VERMONT MOZART FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

International Sensation Gil Shohat to Lead Festival into 2011
07/25/2010: Burlington, VT

Vermont Mozart Festival has formally announced the appointment of a new Artistic Director, international sensation Gil Shohat. Described by Forbes magazine as “the most important and influential personality in classical music in Israel,” Shohat is the composer of nine large-scale symphonies, ten concertos for various instruments, three operas, various oratorios, cantatas, solo vocal pieces, and dozens of chamber and piano pieces, as well as the performer of more than 80 concerts a year worldwide, both as a conductor and pianist. He has been performing with the Festival every year since 2007. In 2011, Shohat will succeed the Festival’s first Artistic Director, Melvin Kaplan, who founded the Festival in 1974. Under Kaplan’s artistic direction, the Festival grew from a 10-concert series focusing solely on Mozart to a 19-concert festival experience highlighting the pantheon of classical composers and bringing in international-caliber artists from around the globe.

“The Vermont Mozart Festival creates a very special feeling that I think differs from Marlboro or Tanglewood or Tokyo or other festivals where I have performed,” said Shohat. “There is a greater sense of community—of a warm and human connection between the audience and the musicians. The open air creates an atmosphere that is very close, very united, and very family-like. I just love it.”

Over his four years performing as a guest conductor and soloist with the Festival, Shohat also became impressed by the commitment of the musicians of the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra. “The same musicians come to perform every summer, not only from Vermont but from all over the United States, really giving 180% of themselves in these concerts. This is very much present in rehearsals. It is a great experience. I’m not usually that full of compliments, but the Festival deserves it.”

Shohat’s obvious enthusiasm, paired with his artistic distinction, only bodes well for the continued excellence of the Festival as it was conceived by Melvin Kaplan 39 summers ago. Kaplan will continue as Artistic Director Emeritus.

Summer 2011 Program

Planning for next summer’s performance season (taking place from July 17-August 7, 2011) is already well underway. Shohat has tentatively titled the program “Beethoven’s Revolution,” and, indeed, next year will mark a new direction for the Festival in more ways than one: under Shohat’s direction, the season will feature additional performances, bringing the new total number of concerts to a robust 22 in as many days.

Shohat’s program will present the entire selection of Beethoven’s string quartets, to be performed by six world-renowned ensembles. The season will showcase several additional selections from Beethoven, as well as works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Gershwin and, of course, Mozart, including several works the Festival has never previously performed. Possible guest appearances for the season include acclaimed artists David Garret, Rachel Barton Pine, Alain Lefèvre, Bracha Kol, and Dorel Golan.

Announcement on Vermont Music Festival website

 

REVIEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Shohat’s The Child Dreams — A mature work

Gil Shohat, now 35 and Israeli’s top classical composer, was 15 when in the ‘80s he saw Hanoch Levin’s The Child Dreams on stage in his native Tel Aviv.

“I knew then that I would compose Dream, said Shohat in a post-performance interview in the Tel Aviv Opera House, where the premiere of the opera had taken place on January 18. Shohat’s plans were seconded by Israeli Opera general director Hanna Munitz, who had also sensed the operatic potential of drama when she saw it on stage.

True, the opera underscores the degree to which the Holocaust remains today a defining experience for the Israeli consciousness, yet the local critic who placed the new opera “among the most depressing and despair-radiating operas of the repertoire” missed the point of the transformation of the story through music achieved by Shohat and his director Omri Nizan. (Nizan, an old hand at the Cameri Theater, helped Shohat with minor changes in the text — nothing was added — and then served in the vastly more important role as director of the production.)

Shohat has documented his superlative command of the composer’s craft in an incredible long and diverse catalogue. In Dream, however, he travels on no new turf, but concentrates rather on giving musical meaning to an unusually demanding text.
Dream is written for reduced orchestra, and outstanding is the manner in which Shohat has woven the piano into the ensemble to achieve unusual effects. (The composer is a concretizing pianist as well.)

