Israeli musicians also have military strings attached
SHELLEY KLEIMAN, World Zionist Press Service
19 June 1998
Jerusalem Quartet members serving in nation's army
They're young, winsome and talented, and they play classical music. What more could a mother want?
It's not only that Amichai Gross (18), Alexander Pavlovsky (20), Sergei Bressler (19) and Kyril Zlotnikov (19) are award-winning musicians in their own right, but together they make up the Jerusalem Quartet, Israel's only professional string quartet. In 1995, they were awarded a special prize as guests of the Forum Musical de Normandie, won first prize in the Jerusalem Academy Music Competition in 1996, and in 1997 came in first - a real coup - at the Franz Schubert and the Music of the 20th Century Competition in Graz, Austria.
Sitting around in T-shirts and jeans, they appear so easy-going and carefree, it's hard to imagine they have all been playing since they were in kindergarten, submitting willingly to the intense rigors their art demands. While their friends were playing soccer, they were heading for rehearsals. But though childhood passed them by, none of them feel they have given up something irretrievable.
"I can't imagine being without music," says Zlotnikov, the group's cellist. "And I hope I'll never have to," adds Pavlovsky (who plays first violin).
At an age when many of their peers are just beginning to find themselves, these four have a very focused agenda. "We want to be the best in the world," says violist Gross, with quiet aplomb. "We want to be 'superstars' "adds Zlotnikov, using a very exaggerated American inflection.
Practicing together often three to four hours a day, they also all take private lessons, each honing their skills as soloist musicians. Each has won numerous musical awards, and all have worked with top-class musicians and ensembles, such as Isaac Stern, Gyorgy Kurtag, Richard Stolzman and the Amadeus Quartet.
Free time for discos, MTV, soccer and books plays second fiddle to their music. Always on the move, frequently living out of suitcases and in the homes of foreign hosts or in hotels ("We've run out of gifts to buy when we're abroad," quips one), it is in Jerusalem where the group feels most at ease. "It's home," says Gross simply.
Gross is the only native-born Israeli in the group. Pavlovsky, Bressler and Zlotnikov immigrated from Russia in 1991 with their families, forming the Quartet in 1993 under the auspices of the Jerusalem Music Center. While they all consider themselves Israeli, they frequently lapse into Russian during rehearsals. In fact, Gross seems to have become rather fluent in Russian profanities, his mentors proudly assert.
Joining the troops
If one minute they're in T-shirts and the next in ties and jackets, these days they can just as frequently be seen in army fatigues. Last year they were inducted into the Israeli Defense Forces and endured a month of basic training. Bressler (second violin) says his only fear then was that something would happen to his hands.
The Quartet now serves as Distinguished Musicians, performing for troops three times a week. Recitals are laced with explanations. Not intending to produce subscribers to the Philharmonic, Gross says they simply want their fellow troops to appreciate classical music. And to a large extent they have been successful.
For the three immigrants, carrying a rifle in one hand and a violin in the other is the ultimate Zionist statement. "It's something our parents could hardly have imagined ten years ago," says Zlotnikov.
Their European tours have included London, Oslo, Vienna and Rome, and they have performed in South Africa, Amman and New York. Booked a year in advance, their most prestigious concert will take place this summer at the new Baden-Baden Festival in Germany. The subject of a recent Israeli television documentary, the Jerusalem Quartet released its first disc in February.
Although the four obviously like each other, how does their one-for-all-and-all-for-four camaraderie translate professionally? Do they ever argue? Are they ever at loggerheads?
"Frequently," they readily concur. "Imagine an artist's temperament multiplied by four," Zlotnikov playfully suggests. No one personality dominates, Gross insists: each musician has his own style and personality to contribute. When they clash on questions of interpretation, they try out all variations. In the end, after a bit of blood, sweat and tears, they always reach a compromise. For the sake of producing good music, they say, personal considerations have to be shelved.
This is proof enough that these talented youngsters are not only going through a professional process, they say, but a maturing process as well.
This is the entire original article which was until recently at : http://www.jewishaz.com/jewishnews/980619/musician.shtml
Also saved on inminds website here
For this and other reasons, the JQ can be considered prime targets for protest and boycott.
Below are details of all performances of the Jerusalem Quartet European/US tour, Feb 11 – May 27
Monday, Feb 11 20:00 BELGIUM HASSELT: CULTUURCENTRUM
Tuesday, Feb 12 20:00 NETHERLANDS ROTTERDAM: DE DOELEN
Wednesday, Feb 13 20:00 UK BIRMINGHAM: BARBER INSTITUTE
Friday, Feb 15 21:00 ITALY SIENNA: PALAZZO CHIGI SARACINI
Saturday, Feb 16 19:30 UK LONDON: WIGMORE HALL
Monday, Feb 18 20:30 ITALY FERRARA: TEATRO COMUNALE DI FERRARA
Tuesday, Feb 19 00:00 LUXEMBOURG PHILHARMONIE DE LUXEMBOURG
Sunday, Mar 10 15:00 USA PORTLAND, OR: LINCOLN HALL
Monday, Mar 11 19:30 USA PORTLAND, OR: LINCOLN PERFORMANCE HALL
Wednesday, Mar 13 19:30 USA PORTLAND, OR: LINCOLN PERFORMANCE HALL
Thursday, Mar 14 19:30 USA PORTLAND, OR: LINCOLN PERFORMANCE HALL
Sunday, Mar 17 17:00 USA NEW YORK, NY: ALICE TULLY HALL
Tuesday, Mar 19 19:30 USA NEW YORK, NY: ALICE TULLY HALL
Friday, Mar 22 19:30 USA NEW YORK, NY: ALICE TULLY HALL
Sunday, Mar 24 17:00 USA NEW YORK, NY: ALICE TULLY HALL
Monday, Apr 15 19:30 GERMANY BAD KISSINGEN: REGENTENBAU
Tuesday, Apr 16 19:30 GERMANY POLLING: BIBLIOTHEKSAAL
Wednesday, Apr 17 20:00 GERMANY MUNICH: HERKULESSAAL
Thursday, Apr 18, 2013, 20:00 GERMANY HUMLEBAEK: MUSEUM LOUISIANA,
Friday, Apr 19 20:00 GERMANY HUMLEBAEK: MUSEUM LOUISIANA,
Sunday, Apr 21 16:00 BELGIUM ANTWERPEN: DE SINGEL
Monday, Apr 22 20:15 NETHERLANDS GRONINGEN: DE OOSTERPOORT
Tuesday, Apr 23 20:15 NETHERLANDS THE HAGUE: THEATER DILIGENTIA
Wednesday, Apr 24 20:30 NETHERLANDS MAASTRICHT: SINT JANSKERK
Thursday, Apr 25 20:00 NETHERLANDS GENT: SEDELIJKE CONCERTZAAL DE BIJLOKE
Saturday, Apr 27 20:00 AUSTRIA HOHENEMS: SCHUBERTIADE
Sunday, May 19 17:00 GERMANY NEUWIED: SCHLOSS ENGERS
Wednesday, May 22 19:00 PORTUGAL LISBON: GULBENKIAN
Friday, May 24 19:00 GERMANY BONN: BEETHOVEN-HAUS
Sunday, May 26 20:00 SWITZERLAND ZURICH: TONHALLE
Monday, May 27 20:00 MARSEILLE: THEATRE NATIONAL - LA CRIEE