For millions who remember the engrossing, revealing and inspiring televised lecture demonstrations by the iconic American Maestro Leonard Bernstein, the work of Israel’s brilliant pianist and musical historian Astrith Baltsan is both freshly original, and familiar. Her insightful explanations of melody lines, chords, and interconnecting musical themes have earned her the nickname of “Israel’s Lady Bernstein.”
Relive the Hope that fueled a nation in a mesmerizing piano performance paired with a fascinating telling of the story of Israel’s national anthem. A unique multi-media show based on Ms. Baltsan’s revolutionary research.
Having performed this unique presentation over 300 times throughout Israel and the Jewish world virtuoso pianist and scholar Dr. Baltsan has enlightened and inspired her audiences with a spectacular multi-media performance containing music by Mozart, Chopin and Smetana; Jewish and Israeli folk, pop and rock tunes. The fascinating tale of the journey of Israel’s beloved national anthem is also illuminated with rare archival recordings and historical video clips.
In a year of celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary, communities throughout North America will have the opportunity to enjoy the masterful piano performance by one of Israel’s pre-eminent classical musicians, along with the colorful revelations about the evolution of, and the great historic moments of “Hatikva – The Hope”
Israeli pianist Astrith Baltsan was born in Tel Aviv and is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of both the piano and musicology departments at the Tel Aviv University. She won the Juilliard School scholarship for graduate studies, and completed her doctorate in piano performance at the Manhattan School of Music. A first prize winner in the Banff Concerto Competition (Canada) and the Concert Artists Guild’s Auditions in New York City, she has received numerous awards including from the Yale University, The Tanglewood Festival, the La Gesse Festival in France, the Tutzing Festival in Munich and the Ernen Chamber Festival in Switzerland. Astrith Baltsan returned to Israel in 1986 to join the faculty of the Rubin Academy of Music at the Tel Aviv University. She became a regular participant in the Israel Festival, Jerusalem, The Musica Da Camera Festival, Tel Aviv and the Music Festival in Misgav, Acre and Haifa. In addition to solo recitals, she performs as a soloist with all the major orchestras in Israel, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israel Chamber Orchestra. She has recorded for the Israel Broadcasting Service, Israeli Television, WFUV New York, CBS Radio and Television Canada and Radio France. She has published numerous articles researching the form and content of classical masterpieces. Dr. Baltsan is critically acclaimed for her interpretation of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann and Brahms. She is also known for performances of contemporary music, and many Israeli pieces have been written especially for her performances of original Israeli music. She was the music director of the Musica Nova Ensemble for contemporary music (1986-1992). In 1989 she was appointed pianist in residence and music director of chamber activities in the Pierre Monteux Memorial Festival in Maine, USA.
In 1990 Astrith Baltsan began to develop her unique concept of a classical concert, which reaches out for larger audience. Her concerts-series “Classics in Personal View” presents performances of classical masterpieces coupled with her unique story-telling and multimedia devices such as video clips, and a fusion of various musical styles like classical, pop, and jazz with guest artists, opera singers, players, dancers and actors. Her concerts revolutionized the classical music scene and became the largest classical series in Israel.
Baltsan’s programs are broadcast regularly on Israel’s classical channel Kol Hamusica. Her concerts tours as a soloist include Europe, North and Central America, Australia, and Asia. In January 2006 she was awarded “The Audience Choice” Prize in a competition held by Israel’s largest newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth (2006). In 2007 she was awarded “Best Classical Performer” by Mifal Hapais (2008) and she received the “Excellence in Music” prize from Israel’s Ministry of Education in 2011. Her research, book and cd on Hatikva – Israel’s national anthem – became a best seller and was critically acclaimed as a unique achievement in Israel’s Cultural Life and in the entire Jewish World.