It is unavoidable that some find the opera with its focus on the death of children depressing and even morbid. In so doing, they overlook the strong element of empathy that Shohat’s music brings to Levin’s turgid story. In the final analysis, Child Dreams is an affirmative work that deserves to be seen outside Israel.
The production celebrates the 35th anniversary of Israeli Opera; it further marks the 10th anniversary of Hanoch Levin’s death and the centennial of the founding of Tel Aviv.

Wes Blomster
Opera Today

Feb. 2, 2010

Brave Israeli opera radiates despair

Gil Shohat’s denies The Child Dreams is a Holocaust opera, saying its themes are universal. But the parallels are obvious and unsettling.

Nine years ago, I reviewed the premiere of Shohat's first opera, Alpha and Omega, a retelling of the Adam and Eve story, a work also commissioned by the Israeli Opera and mounted on the stage of Tel Aviv's handsomely modern (and Israel's only) opera house. Back then, the Israeli-born composer was a precocious 26-year-old, anxious to show off his skills. The new score finds him writing in a less self-conscious, more lyrical and listener-friendly manner (one scene sounding almost like a paraphrase of Ravel's "La Valse")."Friendly" may seem an odd word to describe such a savage study of the contrast between the hopeful dreams of childhood and the realities of adult human behavior, but music often softens harsh truths and Shohat's, with its sometimes soaring vocal lines for the mother and child, is no exception.

An opera bound for the international circuit? More likely so than Alpha and Omega, perhaps, especially if David Stern (violinist Isaac Stern's son) conducts, Omri Nitzan directs, if the cast includes soprano Ira Bertman as The Mother and soprano Hila Baggio as The Child, and if Gottfried Helnwein's sets and costumes continue to be used. Although Shohat denies that The Child Dreams is a Holocaust opera, rightly pointing out that its themes are universal, the parallels are strikingly obvious and unsettling.

The handsome Tel Aviv production helps mark the 25th anniversary of the Israeli Opera, a company with 17,000 subscribers and a 97 per cent average attendance in a country with a very recent operatic tradition. That tradition has yet to embrace Richard Wagner, the German composer's adoption by the Nazis having left a psychic wound that has yet to heal, but it does embrace four operas and a musical specially commissioned by the Israeli Opera from Israeli composers, of whom Shohat is now the most operatically experienced.

Whether the daring subject matter of an opera such as The Child Dreams will be embraced by companies outside Israel may turn out to be the greater challenge. If the desire to be moved counts for anything, Shohat's new opera has at least a fighting chance.

William Littler
Toronto Star
Jan. 30, 2010


Young violinist on the first string

The evening was clearly one for violinists at the Knight Concert Hall with Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman in attendance for the performance by the Israel Chamber Orchestra. Founded in 1965 by Gary Bertini, the 37-member Israel Chamber Orchestra appears to be thriving under music director Gil Shohat. The hectic 13-city U.S tour schedule meant that the Miami stand was the ensemble's third concert in 24 hours. Under the circumstances, the largely polished, spirited and responsive playing was even more impressive in a complex and generous. In addition to his conducting, Shohat, 34, is an extraordinarily prolific composer who has written 10 concertos, nine symphonies, three operas and numerous other works. On Tuesday night he was represented by his Symphony of Fire (No. 3). Cast in a long single movement, the rhapsodic symphony is unerringly well crafted and draws an extensive array of colors from modest forces. The composer elicited a refined, atmospheric performance, with the Israeli players attuned to the symphony's surging waves and languid sensuality. But, although deftly scored, Shohat's work is a rather sucrose-rich affair that fails to overcome its heavy debt to Scriabin. Shohat is clearly a gifted and charismatic podium leader, as shown in a richly idiomatic and spirited rendering of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. The Israeli musicians displayed signs of battle fatigue in the final movement, but, considering the insane tour schedule, the performance was surprisingly accomplished and exciting. The chamber-orchestra forces inevitably sacrificed a certain amount of ballast, but Shohat made up the balance with his sure pacing, transparent textures and alert dynamic detailing. The conductor consistently pointed the dance-like rhythms with bite and drew an especially poised and atmospheric account of the Allegretto.

