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Biography
The Israel Festival Orchestra was founded in 2003 by conductor, pianist, and composer Gil Shohat in collaboration with violinist Eckart Lorenzen, concertmaster of the Israel Symphony Orchestra and the Israeli Opera, and the pianist Batia Steinbock-Lorenzen. Composed entirely of Israeli musicans with strong international reputations, the ensemble includes principal players from the four Israeli national orchestras: the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and the Israel Camerata.

In addition to exploring a wide range of the standard repertoire, the Israel Festival Orchestra focuses on the performance of modern Israeli and world music traditions. Some of the Orchestra’s unique performances have included the children’s opera Max and Moritz (Shohat), perhaps the most successful operatic production in the history of Israel; a staging of The Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saëns), which successfully inaugurated the prestigious “Sounds of Youth” music festival in Holon; a program of Jewish music, “From Mendelssohn to Prokofiev and Shohat;” marathon evenings of Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms; a French music project; and baroque cantatas in a full orchestral arrangement.

During its short lifetime, the Orchestra has already appeared on all of the important musical stages in Israel, including a rare orchestral performance on the stage of the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv. The Orchestra is the resident ensemble of the “Sounds of Youth” festival at the Holon Theater, the Red Sea Festival, and a guest ensemble of the Israel Festival, Jerusalem.
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