Ilona Oltuski on Evgeny Kissin’s Mission to Celebrate Yiddish Music and Poetry
Ilona Oltuski  review our latest concert on her blog, GetClassical:
When Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post’s longtime political columnist and co-founder of the evening’s host organisation, Pro Musica Hebraica, introduced Evgeny Kissin at his recent Washington concert in co-production with the Kennedy Center, it was clear from the start that this evening would turn out to be very special.[…] “The series tries to establish that there is more to Jewish music than the obvious pick of Hava Nagilah or Klezmer,” says Krauthammer. “There is an abundance of works that deserve exposure. It is our hope to continue to disseminate these works by charismatic young performers, who carry them on to their next performances and assure these works’ visibility and continued inspiration.” Who better to fit the bill than star pianist Evgeny Kissin whose personal mission coincides with what the Krauthammers want to achieve? Kissin made sure that the artistic merits of the evening’s musical part were in no way compromised. As James Loeffler, the series’ director of research explains, Kissin took the plunge into a repertoire that was, in large parts, as new to him as it was to the audience.
Read the rest here.

Pianist Orli Shaham and friends at SUBCULTURE

Monday night’s audience at SUBCULTURE was in for a treat as WQXR’s host Naomi Lewin introduced most of the artists involved in the making of the newly released CDAmerican Grace, which features the world premiere recording of Steve Mackey’s piano concerto, Stumble to Gracecomposed for Orli Shaham. “She is such a class act,” says broadcaster, publicist and producer Gail Wein “…and extraordinarily joy to work with.” Photo Credit Elliot Sussman It all started at the Aspen Music Festival in 2007, when the superb Juilliard-trained pianist, born in Israel, and the cool West Coast guitarist/composer turned Princeton professor (and music department chair) met backstage at one of Mackey’s sizzling concert run-throughs and clicked instantly. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that Orli Shaham was pregnant with her now 6 year-old twin boys, and Steve Mackey and his wife were expecting as well; mostly, though, their connection was about their mutual, deep love for music, and their iconic take on music presentation, as they quickly discovered that Shaham felt a deep commitment towards performing works by living composers. The two musicians forged a bond and commissioned a new concerto, beginning a fascinating musical journey, which was shared live on stage at their recent SUBCULTURE show through excerpts from the CD as well as an interactive discussion by the artists involved. There were also film excursions into the landscape of the creative process, showing what is actually involved in the coming-together of ideas in a commissioned work, and how much depends on the creative exchange and rapport between the artists. Photo:  during rehearsal at SUBCULTURE credit Ilona Oltuski It turns out that the cooperative aspect is one of the most intriguing facets of contemporary compositions for today’s performers.  While Mackey studied Shaham’s individual performance style, she informed him about personal preferences and details, for example the size of her hands: things one could not ask a classical composer to consider in the past. In this case, Shaham even got to influence the final shape of the work’s cadenza, which Mackey envisioned as a grand finale. It is with this grander version of the finale, swiftly re-arranged by Mackey, that the concerto received its premiere recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Shaham’s husband, David Robertson, who was present as well this evening, acting as a page turner. Photo Credit Elliot Sussman Shaham not only exudes her deep understanding of and feeling for the music, but also radiates a contagious joy in performing it: “Every time a part of the score came my way,” says Shaham, “I was more excited to learn it and understand it…I love the different pianistic influences that shine through the music – from Thelonious Monk, to Mozart piano concerti, to Bach’s counterpoint to Vince Guaraldi.” Mackey’s solo electric guitar performance made clear how broadly his musical understanding reaches. It was fascinating to see the sensitivity and musical insight required to compose music and translate it to the instrument’s specific tactile facility. Facing Shaham from the second grand piano on stage, pianist Jon Kimura Parker made his appearance. Together they performed John Adam’s Hallelujah Junction, a work for two pianos also performed by both pianists on the recording. Shaham chose to include two pieces by Adams, since she feels that both composers – Mackey and Adams – “are at the forefront of defining what it means to be an American pianist today.” She continues: “Jon Kimura Parker was my dream partner for this work,” which indeed entails the most intricate, rhapsodic rhythmic episodes, fiendishly difficult to pull off as a team. Parker, who is also on the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, recorded his own transcriptions of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Petrouchka last year. China Gates for solo piano, another Adams work that Shaham performed at SUBCULTURE, showcases the composer’s strongly formulated lyrical vibe, which, as Shaham says: “has inspired as many composers as it has pianists with its beauty, simplicity, and complexity all intertwined.” (Orli Shaham quoted by Frank J. Oeteri in the CD’s excellent liner note.) As an encore, closing the evening’s performance, Shaham performed the miniature Sneaky March, originallycomposed by Mackey for Shaham’s curated series Baby got Bach. The concept of creating these interactive, classical concerts for children came to the entrepreneurial pianist when she discovered that there was nothing offered at the time to capture the musical imagination of the 3-6 year-old demographic. “While there where things for babies and older children, I was not able to find anything of musical interest for my own kids,” she shares. “At a time when kids are most susceptive to engage in a second language, which music is as well, I felt compelled - as a parent and someone passionate about music - to do something about it.” Now in its fourth season at the 92 Street Y, Baby got Bach begins with a hand on experience backstage, where children get to playfully explore musical instruments, followed by the on stage encounter of listening to live chamber music, performed by Shaham and friends. When it comes to music, Shaham’s enthusiasm and gifted engagement does not stop with her performances that range widely from solo and chamber to concerti repertoire with major orchestras, to guest performer at the great summer music festivals, or her work as a recording artist. She is a respected voice broadcaster, music writer, and lecturer, and shapes the world of music through her increasing number of commissions for new music. She feels indebted to her great mentor, pianist and pedagogue Herbert Stessin. In her obituary for Stessin, published in the Juilliard Journal in 2011, she recalls the “consummate pianist who lived and breathed the world of piano and the music around it…a teacher of fourteen years and friend and second pair of ears for the following fourteen.” In her words, something of her own adoring approach to the piano and the world of music comes through. Orli Shaham is four years younger than her brother, virtuoso violinist Gil Shaham, and though at times the two siblings are professionally connected through some of their shared projects, concerts, and recordings, Orli’s is a view clearly gained independently and shared through her own personal charisma. Audiences will look forward to her upcoming project, for which Shaham will turn to Johannes Brahms’ late opuses, exploring what inspired him and his works, and how a new generation of composers has in turn been inspired by his influence. Commissions to composers like Avner Dorman, Bruce Adolphe, and Brett Dean are going out for a recording to be released in the beginning of 2015 on the Canary record label. view excerpts
(L-R) Ilona Oltuski, PR² classic; John Gerlach, Rockefeller University; Chris Putnam, Colbert Artists Management, Inc.

