Composer's words about the newly comissioned piece:
I composed To the Bird from the Distant Land, on commission from the Atar Ensemble for their program in honor of Hayim Bialik. I was particularly drawn to this poem, with its yearning for the unamed land of Israel, while mired in the difficulties of his current location and nonetheless questioning the possibility of the utopian life he imagined in this distant land. Written when Bialik was just nineteen, and had recently moved to Odessa, his ruminations move back and forth, taking flight like the bird he calls to, yet also crashing down on the pain of his current reality. My response to the poem became a song without words, with the flight of the bird sometimes soaring, while at others caught in the darker, intense moods of Bialik’s imaginings before finally taking wing again.
Piano | violin | cello
Watch & listen
The piece was commissioned by the Atar Trio in 2022, and it is the third composition written for the Trio by the composer. The musical texture is built on a contrast between minimalist and repetitive elements, reminiscent of the free flow of water (or energy, or thought), and parts that are more rhythmically defined, conversing with the world of jazz. The built-in contrast creates collisions between these two elements, and each takes on some characteristics of the other. Finally, all the ingredients become one powerful flow that gradually tempers out towards the end, winding down to finish with one single note, and the hovering question- “was it all just a dream”? as is reflected, of course, in the name of the piece.
The name also has another meaning, alluding to a psychological school of thought that deals with the human state of consciousness named “flow”, the subjective experience of acute but effortless listening, pleasure and loss of self-awareness that is induced by the active execution of a challenging task- especially a creative one. And so, the piece can be seen as the artists musings on the artistic process itself, a self-reflection that can almost be described as a self-portrait.
The piece SOUL MATTERS, penned by the esteemed Israeli composer Boaz Ben-Moshe, was commissioned as part of a multidisciplinary project and is presented to the public via social media as a special cinematic clip, which adds a visual dimension to the composition. The piece touches upon a non-musical social issue, taking inspiration from texts written by artists who define themselves as dealing with mental health disorders, or are labelled as such by society. Words like “crazy” or “insane” are a part of everyday human language and they represent the social rejection and ostracism experienced by the mentally ill. Each movement in this work expresses a sensation: fear, paranoia, restlessness and longing for peace, the need for human contact and above all- the longing for social acceptance. The musical project won the Atar Trio and the composer a special grant from the Mifal Hapais Council for the Culture and Arts, which will assist in exposing the piece to a broad international and Israeli audience.
Piano | violin | cello | Looper | Recorded sountrack
Piano | violin | cello
Benjamin Yusupov, one of Israel’s most fascinating composers, combines tradition and innovation, bold sounds, ethnic melodic and rhythmic elements from across the globe in his music, creating a unique and sophisticated language which of personal expression. Yusupov's second piano trio is based on the theme of music traditions of lost Jewish communities from around the world.
The work includes three movements that fondly recall melodies from the Jewish Tradition, of the kind that many times loose their gentle voice in the bustle of modern Israeli society. Each movement is dedicated to a specific tradition: the first, “Mein Shtetel”, to the Ashkenazi tradition. The second “La Yava De Espania” to the Ladino tradition, and the third- to a well known Yemenite piyyut. The piece, commissioned by the Atar Trio, has been performed on a world tour: Israel, France, the Netherlands and the United States.
The piece was commissioned in honour of our “Chamber Jazz” program, dedicated to artistic chamber music inspired by Jazz and by the Blues.
The artist said about the piece: I composed the piano trio piece Sensations in June 2009 for the Atar Trio. When I sat down to write it, I thought about its directionality, the ideas I would like it to include, the structure of the piece. This is nothing new, of course. Thoughts of this sort always cross my mind when I begin to write something new. In fact, from the moment I decide to compose, up until the physical moment when I whip out my paper and pen and begin the writing work, the thoughts and the imaginations are relentless. The tension builds and intensifies as time goes on. It will only release with the final act of writing my signature and the date, which marks the end of the process of creation. Don’t get me wrong, writing a new piece of music is always a great pleasure, comparable to the experience of an athlete running a marathon. But it has its pressures, and there is always that need to reach the finish line quickly, to release the tension, at least until the next time…
In this composition, the regular thoughts were joined by new ones. They were the result of a request made by Pianist Ofer Shelley. He asked for a piece that had something of jazz music in it. And I thought to myself, can I respond to that request? Because I believe that jazz is not written, its performed . And can it be performed by a classical chamber music ensemble?
