Israeli Chamber Project Combines Contemporary Approach with Community Outreach
In the world of chamber music, societies and ensembles of a variety of different instruments have gained popularity in recent years. Rather than the standard string quartets or piano trios that for so long dominated the concert stage, new organizations are emerging to meet both the demands of modern composers and also in order to satisfy a diverse audiences different tastes. Sure, a Beethoven quartet will always be at home on a evening program of chamber music. But what’s remarkable about groups such as the Israeli Chamber Project is that they are both can present the great works of chamber music equally alongside contemporary works. Their flexibility and open-mindedness market them as an exciting young group that has a real potential to touch people’s lives in meaningful ways.
Take, for example, the Israeli Chamber Project’s dedication to outreach. In addition to playing concerts at Carnegie Hall and commissioning new works for the group, executive director and pianist Assaff Weisman emphasized the organization’s ties to its homeland and forging relationships with young musicians:
There’s an unexpected dynamic in Israel,” Weisman says, “where the generations previous to mine — anyone who was really successful in music — sought their fortune in Europe or the United States, because the Israeli economy doesn’t allow for a lot of arts funding. Now there’s a vacuum, where the next generation doesn’t have any teachers.”
He says he and his young colleagues made a “philosophical and moral decision, coming back to the homeland and making sure the next generation of students has excellent teaching. We go back to the same conservatories every year, and the kids expect us. We’ve seen them grow.
This idea of giving back is essential to new classical music groups like this one. In addition to advertising for the their concerts, it also builds an audience for the future as well and future musicians to spread both the new works and the old. The Israeli Chamber Project, with its flexible size and instrumentation is capable of so many things: standard concerts, more intimate events in outside-the-box venues, and teaching to name a few. And with a positive attitude about connecting with listeners, there’s bound to be more news about his exciting group in the future: “If we present music with honesty and integrity, without the aloofness that sometimes accompanies classical concerts, then that really speaks to people,” Weisman says. “The music is so powerful, all we have to do is present it in a no-nonsense way. Everyone goes away with something and is curious for more.”