JOSHUA BELL Private Holiday Event an

[caption id="attachment_9003" align="alignleft" width="200"] Ilona Oltuski, Romy Oltuski==
JOSHUA BELL Private Holiday Event and Live Broadcast with RENEE FLEMING, MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, and Others==
Private Residence, NYC==
November 26, 2013==
©Patrick McMullan==
Photo - Clint Spaulding/

d Live Broadcast with RENEE FLEMING, MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, and Others

Private Residence, New York, NY Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Photo - Clint Spaulding /PMC    
Harper's Bazaar Hot List has long been trickling out of traditional concert halls and into cooler, more contemporary watering holes. Hosted by the music blog Get Classical at the Gramercy Park Hotel, this concert series hits a sweet spot in the art-filled Rose Bar with a feel that’s downtown Manhattan by way of 19th century Paris salon. This time around, the series features Israeli pianist Elisha Abas as the main act on June 9, but its variety show atmosphere is known to draw audience members to the stage. (And quite a variety show that can lead to, given that the last installment’s couches were filled with musicians ranging from arty Juilliard students to Carnegie darling Evgeny Kissin.) Photo:courtesy GetClassical
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In the Right Hands: A guest post about Dorothy Taubman

In this rare and special JDCMB guest post, Ilona Oltuski from New York pays tribute to the late Dorothy Taubman's work in seeking to help pianists avoid injury at their instrument.

