last Monday, although there was no listing or announcement of the concert and though it wasn’t at all certain that it would be possible to get past the roadblocks set up for the visit of President Donald Trump (Dvir came to the concert hall on foot while the roads were still closed off), the loyal audience turned out en masse to hear the Israel Haydn Quartet. The group—Eyal Kless (piano), Svetlana Simanovsky (violin), Tali Kravitz (viola), and Shira Mani (cello)—played a lush program of Puccini, Mozart, and Brahms and was joined by clarinetist Eli Even for one of the works. I sat close enough to watch Mani’s often facial expressions as she wielded her bow. She seemed enraptured, and that added to the pleasure of the sublime music.

But whereas previously listeners at home could have tuned in to their radios or streamed the concert on their computers, this time—ominously—the music was not broadcast live (though Dvir managed to organize a recording). And when the final applause came to an end, Dvir told the audience that the next concert, scheduled for June 19, would be the last…unless the public used its power to influence the new broadcasting corporation, which has already wreaked havoc in the lives of so many journalists and technicians.
So please let the corporation know that the public wants the Etnachta concerts to continue. And I would add that I would like them to continue with Hayuta Dvir, who is their heart and soul. Here is an e-mail address: info@ipbc.org.il, and here is a phone number: 072-390-5555.

Text copyright 2017 by Esther Hecht. No part of the text may be used without written permission of the author.

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4 Responses to “End Looms for Musical Jewel in the Crown”

  1. David Bennett Says:

    “.. the new broadcasting corporation, which has already wreaked havoc in the lives of so many journalists and technicians.”

    Why? What is driving this?

  2. estherhecht Says:

    When politicians seek greater control of the media…

  3. Lior Says:

    So sad, Esther! I hope this program continues. Thanks for writing about it.

  4. Last-minute Reprieve for Endangered Music in Jerusalem | Esther Hecht's Blog Says:

    […] 22, which was not broadcast, had ended with the announcement that the series’ continuation was in doubt. The popular free series was produced under the Israel Broadcasting Authority, Kan’s predecessor, […]

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