Lawrence A. Johnson
Miami Herald
Feb. 13, 2008


Milwaukee Symphony: Shohat Songs of Bathsheba

Standing ovations are not unusual these days--almost any symphony or concerto with a blockbuster finale brings an audience to its feet now--but they are not at all common for large-scale 50-minute choral works written in 2003-04. Even so, Israeli composer Gil Shohat deserved the one he was given at the premiere of his new oratorio, Songs of Bathsheba Sharing the glory were conductor John Nelson, soprano Twyla Robinson, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Shohat is a young man with something to say--and it's worth hearing. He has created a vivid, moving, powerful, and (most important) memorable vehicle for conveying the message that melodic beauty and emotions like love, hatred, jealousy, and remorse are timeless… He speaks with his own resonant voice. He also makes no apology for writing in a rich, direct, melodic, late-romantic style. The audience at both the premiere and the following night's repeat responded to it with spontaneous, vocal enthusiasm. A powerful new work by a brilliant young composer and the work of a master sounding fresh and new--it was a night that even the most jaded concert-goer couldn't forget.

Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide
July/August 2005


New work full of giant gestures

The overheated emotions, gigantic forces, monumental climaxes and grand gestures of very late Romanticism are all there, and Shohat handles these familiar elements expertly. Clearly, this young composer has prodigious command of orchestral color; you get the feeling that he knows exactly how that third trumpet part, say, fits into vast whole machinery of instrumentation around it. More important, he knows how to handle harmony to build and to release enormous sonic and emotional tensions in a way that very few composers do these days. One of the two big ideas in this piece is a great choral, chromatic striving that surmounts one emotional summit after another. Shohat possesses the skill to give it weight and amplify its feeling with dense but beautiful harmonies. Such harmonies stoke the boiler of the music, and they give off a lot of heat. The contrasting big idea is a buoyant waltz, heard mainly in the orchestra. It gives the oratorio some rhythmic life and a little joy to leave the prevailing gloom. The text blended psalm and a new poetry Shin Shifrin focuses on Bathsheba's guilt and regret when her son, Solomon, is crowned king of Israel. The 'Song of Bathsheba' oratorio succeeds on its own cathartic terms, the big crowd was raucously smitten with it, and Shohat's undeniable skill can only be admired.

Tom Strini
The Milwaukee Sentinel
April 23, 2005


Beautiful-sounding perverse opera
Gil Shohat’s Alpha and Omega

Gil Shohat’s way of writing has a captivating quality with the expressive lyricism of the vocal parts and multihued instrumentation.

Peter Gradenwitz
Die Welt
May 26, 2001


The epidemic which followed original sin

Gil Shohat’s Alpha and Omega was an immense, unprecedented success. A contemporary opera which received a standing ovation!. An opera which even the toughest critics considered an outstanding work by the national opera. Shohat’s music is lyrical and emotional, like all of the composer’s recent works. It is characterized by a definite, strong and stable vocal line, asserting a versatile style - a musical quest culminating in expressive climaxes, underpinned by harmonic writing and composition and brilliantissimo orchestration.

Gian Luigi Mattietti
L’opera
March 2001


New Israeli Opera’s Garden of Eden story in tune with our time

Shohat is an undeniably masterful orchestrator and in Alpha and Omega he has produced a score embroidered with easy to follow and frequently to climax melodies.

William Littler
The Toronto Star
February 3, 2001


Alpha and Omega premieres in Israel

Shohat writes with a conviction that makes his heavy chromaticism original and moving. His vocal lines are long, lush, and sustained, suggesting a love of bel canto, and several arias and ensembles are impressive in their warmth and beauty. “Alpha and Omega” is largely through-composed. The music darkens as shadows fall across the action on stage; the score grows dissonant and complex. Shohat scored the admirable orchestrated work for 93 pieces. Size of forces notwithstanding, this is music of chamber-like gentleness and transparency.