In The Right Hands – Music-Pedagogues Save Musicians From Injury  By Ilona Oltuski

“Life does not end with injury – you can get out of it!” Alexey Koltakov, pianist

Thanks to the late Dorothy Taubman’s essential body of work whose convincing insights convey the underlying principles of a ‘natural’ piano technique, there are no more secrets in today’s world of music to how pianists can avoid getting injured at the keyboard.

Based on physics and physiology, Taubman’s “natural” approach, which includes an understanding of all kinds of tension-related, repetitive-motion-syndrome injuries, and can be applied to other instrumentalists as well, identifies where personal limitations can be overcome by avoiding tense and restricting movements.  Her theory encourages musicians to avoid bending fingers in--or rather out--of shape, with over-exerting exercises, and detrimental, endless repetitions, of inherently wrong movements.

And yet, it still happens all the time!  Young musicians get caught up in intense training at their instrument without heeding serious warning signs, and as pianist Alexey Koltakov puts it, end up “taking a course towards the iceberg!”

The Ukrainian pianist felt his first symptoms of problems while partaking in the 2001 Van Cliburn competition. “I felt some sort of limitation in my right hand – compared to my left. I could not play octaves as freely, but at first it was just minimal. I was told to practice more by my teacher, Viktor Makarov, who used special training methods to build a faster technique and better endurance, and who had a good track record of other competition winners. Some years later, I was supposed to perform at the Arthur Rubinstein competition and three days before the supposed performance, I found myself unable to play any octaves at all. I had not wanted to face the fact that something was really wrong; but I could not control my right hand properly. I came to Veda (Kaplinsky) and she had a pretty good idea right there – focal dystonia – later also diagnosed by a neurologist. I had let things go too far, and the only recovery possibility was that I had to re-learn my motions for playing the piano. Where I had been curling my fingers with excessive pressure and tension before, pulling the fingers from the key, I had to consciously regain a tension-free approach. After a five-year period, I now retrieve an enormous amount of pleasure from playing the piano, again. Now I need around 3-4 hours of daily practice and I get much better results. I feel much more secure in my music making, able to express nuanced sound, in the way I choose to. My octaves are strong and there is none of the previous tension in my forearm. It’s a completely different, effortless touch,” says Koltakov, who gives testimony to the fact that Taubman’s principles, when well-applied by specialized pedagogues, can make all the difference.  Koltakov shares his experiences with other musicians freely, hoping they will avoid undergoing his hardship. He wants to get the word out that there is help available and reassure them that, “life does not end with injury – you can get out of it!”

“Alexey went into denial and started to compensate, never questioning what he was taught. He had to retrain his muscles, - not unlike a stroke victim, and it took a lot of perseverance on his part and almost three years. But when I listen to him play today his hands are completely healthy, and I am moved to tears,” says Veda Kaplinsky, Chair of Juilliard’s Piano Department.

“Taubman changed my own life and put me on the course, that I am on today,” Kaplinsky continues, “Until I met her, I was under the assumption that you were either talented or not, and that there were no “technical problems”, only technical deficiencies. One had to practice blindly to overcome them and only later did I understand the importance of examining how you move and approach your physical contact with the instrument. Understanding Taubman’s approach, I was confident and able to explain to my students the reason behind it all. That made a huge difference in my ability to penetrate walls of resistance which I sometimes encounter, when introducing sometimes drastic, necessary changes. Of course, I have an average of 30 students a year and you develop your own way of imparting the information and every student needs something else. I can’t separate anymore where Taubman ends and I begin, but some of the basic principle images and expressions I use up to this day. I remember how the title, for the planned but never published book about her approach, inspired me: ‘The piano plays you,’ got me thinking: that brilliant concept of using the mechanics of the piano instead of fighting the instrument is so foreign to what I was used to, yet worked so well.  It was rebellious to many things we did intuitively, and were trained to do. It was predominantly her diagnostic ability that impressed me. She could look at a pair of hands and immediately know what’s wrong and what needs fixing.” Kaplinsky herself claims to have developed a bit of that x-ray vision, which allows her to quickly recognize the causes of pain and tension, even if the artists themselves ignore their symptoms.

