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