Wes Blomster
Musical America
January 26, 2001


In the beginning was cloning

The young composer does not see himself as avant-garde: what matters to him is intelligibility, sensual suggestion, both vocal and instrumental lavishness, and a corresponding level of effectiveness. This at any rate he achieves time and time again. The term “neo-Romantic” would be too prosaic a way of defining this style: this is music which cannot be narrowed down even to pure tonality. What Shohat does manage to do is to draw great melodic arcs, above all making the vocal parts soar bewitchingly. Shohat represents a generation of composers, in the West too, including Germany, who programmatically behave in an anti-dogmatic fashion. As interpreters who are active on an international level, cosmopolitan, self-assured and articulate, they represent their position with verve...

Gerhard R. Koch
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
January 23, 2001


Mintz and Shohat: Sweet oasis of sounds

Gil Shohat’s work is like a beautiful painted panel of sounds, which arouses impressionist feelings of drops of water evoking a delicate, transparent spell, hints of mysterious ocean waves, in a rich bel canto style, and a horizontal panorama of sound extending to the furthermost boundary of the ear.

Angelo Foletto
Repubblica
June 2, 1997


GIL SHOHAT - ISRAELI REVIEWS

The Child is Incredible

The Opera The Child Dreams by Gil Shohat, based on the play of Hanoch Levin. The Israeli Opera. Director: Omri Nizan. Conductor: David Stern.

"Oy, Children, you were born to break our hearts," says Hanoch Levin in his wonderful play The Child Dreams. Now comes the composer Gil Shohat and turns everything into a gorgeous operatic requiem. These are not just the children who die on stage, the children in us, are the ones who die. Wrapped in a shroud of poetry. The child dreams? More than just that. The "Child" is incredible.

In the space between despair and compassion – there you will find Hanoch Levin, and in the gap between the drama and poetry – you will find Gil Shohat. Shohat combines in this masterpiece the erotic power of Richard Strauss and the electrifying horror of Shostakovich. This is an opera that come from emotion, appealing to the sensual sound, and goes from there to the beauty of song – Simply fascinating.

The Rishon Le-Zion Orchestra played beautifully. Shining especially were the brass players. The conductor David Stern, lead them confidently.

Hanoch Ron
Yediot Aharonot
Jan. 20, 2010

The Child Dreams – A Badge of Honor to the Opera

In many ways, Shohat turned in to a 'dreaming child' going out on a long journey to create his greatest masterpiece to date.

It must be said that the outcome of this challenging task was extremely successful, and what was shown on stage yesterday at the Israeli Opera is a badge of honor to all the many people who contributed to making this dream come true. We received a spectacular masterpiece of a complex and demanding piece of music, text, and presentation in the operatic genre.

Levin's unique text presents the Opera creators a challenge… I'll only say that this is a roaring river of musical ideas.

I was delighted with the lyrical orchestra and feminine vocals in the show, beginning with Shohat's decision to create a "Greek Chorus" of nine women who accompany us through the journey and become part of it. Levin's text was served well by this nonet in shaping the characters of the Mother and the Child, the helpless refugees, and finally the Dead Children who occupied the final exciting and incredibly moving act (also in its amazing visual effects) of this masterpiece.

The Child Dreams, the Gil Shohat version, directed by Omri Nizan, is a brave work of art worthy of praise, and an important stop on the Israeli Opera's journey to realizing its great and true mission of becoming a originator of original Israeli art.

Tzvi Goren
Habama
Jan. 19, 2010


The Child Dreams: "Milestone Evokes Joy and Pride"

"As a long musical and operatic narrative it evokes respect in its completeness."
"This is definitely an important milestone to Israeli art, Israeli culture, and to Israeli Opera."

Ora Binur
Galatz Online

Jan. 20, 2010


The Child Dreams: " Intensive and Incredibly Powerful "

"The production of The Child Dreams gives us great pride as it turns out that we have such great amount of exceptional acting, directing, and musical talents."
"It is impossible not to point out the music of Gil Shohat, which is intensive and incredibly powerful. The  Child Dreams  – can't miss!"

