Photo: Monika Rittershaus
This past weekend saw the third installment of the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival at the Berlin Jewish Museum. The brainchild of Russian pianist Elena Bashkirova, the festival comprised over 40 musical pieces spread over six very full concert programs, featuring an enviable array of international musical talent, including many Israeli performers.
The festival, which ran this year from May 7 – 11, fills a gap in Berlin’s musical landscape. “Berlin, with all its multitude of musical events, doesn’t have a chamber music festival,” Bashkirova explained. “It has a lot of great concerts and everyone plays here, but there isn’t an actual festival. So, I think there was a great interest from the public. And now we’re doing it for the third time and I’m very happy.” Judging from the generous attendance for the three concerts I attended, it seems that the festival is indeed catering to a demand felt by this city’s musically inclined.
At first glance, the title is likely to confuse. The festival director explained the Berlin series’ connection to an older, more established musical event in Israel. “This festival is like the little brother of the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival,” Bashkirova said referring to the festival she founded in 1998 and is held every September in Jerusalem. “We are doing programs that are very similar to in Jerusalem and the people who play are mostly the same,” she explains.