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Four Days of Pianos

Artistic Director – Prof. Michael Wolpe


Four days of wonderful music with over 300 participants, recitals, concerts, orchestras, movies, music notes and piano keys.

The Sixth Pianos Festival – The Romantic Piano

Welcome to the sixth Pianos Festival at the Jerusalem Theatre. This year’s festival is dedicated to the romantic piano, where you will be able to enjoy romantic music for the piano, from classical to popular music, in a series of concerts performed by top Israeli pianists who perform regularly in Israel and abroad. From Brahms to Avner Gedassy, from Schumann to Pablo Rosenberg, from Mendelssohn and Liszt to Yankaleh Rotblit – romantic music for the piano will be performed in the theatre auditoria for four days.

In the world of classical music, this festival will feature concerti and chamber romantic music for the piano, and will focus on the romantics of Schubert, Brahms, Schumann (Robert and Clara), Mendelssohn (Felix and Fanny) and Liszt. Franz Liszt and Felix Mendelssohn, two wunderkinds of the early 19th century, were heavily influenced by Franz Schubert, the pioneer of romantic piano. Liszt and Mendelssohn, who were friends, were joined by composer Robert Schumann and his wife composer-pianist Clara Wieck Schumann, as well as composer Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Felix’s sister. Johannes Brahms was younger, and was a key figure in the Central European tradition of romanticism. He had a special relationship with Robert and Clara Schumann. These artists created ongoing collaboration and dialogue between them.

The piano was a central musical instrument, both in the process of writing their body of works, and also an imporatant playing instrument, solo or accompanying, and an element in chamber ensembles and orchestras, in most of their works. The festival offers listeners a journey into the depths of the piano textures created by these composers: two piano concerti by Liszt and two by Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann’s and his wife Clara’s, the wonderful arrangement by Liszt of Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy, side by side with a chamber arrangement written by Ishay Shaer of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.

In addition to orchestral music the festival also offers a range of chamber works, which communicate with each other and paint a fascinating picture of a deep reciprocal artistic relationship between the principal figures of the Central European romantic school.

But the romance is not exclusive to the world of classical music. We also encounter it in a serious of concerts specially devised for our festival, which will present romance through a variety of styles, from different places and eras.

Israeli piano concert music is featured as well, and we will be able to listen to the first Piano Concerto by Marc Lavry, one of the most important first generation Israeli composers. The concert will be dedicated to pianist Pnina Salzman who performed the work at its premiere, as a young girl, over 70 years ago. Another festive concert, marking the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, will offer a stage to young pianists who have won piano competitions that took place in Israel this year. The concert, which will be held in collaboration with the Israel Music Institute (IMI), will feature music for piano by female and male Israeli composers, of all generations.

As usual, the piano takes centre stage at the festival, and, this time, it is romantic and spreads across a range of styles: chamber music and symphonic music, international and local jazz, Mediterranean pop and classical Hebrew song, movie music and highlights from musicals, Andalusian music and new art music. The modern piano exhibits all of the above, through its musical expressive abilities.

In addition to the auditoria concerts, there will also be a piano bar which will host a wide variety of pianists and ensembles that will perform classical music, jazz, world music, Hebrew song and avant garde music. The festival will also feature all sorts of other events, including exhibitions, master classes and movies, and all under the romantic aegis of the wonderful music written for the piano over the past 300 years. There are four days of wonderful music in store for us. Come and enjoy, and surround yourself with the sounds and voices.

Yifat Zahi Kirel

General Manager, Jerusalem Theatre

Prof. Michael Wolpe

Artistic Director, Pianos Festival