Ora Binur
Galatz (Radio)
Jan. 19, 2010


Classical winter in Eilat

Two stars stood out for their virtuosity and enchanting performances: the orchestra's musical director, Gil Shohat, who conducted the main concert of the tenth ClasiCameri Festival in Eilat with virtuosic ease. The string ensemble of the Israel Chamber Orchestra opened the concert with Elgar's Serenade for Strings in a very enjoyable and coherent performance and interpretation. … Shohat never stopped "conversing" with the orchestra and the public, and he chose to finish the concert with an amazing performance of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony. It's clear that Shohat has fully mastered the nuances of this well-known symphony, and he demonstrated that he knows how to breathe new life into it. He extracted from the score and the orchestra a whole new world of exciting sounds in very exact portions. Under Shohat, the performance was touching, just as a truly inspired masterpiece like the Erorica should be. After the first movement, which was wonderfully performed by the orchestra, Shohat amazed the audience with his conducting of the second movement: the Marche funèbre is always an emotional experience, and the cellos, the contrabasses, and especially the first oboist played excellently. … At the end of the event Shohat and the orchestra received standing ovations and extended applause from the audience, whom they had succeeded in delighting the whole evening.

Simona Solomon
Ynet Magazine
February 4, 2008


The trumpet salutes the violins

I never liked concerts until I go to the concerts of the ICO. GS, who was appointed only two years ago as the musical director and chief conductor of the orchestra, has turned for me the experience of listening to classical music into something that is much more than music. Suddenly the concerti of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, which beforehand were not more than a collection of instruments on the stage, started to rub against each other, creating a spark that is so needed and so talked about in concerts.

Yakir Ben Moshe
Time Out
November 8, 2007


The many faces of Beethoven

…Finally, the conductor Gil Shohat sat down at the piano and took upon himself an incredible challenge: performing Beethoven's large-scale Emperor Concerto while conducting it at the same time. Shohat's musical enthusiasm demanded quite a lot of acrobatics and infected both the orchestra and the audience, bringing the entire marathon of Beethoven concerti to a very interesting and satisfying end.

Ora Binur
Maariv
February 24, 2007


The courage to be understood

Even the severe critics of Gil Shohat will have to admit that his masterful orchestration is extremely impressive. This was the case in his new piano concerto for four hands. If "concerto" is a contest, then the orchestra with a large variety of colors stands in this concert as a contestant who is even more interesting compared to 20 fingers of the pianists. The 25 minutes long concerto shows a very characteristic aspect in Shohat's approach and that is his courage to be understood, exposed, and honest. He presents a very communicative music with no compromises. His piece doesn't try to be pretentious by breaking any stylistic traditions. The listener and the players are asked to be entertained and have fun in the face of what the composer does being a very natural family member of the western music in all its kinds.

Haggai Hitron
Haaretz
July 11, 2007


Tourists turn to dust

The stage adaptation of Aharon Applefeld's novel Badenheim 1939 is a work of genius. Shohat's music behaves like a text, a dance that accompanies the plot like a Greek choir, and a theatrical language that demands the spectator to make intellectual connections. The textual narrative is presented by the actor Oded Teomi, but all the undercurrents of the story are told through the music of Gil Shohat, the composer and conductor, along with the Israel Chamber Orchestra. Shohat's music advances on two levels: the first is filled with the joy of life, honorable grand gestures, and hedonism on the border of decadent madness. The second level is made up of a threatening and dramatic orchestration, the poetry of lamentation, and the infinite murmur of weeping violins that seeps deep into the realms of horror. On the one hand, Shohat writes for dreamy flutes and singing violins. On the other hand, there's the billowing menace of the tympani. The music serves as a drug that blinds and intoxicates the consciousness of the visitors to Badenheim.

