Vis­it­ing Czech vi­olin­ist heals with mu­sic

Pavel Sporcl in­cludes shows at Na­hariya hospi­tal among his per­for­mances in Is­rael

The Jerusalem Post - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - • By MAXIM REI­DER

‘At the first mo­ment this lit­tle Syr­ian boy looked scared, he did not know what is go­ing to hap­pen to him – or around him. He has prob­a­bly never seen a vi­o­lin be­fore. But then I started play­ing and within 20 sec­onds he was al­ready smil­ing – this is the power of mu­sic. He ob­vi­ously en­joyed it and at the end he gave me ‘five,’” says Czech vi­olin­ist Pavel Sporcl, as he speaks of about his far-from-rou­tine con­cert ap­pear­ance at the Western Galilee Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Na­hariya.

The in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed mu­si­cian vis­ited Is­rael last week. The 45-year-old vi­olin­ist pre­sented a mas­ter class at the Jerusalem Mu­sic Cen­ter, Mishkenot Sha’anim, with great suc­cess. But the pre­vi­ous day he spent in the Western Galilee, vis­it­ing the hospi­tal be­fore vis­it­ing the Keshet Eilon Mu­sic Cen­ter.

Sporcl started play­ing vi­o­lin at the age of five. He stud­ied at the Prague Con­ser­va­tory and then con­tin­ued to the US, where Ed­uard Sch­mieder, Itzhak Perl­man and Dorothy De­Lay were his teach­ers. Now he per­forms through­out the world, ap­pear­ing with Czech and in­ter­na­tional or­ches­tras. He is the sole young Czech vi­olin­ist listed in the book Vi­o­lin Vir­tu­osos: From Pa­ganini to the 21st Cen­tury, by the world-renowned mu­sic critic and his­to­rian Henry Roth.

In ad­di­tion to tra­di­tional con­cert ac­tiv­i­ties, Sporcl pro­motes clas­si­cal mu­sic among new au­di­ences. “When I be­came fa­mous in my coun­try – peo­ple rec­og­nize me in the street, which is not usual for a clas­si­cal vi­olin­ist – I re­al­ized that I can make changes in other peo­ple’s life,” he said.

“I make a lot of ed­u­ca­tional con­certs for young peo­ple in my coun­try. This is a part of my life, I want to show peo­ple that they shouldn’t be afraid of clas­si­cal mu­sic. I also try to raise the na­tional pride of Czech peo­ple, so I play the na­tional an­them with vari­a­tions in my con­certs.”

Sporcl also con­trib­utes to the com­mu­nity by per­form­ing ben­e­fi­cial con­certs, like the one he gave in the Western Galilee.

“I be­lieve that both as a mu­si­cian and a hu­man be­ing, I have to help other peo­ple,” he says. “I’ve been per­form­ing ben­e­fit con­certs for many years, and not only in hos­pi­tals.”

“I was so happy to be to­day in the hospi­tal. It is a very spe­cial place, which unites peo­ple from dif­fer­ent re­gions and ways of life.

“It’s very im­por­tant to per­form there, play­ing both for the staff and the pa­tients. The for­mer work hard, help­ing peo­ple and bring­ing them to­gether, and as for the lat­ter – time does not go so fast when you are ill. So they ap­pre­ci­ate it very much when I come to play, be­cause by my mu­sic I make peo­ple a bit hap­pier. Back to this lit­tle boy – you can see how much mu­sic can do. He does not speak English and I do not speak Ara­bic. But the con­nec­tion be­tween the two of us was al­most im­me­di­ate.”

The eight-year-old Syr­ian boy was one of many Syr­ian pa­tients who have been treated in Is­rael since the bloody civil war there be­gan. In fact, more than 70% of the 3,000 Syr­i­ans – many of them women and chil­dren – who were treated in Is­rael, were hosted by the Western Galilee Med­i­cal Cen­ter. This boy, who spent two months in a coma, came to Is­rael with his mother. She later re­turned to her home­land and the boy, who now feels fine, will soon join her.

The Western Galilee Med­i­cal Cen­ter is a modern fa­cil­ity sit­u­ated among the pas­toral land­scapes of north­ern Is­rael. Headed since 2008 by an Arab Chris­tian, Dr. Mas’ad Barhoum, it pro­vides med­i­cal ser­vices to the area’s ap­prox­i­mately 600,000 res­i­dents, which in­clude a va­ri­ety of eth­nic groups and faiths, among them Jews, Chris­tians, Mus­lims, Druze and Cir­cas­sians.

Amir Yarchi, the head of the So­ci­ety of Friends of the Galilee Med­i­cal Cen­ter, ex­plained, “The en­vi­ron­ment has a great sig­nif­i­cance for the heal­ing process. Many stud­ies have found that ex­po­sure to art in hospi­tal wards and pub­lic spa­ces short­ens the du­ra­tion of hos­pi­tal­iza­tion and re­duces the de­pen­dency on painkillers. In re­cent years, we in the Galilee Med­i­cal Cen­ter, in the frame­work of the En­vi­ron­ment Sup­port Heal­ing Project, have been work­ing to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that con­trib­utes to heal­ing, mainly through pho­tog­ra­phy, paint­ing and sculp­ture ex­hi­bi­tions.

“The next stage for us is the in­te­gra­tion of qual­ity mu­sic in the pub­lic spa­ces, and the visit of a vi­olin­ist of such a cal­iber as Sporcl came just in time. The re­ac­tions of the med­i­cal staff, pa­tients and visi­tors show the tremen­dous value of in­te­grat­ing high-level art in a heal­ing en­vi­ron­ment. I would like to thank Pavel, who shared his great tal­ent with all of us.”

From the hospi­tal, Sporcl con­tin­ued to Keshet Eilon Mu­sic Cen­ter, where he met with kib­butz-born Gi­lad Sheba, the CEO and co­founder of the cen­ter. Founded al­most 30 years ago, Keshet Eilon fea­tures an in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned mas­ter course for string play­ers. The cen­ter was founded on Kib­butz Eilon – not so wealthy, but rich in cul­tural tra­di­tion and love of the land of Is­rael. To­day it hosts stu­dents and promi­nent teach­ers from all over the world.

(Maxim Rei­der)

VI­OLIN­IST PAVEL SPORCL vis­its a Syr­ian boy at the Western Galilee Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

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