To our dear Festival friends and audiences

As our festival enters its seventeenth year, we present repertoire in which delight in artistic beauty and a constant search for new discoveries go hand in hand, combining well-loved works with new and unexpected pleasures.

This year we are commemorating two diverse but, each in their own way, highly significant anniversaries. The first is the centenary of the outbreak of World War I within the specific context of musical history. The four-year period of the First World War was extraordinary, marking the final stages of nineteenth-century tradition and the move to new styles and expression. Together, we will explore the astonishing variety of music composed during these years which straddles both the traditional and modern. At the same time, we will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss, one of the most important precursors of musical modernism. Most of us are familiar with Strauss’s great orchestral and operatic works, less so with the equally splendid chamber music and Lieder which play a significant role in each programme. We will also hear songs by composers such as Schubert, Brahms, Schumann, Debussy and Shostakovich, performed by an illustrious array of singers.

Another current running through the programme is the theme of the sextet, including Brahms’s two great string masterpieces and sextets by a variety of composers: Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Chausson, Schoenberg and many others. A specially commissioned work by Noam Sheriff, one of Israel’s most celebrated composers, continues our tradition of commissioning a new work for each festival.

We look forward to a beautiful, interesting and exhilarating time together, enjoying fascinating programmes performed by an outstanding roster of international and Israeli artists.

With best wishes
Elena Bashkirova, Artistic Director