Meirav Yudilovitch
Ynet.com
November 27, 2006


Beautiful and talented

In the beginning of the concert, Shohat conducted as world premiere the second serenade of Braun. Shohat immediately conquered the listener's ears in a performance that had plenty of charm. Later on we heard an interesting performance of Beethoven's Fifth symphony. The program of the concert was more symphonic than chamber, but the orchestra and its conductor stood up to the challenge with great honor. The public left the concert with smiles and with lots of promise, and this was a great blessing for the new concert season that has started.

Ora Binur
Maariv
September 20, 2006


A promising overture

This was Shohat's trial by fire as the chief conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, and it brought out another musical facet of his personality. His conducting of the overture of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro was filled with energy and freshness, in true Mozartian style… In the final part of the concert, Shohat conducted Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperand, which included two pieces that Shohat had masterfully orchestrated. This was a very refined performance that benefited from a profound musical understanding.

Ora Binur
Maariv
Sep. 23, 2005


The 40 most influential people in Israeli culture

He seems to be everywhere you go, and rightfully so: Gil Shohat, composer, pianist, host, lecturer, and cultural navigator. Even the prime minister couldn't escape him, and on a cold winter night he sneaked into the Beit Lessin Theater to hear Tyre and Jerusalem, for which Shohat won the Israel Theater Prize for composer of the year. Four years ago, he staged his opera Alpha and Omega, convincing a whole generation of Israelis to lovingly accept a contemporary piece of music. This year, he succeed in revitalizing the classical division of the Israel Festival. Only 30 years old, he's already one of the most influential figures in Israel's musical life.

Hanoch Ron
Yediot Aharonot
May 20, 2004


The Opera House ceiling all but collapsed

The youthful Gil Shohat has come up with a personal orchestration of Debussy’s Preludes (First Book), and we won’t mince our words: it’s absolutely brilliant! Shohat’s musical language is characterized by refinement, purity and originality. His orchestration imparts new meaning to Debussy, making this an original work par excellence. One of Shohat’s legs is bent in hommage to Debussy, while the other is extended as it kicks heavenwards a ball of wonderful creativity spun out of the most dizzying imagination. It is then that this orchestration becomes an independent work, with the strings partaking of the rapture of the woodwind instruments. A veritable feast for the senses.

Hanoch Ron
Yediot Aharonot
June 18, 2001


On the Equator

It is rare that there occurs a symbiotic blend such as that which we heard between Claude Debussy and Gil Shohat. Had I only heard Shohat’s impressively brilliant orchestration of the Preludes, I would not have felt the absence of the piano. Shohat, with his sensitive ear and great talent, has here done something about which we can say, “the work has outstripped its creator”, by far. The performance was wonderful. All of the instruments were absolutely outstanding, as the Preludes enjoyed a new lease on life.

Ora Binur
Ma’ariv
17 June 2001


An orchestration which sounds like an original

The most interesting work in this concert was a orchestration by Gil Shohat, a past master at this art (as he has already demonstrated in his opera Alpha and Omega) - an orchestral version of Book One from the series of Debussy’s Preludes. Shohat’s arrangement sounds so “right” that listeners are likely to ask themselves not how they react to the orchestration, but rather a hypothetical question, viz.: how would they react to the original, for solo piano, if they had not encountered it first, but only after making the acquaintance of the orchestral arrangement. The work is one that any orchestra would be delighted to perform.

Hagai Chitron
Ha’aretz
June 13, 2001


A great opera was born

An incredible opera has been born! Unbelievable! Composer Gil Shohat has made his opera a great celebration of music. It is a song of praise to unlimited sensuality. Let me say it: the music is wonderful! Shohat is a past master of orchestration. The orchestra is the real star of the opera. He paints it with magnificent colors ... combining wonderful choral parts naturally and intelligently, poetic duets and thrilling arias - all accompanied by colourful orchestration - this is Shohat’s style. At last! We have a world-class great operatic creation which can grace every major opera house worldwide. This was one of the greatest moments of the New Israel Opera. Hallelujah!