“Physical discomfort prevents you from controlling the instrument in a way that enables you to express yourself musically,” she says. An artist’s physical habits at the piano become very much part of their perception of how expressive they can be. If something goes wrong, the whole essence of the musician’s well being is endangered. It’s important for people to realize that changing their injurious physical habits will not endanger their ability to express. On the contrary, freeing one’s hands enables them to explore greater possibilities and to be more consistent. Discomfort leads to loss of control and motivation to practice. But ultimately this knowledge hast to become so ingrained, like second nature. Moving correctly means removing all harshness and roughness from your sound, balance well and avoid all glitches from your finger work; in short, it is to achieve everything from pearly articulation to powerful projection,” which is, of course, a pianist’s dream come true.

In some cases, Kaplinsky will refer some of her students to Taubman specialist Edna Golandsky, who was Dorothy Taubman’s close protégé, assistant and co-lecturer for many years. Golandsky, co-founder of the Golandsky Institute, which offers its annual summer residence at Princeton-University, teaches out of her studio in New York.

Photo: Dorothy Taubman(left), Edna Golandsky(right) Kaplinsky, who knew Taubman before she recently passed away at the age of 95, had initially heard about her work from Golandsky, who studied with her “already 45 years ago,” says Kaplinsky, who initially was critical of what she had heard. Accompanying her college roommate in an attempt to “save her” from falling into the “cult” of Taubman, Kaplinsky changed her mind the moment she was “greeted by this very warm and sweet lady, who was not at all what I had envisioned.”  Kaplinsky says, “I remember, how the sound of my roommate at the piano changed immediately, after Taubman was touching her elbow slightly. I was in total amazement – asking her, would you listen to me too? – That’s when I started studying with her.”

Even though Kaplinsky did not publicly announce Taubman training as part of her specialty, it was always a well-known fact that she believed strongly in the Taubman principles, and integrated them into her teaching. Kaplinsky was recorded at the Piano World Conference, talking about her personal relationship with Taubman, and embracing her method.  That recording is now out of circulation, but there are a number of recordings that have been released by the Golandsky Institute that are a great starting point for familiarizing oneself with Taubman’s principles; some are also available on the Naxos library website, and are accessible through music colleges and public institutions.

What counts are true results! Alexey Koltakov performed in a concert this week at Juilliard's Morse Hall, and announced on his Facebook page: “Tonight I had my first ‘controlled’ public performance after five years of focal dystonia in my right hand!"


