This is mu­sic to their ears


OUR JERUSALEM Con­ser­va­tory Has­sadna, of which I am ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, is guided by the be­lief that any child, re­gard­less of so­cio-eco­nomic level, eth­nic­ity or re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion, should be pro­vided with the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence mu­sic in­struc­tion of the high­est cal­i­bre.

In a city as com­plex, and of­ten tense, as Jerusalem, we take great pride in the tremen­dous di­ver­sity of our staff and stu­dent com­mu­nity. Re­li­gious and sec­u­lar stu­dents, Arab Is­raelis, young peo­ple with spe­cial needs, chil­dren from the Ethiopian com­mu­nity who have a very dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal tra­di­tion, well-es­tab­lished fam­i­lies and new im­mi­grants from coun­tries span­ning the globe are an in­te­gral part of our hu­man m o s a i c .

I have just re­turned from Lon­don with six young mu­si­cians from our Con­ser­va­tory where we had the great plea­sure of per­form­ing a range of musi c fr o m Beethoven, to Shostakovich and even some Duke Elling­ton in two very suc­cess­ful fundrais­ing con­certs in two beau­ti­ful homes. Our re­la­tion­ship with Lon­don be­gan six years ago when our dear friends Peter and Ju­dith Shel­don vis­ited our Con­ser­va­tory and be­lieved in our vi­sion of mu­sic for all chil­dren. Their friend­ship and part­ner­ship was over­whelm­ing and, in 2010, two 13-year-old stu­dents from the Con­ser­va­tory were brought to Lon­don to per­form for the first time.

Since then, Lon­don has be­come a sec­ond home to us and we have had the priv­i­lege of per­form­ing in venues both small and large each year. We have been for­tu­nate to meet ex­tra­or­di­nary peo­ple who have be­come ded­i­cated friends and supporters. We are deeply grate­ful for the spe­cial re­la­tion­ship that has formed over the years and are hon­oured to have been wel­comed with such warmth.

Has­sadna, es­tab­lished in 1973 by mu­si­cian Amalia Reuel, is one of Is­rael’s premier in­sti­tutes of mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion. For 40 years, the Con­ser­va­tory has been a sec­ond home to thou­sands of chil­dren from Jerusalem. We em­pha­sise mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion of the high­est cal­i­bre and ac­cord­ingly work with Is­rael’s most tal­ented mu­si­cians and in­struc­tors. Our stu­dent body of nearly 700 stu­dents, ages 3 to 18, is the heart of our school. Has­sadna has cre­ated a warm and sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment, which fully max­imises ev­ery child’s mu­si­cal po­ten­tial, pro­vid­ing tai­lor-made pro­grammes that re­flect their unique tal­ents.

We also en­cour­age par­tic­i­pa­tion in en­rich­ment ac­tiv­i­ties such as play­ing in en­sem­bles and or­ches­tras, tak­ing the­ory classes, par­tic­i­pat­ing in mas­ter classes and work­shops, and per­form­ing in con­certs. Thus, we hope to in­fuse each stu­dent with the magic and beauty of mu­sic, turn them into life­long mu­sic lovers and en­able them to pursue a ca­reer as pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians, should they so de­sire.

Has­sadna is proud to wel­come spe­cial pop­u­la­tion groups into our mu­si­cal home. Through our Bridges of Light pro­gramme, the Con­ser­va­tory of­fers young peo­ple with spe­cial needs the op­por­tu­nity to re­ceive pro­fes­sional in­struc­tion in pi­ano. Chil­dren play in cham­ber mu­sic and en­sem­bles and are fully in­te­grated into the Con­ser­va­tory com­mu­nity. For 10 years, Has­sadna’s From Risk to Op­por­tu­nity mu­sic pro­gramme for chil­dren of Ethiopian de­scent has pro­vided full eco­nomic, pro­fes­sional and per­sonal sup­port for dozens of chil­dren from the Ethiopian com­mu­nity, ac­com­pa­ny­ing them as they have grown and de­vel­oped as young mu­si­cians. The sup­port that we pro­vide has en­abled many of our stu­dents to reach the high­est lev­els of mu­si­cian­ship.

We are cur­rently at the cross­roads of the re­al­i­sa­tion of a great dream. For 40 years, our Con­ser­va­tory has been lo­cated within an el­e­men­tary school, forc­ing us to cope with a short­age of space, in­ap­pro­pri­ate acous­tics and enor­mous lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges. Just re­cently, we re­ceived the won­der­ful news that the city of Jerusalem has granted us a site for a new build­ing lo­cated in the cen­tre of Jerusalem in the beau­ti­ful Ger­man Colony neigh­bour­hood.

We are deeply grate­ful to the Jerusalem Foun­da­tion, which has very gen­er­ously adopted this project as its own. The road is yet long but I have no doubt that, with our de­ter­mi­na­tion and the sup­port of our friends and part­ners, we will re­alise our dream of be­com­ing the cen­tre for cul­ture and mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion for the chil­dren of Jerusalem.

Gifted: One of Has­sadna’s pupils


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