About the Competitions
The Israeli Music Competition was begun in 2008 and aims to familarise both professionals and students with the fascinating styles of Israeli music - a rich tapestry of sounds which produce a musical blend without equal; a fusion of Western musical idioms such as Klezmer (brought over with the first immigrants in the 1880s), and Eastern traditions brought by Jews from Arab countries.
The Ernest Bloch Music Competition was begun in 2009. Ernest Bloch (24 July 1880 – 15 July 1959) was a Swiss-born, American-Jewish composer and, since the 50th anniversary of his death was commemorated in 2009, the addition of the Ernest Bloch Music Competition to the Israeli Music Competition has drawn much worldwide interest. It has therefore been decided to make the Ernest Bloch Music Competition a regular part of the Israeli Music Competition.
Each competitor is asked to play a prescribed classical composition, a piece of their own choice, as well as an Israeli piece for the Israeli Music Competition and a piece by Bloch for the Ernest Bloch Competition.
If you apply for both competitions you will need to play one piece by Bloch and another piece by an Israeli composer.
2nd Ernest Bloch Music Competition
In 2010 we celebrate the 130th anniversary of the birth of Ernest Bloch. Who could imagine that it would take so long to establish a competition in honour of one of the most talented Jewish composers who is admired by many musicians and loved by audiences all around the world?
In London two years ago Sagi Hartov, chairman and founder of the Israeli Music Competition, met with Bloch expert Professor Alex Knapp. Their discussion about commemorating the 50th anniversary of Bloch's death lead to the establishment of the Ernest Bloch Music Competition which first took place at the Royal College of Music in July 2009. When the application deadline passed they were amazed to see the number of musicians who wished to compete and play Bloch's music. Twenty applicants were chosen to play in front of a distinguished panel of judges. Three of these candidates progressed to the final. The winner of the first Ernest Bloch Music Competition was Irish violinist Róisín Walters who performed ‘Nigun’ from Bloch's Baal-Shem suite.
When she was asked about the music of Ernst Bloch, Róisín said, “The music of Ernst Bloch has very strong roots in Jewish music and the movement that I chose to play is often used in documentaries about the holocaust, so I was eager to be authentic in my performance. In order to do this I studied the piece with my teacher who taught me the nuances of Jewish music. I also listened to many recordings of Jewish violinists playing the Nigun and this helped me to understand the music more clearly”.
There were many candidates who stood out for Chairman Sagi Hartov including a ten year old cellist from Nottinghamshire, the youngest candidate to apply for the 2009 competition having completed his Grade 8 examination at the age of nine. He was invited to perform in the final concert and was awarded the ‘Promising Young Talent’ award. The jury was amazed to see how Bloch's complicated music, when played in a simple manner, could be as touching - if not even more so, than a perhaps over-complicated performance from an older candidate.
The competition continues to receive applications from many different countries all over the world including Israel, India, South Korea, Japan, Australia, USA, Venezuela, Finland, France, Hungary, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Great Britain. In the past year the competition has progressed impressively, having welcomed new members to the jury and established a new website. We also welcomed many new patrons, including Ernest Bloch II and Jonathan Freeman-Atwood (Principal of London's Royal Academy of Music), as well as an Honorary President, MK Limor Livnat (Israeli Minister for Culture and Sport).
Chairman Sagi Hartov would like to thank the Jewish Music Institute as well as the Bloch Society and the Spiro Ark for their great and continued support.