MAY 13 - 19, 2011 By Saskia Constantinou SASKIA’S CHOICE 73 AROUND THE WORLD • Polish born Emmanuel Ax was named an Honorary Member of the Philharmonic Society of New York last week following his 100th performance with the orchestra. The honour was created in 1843 and is the highest given by the Philharmonic with only 65 recipients in its 169 year history. In the 19th century composers including Mendelssohn, Liszt, Wagner and Dvorak were some of the recipients and only 19 have received the accolade since 1900. Stravinsky, Copland, Rockefeller, Bernstein, Mehta and Lorin Maazel are included on the list. Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic said: “Manny Ax is beloved by musicians, audiences and critics around the world, but nowhere more so than by the New York Philharmonic. His musical brilliance and versatility have greatly enriched our performances and this honour is a fitting tribute to his artistry.” Ax studied at Juilliard and Columbia University and in 1974 won the first Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition and in 1975 the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. He has been an exclusive Sony Classical recording artist since 1987 and has received Grammy Awards for his Haydn Piano Sonatas as well has Beethoven and Brahms Cello Sonatas with Yo Yo Ma. Shalom Amihai After being made Principal Viola of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Israeli violist Amihai Grosz will be participating in the Pharos Arts Foundation Chamber Festival I sraeli violist Amihai Grosz has recently been appointed Principal Viola of the Berlin Philharmonic and will be landing on our shores later this month to play at the Pharos Arts Foundation Chamber Festival. Speaking via telephone, he explained to me the honour and pride he felt on taking up this position. “Of course, it is like a dream come true. I am really excited and it was what I really needed to open a new page in my life. I love challenges and this is definitely one. I have never held an orchestral position before so, really, all the repertoire is new for me. We are currently doing a cycle of Mahler symphonies! It is scary, crazy, but simultaneously amazing.” It is unusual for inexperienced orchestral players to land such a plum job which further attests to his technical and musical prowess. “Although it’s a full symphony orchestra, it is really like playing chamber music. Each person is there to make music with the sound, a truly unique colour. My colleagues, too, have been welcoming and I try to blend also, musically and personally. They look for talent, instinct and personality, and if you’re good enough, you’re accepted. It’s also a position which opens doors and I hope that I will have more opportunities to have solo options.” Auditions for the Berlin Philharmonic are played without screens and comprise of two rounds. The first is a classical concerto and the second a romantic, with a solo excerpt from the orchestral repertoire. “It’s a very objective system and has a two year trial period.” Playing in an orchestra requires not only technical and musical skill, but also team work, and one must be able to blend in with colleagues. Grosz began his career as a violinist, but early at a relatively early age made the transition to viola. “I was captured by the warmth and Amihai Grosz mellow sound of the viola. It’s also somehow an instrument which can be close both to a violin and a cello.” His prizes are numerous and he refers to them as “visiting cards. That is the life of competitions. You can win but then you are really on your own and need to see which doors to walk through when they open. You really have to play, but select well. There are many winners who just don’t have good careers. One of the most beneficial factors is the preparation which is required as delving into so much repertoire definitely elevates one’s level.” Although Grosz is no longer part of the Jerusalem Quartet due to his or- chestral obligations, he still relishes opportunities to play chamber music and is looking forward to being in Cyprus. “We’re neighbours, it’s like coming home for me”, he said excitedly. “And, of course, many of us know each other at the Festival and it will be great.” The new repertoire keeps Grosz busy but when not practising on his glorious Gaspar da Salo viola, he relaxes by watching and participating in different sports. “I have had to put my love of painting aside now, but the sports keep me balanced. I’m looking forward to coming on this first trip to Cyprus and hope that the audience will enjoy the music.” • ‘The Garden of Proserpine’ will have its world premiere at the 5th English Music Festival at the end of the month at Dorchester Abbey in Oxfordshire. Vaughn Williams’ work is an early Swinburne setting for soprano, chorus and orchestra which dates back from 1899. COMPETI T ION LOCAL EVENTS • Violin and piano recital with Elizaveta Kopelman and Sorin Alexandru Horlea on May 17 at Arte Music Academy at 8.30pm. Book online now – tickets €10 and €15 at the door – or 7000 9303. Festival from the Royal Manor House, Kouklia. May 24 – May 28. Tickets are available from or by telephone 7000 9304. • Although seemingly far away, it is a good idea to diarise June 2. The legendary jazz pianist Bruce Barth will join forces with bassist Flo Moore and drummer Stephen Keogh at the Shoe Factory, Nicosia for an unforgettable programme of authentic jazz tunes. Book online now – www. or call 7000 9303. Booking is essential as seating is extremely limited. • Children’s Theatre at the Acropole Cinema. 2 performances on June 5 at 11am and 5pm. Online tickets €10 0 and at the door €12. Book early to o avoid disappointment. ment. or 7000 9303. Win tickets to the Pha Festival ros send an e mail to saskia@cy .cy with the answe r to this q uestion: How man y con be in Kouk certs will there lia for the Pharos Chamber Festival? DON’ • Clarinet recital with Cristo T Barrios and Andrew West M I SS IT on May 20 at Arte Music Academy. 8.30. Online tickets €10. At the door €15. Book online ne now or 7000 9303. • The International Pharos Chamber Music • Dalaras and the Ossipov Balalaika Orchestra will be performing at the Sanctuary of Aphrodite on June 17. 8.30 Online tickets from www. • The Great Ballets – Chopiniana to Carmen with the Mariinsky Theatre on June 24 and 25 at the Limassol Garden Theatre, 8.30pm. Book now or 7000 9303.