So, I thought to myself: “I will write a piece influenced by the philosophy of jazz. Something that is not, on the one hand, jazzy at all, and on the other, has the thoughts and ideas that characterize jazz within it. I will write a piece that goes all the way- just the way a jazz player improvises on stage when they want to put on a show. I will write a piece that flows, let the music flow from my head to the pieces of paper, without pause, without overthinking, just like an improvising musician. I will write a piece inspired by Free Jazz movement, I will write a piece with elements of middle eastern music, I will write something that is different, a piece that is dramatic, that is challenging for the musicians but still enjoyable to play. I will write a piece only one movement long, with many different music-scenes. With these thoughts, for three weeks, in June of 2009, I wrote Sensations, for a violin, cello and piano
Piano | violin | cello
The piece was commissioned by the Atar Trio from the composer in honor of the Etnachta Classical Music concert of December 2010.
In the words of the composer: “The three poems by Leah Goldberg that I chose to set to music for the Atar Trio and the singer Ye’ela Avital signify, to me, three stations in Goldbergs life, so full of longing, sorrow, and the lyricism of a poetess, which touch my heart deeply. The first poem is about that wonderful first moment of infatuation, when she “laughed lengthily like one welcoming her love”. The second, about the late disillusionment and painful realization that her loved one was in love with another woman: “The lad was stately and sad, and I knew he was waiting for her”. The third poem is about coming to terms with fate and knowing that her painful memories were the birthplace of her poetry. “I know not if the look in your eyes ignited the myriad of lightning within me. I know not if it was to you and towards you I was walking through love-stricken streets”.
The singer presents the text, and the piano-violin-cello trio interprets the story, paints the landscape, identifies, sympathizes, and comforts. The opening theme of the first song returns in the third one, emphasizing the concluding words: “I will remember it all”.
This song cycle is for me a personal and autobiographical journey, from which we have been sent three postcards, three snapshots of the poet in three moments of her life, three images which became three pieces of chamber music that is both simple and intimate. These beautiful poems by Leah Goldberg, the result of her great suffering and unrequited love, are endowed with such depth and aestheticism / aesthetic beauty. As such, they offer in themselves as a meaningful recompense which brings great joy, a joy that exists not in the lines of the poem itself, but in the spaces between them.
Piano | violin | cello | soprano
World premiere: The “Etnachta” Series/ Kol Israel/ December 2010
Dedicated to the Atar Trio, January, 2017. The piece refers to holiness, sacrifice and religious Fundamentalism. The piece is written as a repetitive story that is being told from a different point of views: Jewish's, Muslim's, Christian's from different eras. During the piece completion the stories are being interwoven into vortex of violence, destruction and blood.
Piano | Violin | Cello | Recorded soundtrack
Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream? Edgar Allan Poe
A Dream within a Dream, by the Israeli-French-American composer and pianist Talia Amar, composed especially for this program, is a reflection on the poem of that name by Edgar Allen Poe. The composer asks the question: “if hope is a dream, does that mean that we live in a dream? And if it is a dream does it mean that when we wake up hope will disappear?” The electronics include recordings of the text, with the words gradually revealed as the piece progresses, mimicking the transition between the difference levels of a dream. A hallmark of her music is the existence of a philosophic idea that, while external to it, gives the audience a thread to follow.
Piano | Violin | Cello | Recorded soundtrack
When the Atar Piano Trio approached me about composing a piece for their Dream within a Dream program, I immediately thought of Gregor Samsa, the protagonist in Kafkaג€™s The Metamorphosis.Gregor waks from an anxious dream transformed into a horrible bug. I interpreted this to suggest a type of people, of which there are more than 400,000 species, approximately one-quarter of all plants and animals. I am most grateful to bioacousticans Martin Brandstetter (Austrian Institute for Forest Protection) for sharing his recordings of Asian Longhorn beetles (Anoplophora glabripennis), and Jayne Yack and Amanda Lindeman (Carleton University, CA) for their recordings of mountain pine beetles (D. ponderosae, Ips pini and D. valens), from which I fashioned the electronics. The mood of the anxious dream, and the ominous world into which Gregor wakes, suffused my musical imaginings, as did Kafkaג€™s position as a Jew, navigating the Czech and German attitudes of his environment. Fear of the ג€˜otherג€™ permeates the story. This poignant story is an important reminder that the other is part of our own family, an important reminder in our tribalistic times.ג€“JS
Piano | Violin | Cello | Recorded soundtrack
is an Israeli composer, conductor and cellist whose music has been performed far and wide, including the Aspen and Norfolk Chamber Music Festivals, The Tel Aviv Chamber Music Society, Musica Nova, the Israeli Composers League and many others. His commissions include those from the Aims Music Festival in Barcelona, the Beer Sheva Sinfonieta, Contempo Music Festival,
Kfar Blum Music Festival and performers such as Rivka Golani and the Aviv String Quartet. Born in Brazil, Wassserman was educated at the Rubin Academy in Israel, and at the Mannes College of Music and The Juilliard School in New York. He is currently music director and conductor of the Ramat Gan Symphonie Orchestra, and Tel Aviv Chamber Music Society as well as the principal of the Ramat Gan Music Center.
