Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra returns


Published: Friday, January 17, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 11:44 p.m.

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra was last here in March of 1999, when it performed Dvorak's "Symphony No. 8" under then-director David Shallon.

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Pianist Joseph Kalichstein will join the orchestra in a performance of Mozart's "Concerto No. 17 in G Major."

Special to the Sun

The orchestra is back in town for a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Phillips Center. The conductor is different - not current director Frederic Chaslin but guest conductor Lawrence Foster, who was the orchestra's music director before Shallon.

And, of course, the program is different.

Highlighting the event on this occasion will be piano soloist Joseph Kalichstein, who will join the orchestra in a performance of Mozart's "Concerto No. 17 in G Major."

Also programmed are Leonard Bernstein's "Symphony No. 1" ("Jeremiah"); Strauss' "Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche"; and "Scherzo and Serenade" by Israeli composer Yinam Leef.

Thursday's concert brings together a lot of accumulated stage experience. This is the second U.S. tour for the Jerusalem Symphony, which began serious European exposure in treks throughout the continent in 1996 and 1998. The ensemble traces its origins back to 1938, when it began as The Kol Israel Orchestra, according to symphony literature.

The New Grove Dictionary gives it a few more years of longevity, claiming it really began as a chamber orchestra of the Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS) in 1936, reorganizing as the PBS Orchestra in 1938 and, in 1948, becoming the Kol Israel Orchestra. In any event, the current name was adopted in the 1970s.

Conductor Foster by now has blazed quite an international trail in the classical music industry. Now 62, the Los Angeles native wanted a conducting career from the start, taking some early tips from the likes of Bruno Walter and Karl Bohm.

By the late 1960s, he was assistant conductor to Zubin Mehta at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He was music director of the Houston Symphony in the 1970s, but a lot of his activity has centered in Europe, including, in 1996, being named the music director of the Barcelona Symphony. It was in that capacity he appeared here last January.

Pianist Kalichstein, a native of Tel Aviv, at a mere 56 years old, has enjoyed an equally distinguished career. He came to this country in 1962 to attend the Juilliard School, after which he won the Leventritt Award and the Young Concert Artists Auditions.

As a result of the latter, Leonard Bernstein invited him to perform a Beethoven Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic in a nationally televised concert.

Kalichstein has a long-standing relationship with New York's 92nd Street Y, where he has performed often, including the Y's "Schubertiade" series.

He also has enjoyed an ongoing role in the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, which came as close to us as Winter Park in 2001.

Preceding Thursday's concert is a 7 p.m. discussion on the music at the Phillips Center. For ticket information, call 392-2787.

  • This Sunday at 3 p.m., the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4225 NW 34th St., will host a program mixing chamber music, popular vocal selections and spirituals.

    Artists will include sopranos Mary Margaret Andrew and Agnes Klauder, pianists Ruth Lewis and Carlos da Costa, clarinetist SaraNeal Johnston, flutist Barbara Shupp, cellist Robin Whittaker and guitarist Welson Tremura, along with the a cappella group Audacity and members of the Lost Safari Drummers.

    Music will include works by Brahms, Faure and Villa-Lobos. The concert is free, but donations in support of the concert series are welcome.

    David Grundy can be reached at dmgrundy@aol.com.

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