By Ilona Oltuski,

Israeli Soccer Player and Pianist to Perform in Venezuela

March 8, 2013 in Arts & Culture, Latest
By Ilona Oltuski Pianist Elisha Abas – Scriabin in the Genes The ante has just been upped: at the personal request of powerhouse conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, pianist Elisha Abas will perform with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in Caracas in July of 2013. Says Abas: “We have a great rapport and I feel Dudamel’s contagious energy.  I am sure it’s going to be an extraordinary experience.” After hearing Abas perform in his native Israel in 2011, Dudamel had invited Abas for the first time, but as a result of last minute changes he himself was replaced by Venezuelan conductor Eduardo Marturet. Aba played, nevertheless, and was full of praise for the youth orchestra that, as he experienced it, “carries the same enthusiasm that Dudamel himself embodies so explicitly.” Abas and Dudamel will be performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto no. 1 this summer in Venezuela, not Scriabin, although Abas is now intensively involved in preparing for Scriabin’s upcoming anniversary in 2015. Several Russian concert programmers have recognized the fascinating musical correlation between Abas and his great-great-grandfather, Scriabin, and have asked Abas to perform works by his ancestor, including his piano concerto. Abas explains:  “I have always been exposed to his pieces, but lately have developed an especially close affinity to his work. I almost feel a spiritual connection, a familiarity that is hard to explain; but when my mother recently asked me, why I am not playing more Scriabin, I realized I was already engaged in building a program centered around this mystical figure in my life. It is coming all together full circle – his anniversary, my turning back to him and his music … “ And he continues:  “There is definitely a strong connection being channeled through pianistic aspects; when I play his pieces, my fingers almost lead their own way through the passages; there is a feeling of kinship from deep inside. It’s different than with other composers, it comes so easy to me, so self understood, as if I know the music already from within,” he says, reflecting on the project’s repertoire, however, is just the most recent endeavor in his effort to launch a full-scale comeback for his career as a pianist – a career that began many years ago. It almost seemed that Abas was destined to take up the piano as a child, yet from the very start, his talent would also present him with a liability. Soon after the toddler astonished his neighbors with his impressive singing skills which led to his first piano lessons, his parents understood that nothing less than extreme devotion would be necessary to foster their son’s extraordinary talent. Open conflict arose when his father Shlomo’s fervent involvement in Elisha’s early career caused young Elisha to rebel against his father’s strict discipline. Abas realized only much later, that his father’s ambitions were an honest effort to encourage his son’s rare potential, and allow him to be the best that he could be.  Today, he and his father – a prominent storyteller and author of numerous children books – are best friends. Part of Abas’s prominence as a child came from performing, on several occasions, for the legendary pianist, Arthur Rubinstein.  Abas received Rubinstein’s unwavering acknowledgement in the form of a golden Rolex with the inscription, “For Elisha. Arthur Rubinstein. Good luck”. Abas still wears it today.  There is a charming story behind the story: “I had just played a house concert for the exiled Prince Jose of Italy in Geneva, where Rubinstein lived with his guest, Annabelle, later to become Lady Annabelle Weidenfeld. I played a lot of Chopin, Schumann, and also some Schubert. My father, who accompanied me on my trips, had come with me. When I had finished – as to make sure it was not a lucky strike, Rubinstein said: “Wonderful, now play it again.” I did, and the next day – I had planned to go skiing – Annabelle said they wanted to meet us again. She said: “I have a gift for you,” and gave me something that, at the time, was really special – a Walkman. This was in 1992, and must have been one of the first ones, and I cherished the thought of probably being the first person in Israel who owned this novelty, held in an elegant leather cover. And then Rubinstein approached me and said: “I have something else for you as well,” handing me a little box, gift wrapped and adorned with a bow, asking me: “Can you guess what it is?” I had been spoiled by many gifts after performances, and I had one brand of chocolate I was particularly crazy about. It came in small packages like this. So full of expectation, I said: “It’s chocolate!” To my surprise I found this golden watch instead. Along with it, I was also given some of Rubinstein’s own recordings and a photo with a dedication to me, saying something like: “To Elisha, who fascinated me especially with his Chopin playing, and who will hopefully fulfill his great calling.’” Although this endorsement by Rubinstein would have been considered a huge feat for any pianist, and despite the many Israel-America Cultural Foundation competitions he had won during the successful start of his piano career, Abas still decided to quit, and escape the increasing pressure of the music world at age 