Hanoch Ron
Yediot Aharonot
January 22, 2001


Beyond time

A real landmark in Israel’s cultural life... a great achievement for the New Israel Opera. We now have a work of art which can hold its own worldwide, serious, an impressive creation which will make a name for itself beyond place and time.

Ora Binur
Ma’ariv
January 22, 2001


A great triumph

We have been blessed with an original new opera. Gil Shohat’s impressive music undoubtedly constitutes a significant breakthrough on Israel’s cultural scene. This opera is a glorious Israeli triumph!

Elyakim Yaron
Ma’ariv
January 22, 2001


Who are you, Gil Shohat?

Alpha and Omega is perhaps the Israeli Tristan and Isolde. Gil Shohat is the ultimate master of musical styles.

Noam Ben Ze’ev
Ha’aretz
January 22, 2001


An opera is born

Meteor! The opera Alpha and Omega makes Gil Shohat the most important musician in Israel. And he is only 27 years old.

Dalia Karpel
Ha’aretz
January 12, 2001


Gil – Puccini

Gil Shohat is the most important name Israel has given to the world in the music field.

Dorit Sarid
Yediot Aharonot
January 5, 2001


The cry of pain

Shohat’s style is based on three things: the romantic melody, which rolls like a great sea, the grasp of the work’s overall structure, and the brilliant orchestration. Like a real maestro, he plays with all the hues of the orchestra. Shohat is a genuine romantic who feels no shame at displaying emotion. What is marvellous in Shohat’s work is the deft balance between the tension in the drama and the tranquillity when ease comes. Shohat is a composer of atmosphere, of emotion. He is not afraid of a mighty scream, nor does he tremble before a simple prayer.

Hanoch Ron
Yediot Aharonot
October 24, 2000


The dualist

Wunderkind composer Gil Shohat has captured the imagination of the Israeli public.

David B. Green
Jerusalem Report
July 6, 1998


Something to get excited about

There’s no denying it: Gil Shohat has truly arrived. His Song of Songs, performed last night, turned into a song of praise of remarkable musical sensuality, of joyous intensity. Yesterday, Shohat (only 24 years old) ceased being “the Israeli promise”. He simply proved himself to be a great composer. By what authority does this youngster dare to write a work with such glowing orchestration? Giving a colourful, liberating and youthful interpretation to the Song of Songs? He doesn’t suffer. He just goes ahead and sings. Touches love.

Hanoch Ron
Yediot Aharonot
June 5 1998


Respect for Israeli creation

It is difficult to recall when such great respect was given by the Israel Festival to an Israeli creation. The beautiful moments were truly beautiful with their rhythmic choir segments, abundance of charming melodies, and always surprising orchestrational tones. Those moments which were intended to sway the senses did just that and were as impressive as ever.

Noam Ben Ze’ev
Ha’aretz
June 5, 1998


The Happy Composer

In an age when many young composers express angst and disappointment in the world, Shohat’s music is intriguing and optimistic. He does not imitate, rather he writes in his own special language, creating a musical vocabulary which has universal appeal, yet at the same time demands serious appreciation by his listeners. In the next few years a lot of music lovers all over the world will be listening to Gil Shohat’s music.

Michael Ajzenstadt
Jerusalem Post
March 12, 1998


The new elite of notes

Gil Shohat is the new meteor, a brilliant composer. He is fascinating. He is exciting. His works are conquering the entire world.

Hanoch Ron
Yediot Aharonot
July 25, 1997


Birth of a great composer

I could hardly believe what I was hearing. All of a sudden, Israeli music has a genuine violin concerto. A truly marvelous work. A great composer has been born. The concerto is an anthem for a virtuoso dialogue between soloist and orchestra. It has everything: density contrasted with transparency, internal tension opposed to brilliant orchestration. With Shohat, imagination nudges knowledge. He takes contemporary musical techniques and transforms them into music that is simply excellent. He makes a personal statement within the established musical language. Honest. Original. It’s genuine chutzpa for such a young man to achieve an ideal balance between intellectual and emotional expression.

Hanoch Ron
Yediot Aharonot
November 13, 1996