"In my music I convey the gamut of human emotions, describing the highs and lows of life—the tragedy and the comedy, the hope and dismay—contemplating the majestic beauty of nature as a contrast for the darkest corners of the soul"
Russian-born Ilya Levinson graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory, where he studied composition with Alexander Pirumov and Edison Denisov. After immigrating to the US in 1988, Levinson completed a Ph.D. in Composition at the University of Chicago including instruction from Ralph Shapey, Shulamit Ran, John Eaton, and Howard Sandroff.
Levinson is Assistant Professor at the Music Department of Columbia College Chicago and Music Director and Co-Founder of the New Budapest Orpheum Society, an ensemble-in-residence at The University of Chicago. The group specializes in performing music of the Jewish Cabaret. Their two CD’s are recorded on the Cedille label. Ilya Levinson is composer-in-residence with American Music Festivals, an organization committed to promoting cultural exchange and American music.
Levinson’s catalogue includes operas, musicals, symphonic music and chamber music, film scores and original music for theatre. Levinson’s music has been performed by the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra, Yaroslavl Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Sarajevo Philharmonic, Duo Montagnard and Trio Atar among others. Ilya Levinson was a winner of the 1994 Midwest Composers Competition and recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships in Music Composition in 1997 and 2003.
Piano | Violin | Cello
Studied music, education and philosophy in the Hebrew university in Jerusalem as well as composition in the Frantz Liszt academy in Budapest. Among his teachers were Abel Erlich, Mark Kopitman, Gidon Levinson and Enriko Yosef. Eran composed many songs and cooperated with leading singers, poets and musicians around Israel and Europe. Some of these songs were published on Albums. His chamber music works were performed in Israel, Italy, Hungary, England and Austria and recorded by the Inbar piano trio, Atar piano trio and other ensembles.
As music educator Eran Worked as a teacher and staff member in “Michael Educational project” , as Pedagogic director of HASSADNA Music conservatory in Jerusalem, as a fellow in the “Mandel” Institute for Educational Leadership in Jerusalem. He established the CHAVRUTAV educational Program for teaching Hebrew Poetry and Music in elementary schools and was representative of the Educational Department of The Jewish Agency for Israel and the central Representative in Central/East Europe region. Eran in the pedagogic director of the MAALOT music center and active in promoting concert music, producing concerts and lecture concerts around Israel.
Piano | Violin | Cello | Soprano
The piece by Arik Shapira was commissioned in 2014 and based on Yoel Hofman's book: "Moods" (Keter Edition, 2010) as a performance of spoken text, computer sampler, piano violin and cello. The piece was premiered at the LEVONTIN venue in Tel Aviv, on March 2016 and published as an Album named after the piece.
Arie Shapira was born on November 29th, 1943, in kibbutz Afikim , the Jordan Valley, Israel. On 1986 he received the Prime Minister's Prize for Composition, and in 1994 he was awarded the Israel Prize for Composition and Teaching. Shapira composed symphonic music, chamber music, electronic music, and music for solo instruments. From 1995 he was a lecturer at the Department of Music at the Haifa University.
Shapira: "It is necessary to invent new parameters of listening, of experience: I am curious, and I want to be a partner to an adventure, not a historical experience. I want to feel that I am alive, and alive today - intellectually and sensually, that I'm hearing a new sound. Hearing the Israeliness of today, with all its frantic provincialism."
Piano | Violin | Cello | Sampler | Narrator