14. The teenager had come to the conclusion that the constant battle between the ‘normal life’ he coveted and the love and respect he received in his musical endeavors created stress and neuroses, which, to him, seemed too high a price to pay. “The decision to stop at age 14 allowed me to develop many sides of me,” says Abas, who is now 41 years old. “I grew up in a very simple environment. Already within my own surroundings, being honed as a concert pianist was not exactly the norm. …The travelling, the pressure of being a “Wunderkind,” and being shown off to all sorts of people, performing around the world… Some enjoy it, but for me it was not the right thing …there were other thing to conquer, that’s what I felt at the time.” Even though he chose to abandon the world of music of his youth in favor of an active soccer career (Abas played for all the major leagues in Israel), his feelings of respect for music never left him entirely. Also deeply ingrained in him was a keen sense of obligation and gratitude to his teachers and his father, for all the support he had received and for the discipline they had taught him on his way to becoming a musician. He particularly remembers his first teacher at the Jerusalem Conservatory, Esther Medvetzki, and then of course the widely admired Israeli pianist, Pnina Salzman, herself a student of Cortot, who had accepted Abas as her student and had opened the world of concert stages for him. Back then, Abas’s entire family relocated from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv to enable lessons with the famed pedagogue and Abas blossomed under Salzman’s tutelage. He talks affectionately about Pnina, referring to her as the person who changed his life not once, but twice. After taking him on as a student, she was able to refine and direct his already mature pianism and musicianship. The second change came when she took a spontaneous phone call from Abas, even though they had not seen each other for many years. Although he had explored many diverse challenges, and had even started a family, he describes the time before meeting up again with Pnina Salzman as particularly painful: “I had been in an emotional state of almost being numb, not letting my emotions get out,” he reflects, describing the time between his abandonment of the piano and that fateful second meeting. It had taken him years to eventually realize that first and foremost, he was a musician. He very vividly remembers the situation in which this simple and obvious fact really struck him: “My car had been stolen, and for three weeks the insurance company gave me a rental car in Israel, which only had an old fashioned cassette player. All my old cassettes were [recordings of] classical music, and I put the Second Concerto by Brahms. I drive a lot, {so this cassette] kept playing over and over …  I wanted ‘my’ music in my life again. I was 30 at the time, had already my two kids and a family, and I realized that ‘inner voice’ calling on me once more: I had to perform again.” After finally realizing that there was no escape for him from the piano, Abas contacted Salzman: “At first she mistook me for a different Abas, a tuner she was expecting to make an appointment with, but then, when she understood it was me asking to see her, she said: ‘Come now!’ And I came.  It was eleven o’clock at night, I was in my car, and was bringing her chocolate and cigarettes.”  At that stage, Salzman had stopped smoking for many years, so she put the cigarettes to the side. Yet, the next day she but picked them up and gave in to her suppressed desires, just as Abas did in terms of his music. He continued to study with Salzman during the following four years, and stayed with her until her death in 2006. Abas’s drive to perform helps to understand the power of live performance, and the fact that creative spontaneity and the intoxicating ‘smell’ (as he calls it) of a performance cannot be taught, but must be felt. He says: “There is a small margin between control and freedom that the artist has to walk constantly, like on a tight rope. Very few know to negotiate that line without losing balance and leaning too much to one side. My piano teacher never tried to show things, or make them clear through specific instructions: she always tried to evoke the meaning. While I studied Brahms’ 2nd Concerto with her, and having been raised listening to that piece, I became very emotional during the first movement. The piano’s voice was meant to accompany the orchestral voice [during this movement], so my emotion was not really appropriate for the musical voicing. She reacted by marking 38 degrees (Celsius) on a piece of paper, and saying: ‘This is what we need — not 40 degrees!’  