Master Clarinet Classes in Tzfat

Klezmer Festival Ignites a Fire

The year 2009 saw the successful staging of the 22nd annual Klezmer Festival in Tzfat.  Beginning in 1987, it was clear that the Klezmer Festival was an extraordinary opportunity for Jews of all backgrounds to gather in an open and festive atmosphere to listen to Jewish music and experience the magic of Tzfat.

The festival draws some of the world's top musicians, and from those early days, it also quickly became evident that serious students of music were drawn to the festival to hear the great artists and learn from them. Throughout the years, various venues were attempted to bring the musicians together with students who wanted to learn from them. At first, during the days of the festival itself, classes would be held in the mornings and the musicians and students would then give joint recitals in the early evenings, before the main stages of the festival began their own concerts.

In 2004, a model of Master Clarinet Classes began which has been repeated yearly until the present. During the week following the Klezmer Festival, the master musicians, led by Giora Feidman, conduct classes for master clarinet students throughout the day, and the evenings are devoted to their presentations, which are open to the public.

Artistic Director Giora Feidman

The list of artists who offer these classes reads like a Who's Who of the International Music World - Giora Feidman, Helmut Eizel, Hanan Bar Sela, Professor Geoff Blug, Albert Slutzky, Raul Taurano, Avi Avital, and Ava Asserman. Feidman is the artistic director of the week's classes, and he is the one who most often performs with the students, which delights him. A native Argentinean, Feidman has been living in Israel since 1955, and after playing with the Israel Philharmonic for 20 years, left to help the development of the emerging Klezmer revival.

Feidman's vision of Klezmer revival, and his belief in new musicians who will carry on this work, has been the impetus for his championing the development of the Master Artists Classes each year in Tzfat. The classes, now an international event, bring young artists from throughout the world to Tzfat to learn clarinet and Klezmer techniques together, and the result has been an upsurge in the number of young musicians who play, perform and enjoy Klezmer music. This has been Feidman's goal from the beginning, and the music world is grateful for his involvement in this project.

The 2009 International Masters Classes for Clarinetists and Klezmer will take place in 2009 from August 19-24. The evenings of August 19th and 20th will have performances at the Saraya Building at 20:30 which are open to the public. Friday afternoon, a special pre-Shabbat Kabbalat Shabbat will be held at the Abuhav Synagogue, and on Saturday night, a post-Shabbat Melava Malka will be held there. On Sunday August 23rd, the performances move back to the Saraya, and the finale is scheduled for Tuesday August 25th at 20:30 at the Saraya.