She did not want to tell me exactly what much I should do; 38 degrees feels different to everyone, but everyone understands that 38 is not 40 degrees. This was the essence of her approach: to help me understand how to moderate my style and emotion within the context of the composer’s vision.” Today, Abas is happy to be able to look back on the different experiences in his life, including leaving high school early, his job in publishing, the long run as a soccer player, and even studying for law degree, all while he also contributed to raising two kids. He reflects on his life as a musician today: “To be inspired, you are always stimulated by personal exchange, and not just by the music score. You can’t get everything in the practice room. As a performer you can’t separate the artist from his or her own personality. It’s out there, in the little gestures, mannerisms and moves. When I sit at the piano, I like to sit on a chair with a back – like I do at home when I practice; I sit still and let the fingers do everything necessary. You actually use less energy like this and the body does not need to express anything, just the fingers!” During the last several years, Abas has built up a performance schedule that, according to him, has kept him busy enough. Teaming up with the energetic Simona DeFeo, he has also managed to introduce his savvy new ideas to the New York music market. Their shared concept, New York’s Concert Meister Series, opened the door to performance opportunities for visiting orchestral soloists. It cannot be easy to step into the pianistic “ring” after others have already built up a following over many rounds of performances, but perhaps it is exactly this kind of fresh courage and determination that marks a true artist. Abas’s playing and worldview indeed bear a remarkable resemblance to those of the artists of the Golden Age of Piano that he so admires. Abas is more than aware of today’s particular challenges. “Today it is a big problem to build one’s career; one gets so busy with building a forum and it makes one too careful to take risks. One becomes afraid to sound too unique or not unique enough, one is afraid of the critics, the audience… As an artist one has to be willing to take risks. Also, you have to offer something fresh. I doubt anybody can do that night after night, performing the same concerto, even if in different cities. I feel today’s possibilities of reaching wider audiences all over the world somehow decrease the artistic ingredients of performing.” And he continues: “It’s true that, like the clown, a performer has to be able to detach himself somewhat from his personal life, to whatever extent that’s possible. I can smile a little while sad, but I am not sure how much you can really take the person out of the performer, or how much you would want to.” Abas’s recent performance at the Staatstheater in Kassel, Germany, reunited him with one of his favorite young musicians, the Israeli conductor, Yoel Gamzou. Photo:FAZ Yoel Gamzou Gamzou gained attention when he premiered his new edition of Mahler’s 10th Symphony at the age of 23; in this edition he integrated some of Mahler’s original ideas that previously had only existed in fragmented sketches. Others, like Deryck Cooke and Berthold Goldschmidt in 1960, had attempted to reconstruct the oeuvre’s character by building on these fragments before him. Schott Musicpublished Gamzou’s version, which was premiered in 2010 during the Berlin Jüdische Kulturtage (Jewish Culture Festival) with the Mahler Orchestra, an international orchestra of young musicians from 20 countries. Gamzou calls Abas: “One of the most extraordinary musicians I have ever encountered, a combination of indescribable musical genius and utter human and artistic simplicity, in its purest and only positive sense, at the same time. Working with him was an experience which has changed my life and my perspective on music, and I have always said that if I were to have been a pianist, I would have liked to play like Elisha. Rarely have pianists’ mastered timing and color in such an unmistakable and convincing way. Rarely have people made form and conventions so redundant, bringing us directly to the core of music. Elisha is a very special and unusual person, and, quite a rare find in nowadays’ music industry, his playing reflects exactly that. Such a degree of sincerity has not been present in the concert hall for many generations now, and I believe he will leave a monumental mark on the musical world, if given the chance to do so. For what he has to offer is a gift of a century.”   It seems that the chance, Gamzou is mentioning, is approaching now! This article is based on the article published by Staccato (Photos of Elisha Abas courtesy of Elisha Abas) at PianoNews.  
Artists Management Noam Zur – Conductor ArtPro - Artists Management 10, Baal Shem Tov St., Apt. 96, Herzeliya 46342, Israel T: +972 9 9505816 * F: +972 9 9505817 * Mobile GSM: +972 54 5795120 USA +1-(347) 410-9029 * Germany T +49 (201) 45320081 Website: * Email:  Artistic Director and Chief Conductor - Tino Pattiera Opera Festival, Dubrovnik, Croatia  Principal Guest Conductor - Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra „... präzise leitend und stets vital präsent [...] wie fein kann Noam Zur die variationsreichen Orchester-Klangfarben dem Solisten anpassen! Perfekt setzt er mit exzellenten Bläsern markante Akzente. Im zweiten Satz veredelt sich das Miteinander zum Singen wie aus einem gemeinsamen Atem.“ 8. Mai 2015, Ulrich Enzel, Heilbronner Stimme, WKO Heilbronn, Nils Mönkemeyer, Viola „... Noam Zur’s effervescent demeanor and his ability to connect with both the orchestra and the audience made for a fantastic season-closing concert at Chautauqua last week...“ 21. August 2012, Ilona Oltuski, Chautauqua Institution USA, Daniil Trifonov, Piano „... Noam Zur skillfully conducted the symphonic orchestra of Lodz Philharmonic drawing out from the ensemble an exceptional palette of colours… “ Marta Śniady, Dziennik Lodzki, March 19, 2013, Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Lodz, Simon Trpceski, Piano