125th ums suss
Arts is Life
Celebrate St. Petersburg with
Two Great Performances!
St. Petersburg String Quartet
From Bereshit To Boombamella
Fri 10/3 8 pm
"Among the Russian cultural treasures brought to light by the
In Israel, New Age festivals — including one that
marks the Days of Awe — increase in popularity.
dismantling of the Iron Curtain is the St. Petersburg String
Quartet...a solid foundation of collective vision and musical
savvy." (New York Times)
Tracing Astor (2001)
Piano Trio No. 2 in e minor, Op. 67 (1944)
String Quartet No. 3 in e-flat minor, Op. 30 (1876)
Special to the Jewish News
Funded in part by the University of Michigan. Media Sponsors WGTE 91.3 FM
and Michigan Radio.
Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre
Pease Auditorium • Ypsilanti
Valery Gergiev conducts the Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg
in EMU's acoustically splendid Pease Auditorium as part of UMS's
celebration of St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary. "Valery Gergiev
is extraordinary — simply one of the most exciting podium talents
in years." (San Francisco Examiner)
Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture (1869)
Symphony No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 70 (1945)
Supported by Friends of Beverley Geltner. Funded in part by the University of
Michigan. Media Sponsors WGTE 91.3 FM, Observer 8. Eccentric Newspapers, and
Forest Health Services presentt the 125th Annual Choral Union Series.
urns 734.764.2538 www.ums.org
outside the 734 area code, call toll-free 800 221-1229
Ticket Office Hours: M-F 9 am-I0 pm, Sat 10 am-1 pm
These performances are part of the U-Fl Celebrating St. Petersburg Festival.
For Festival information, please visit www.umich.edu/stpetersburg.
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of so many years ago, any-
thing outside the mainstream
of Israeli culture would have
been treated — both by the
media and the general public — with
little more than fleeting curiosity. Israel
is, after all, still a primarily traditional
society that sticks tenaciously to its deep
Then, in 1997, New Age-style festivals
starting springing up all over the coun-
The Shantipi Festival, that took place
that year on a small plot ofland near
Pardess Hanna in the north of the coun-
try, attracted a crowd of around 3,000
"alternative" faithfuls; most of the atten-
dees had some Indian or Far Eastern
backpacking in their CV, and had
brought that spirit back home with
Former Israel Air Force pilot Ronnie
Tabachnik was one of thousands of
young Israelis who went east on a pro-
longed post-military service odyssey in
search of new topographical and spiritu-
Today, Tabachnik is the brains and
heart behind two of Israel's leading
annual New Age events — the
Boombamella Festival, which takes place
over the Passover period, and the
Bereshit Festival, which occupies the cal-
endar during Rosh Hashanah.
"The Bereshit Festival — happening
this year Sept. 25-28 along a 20-mile
stretch of the Sea of Galilee — signifies
the emergence of a new generation in
Israeli society," says Tabachnik.
"This is a generation that talks of tol-
erance, peace, love and harmony, and
music and nature. It is very much a New
Age approach, like they have in the
States. In a sense, the festival is a kind of
annual gathering b of the movement in
Tabachnik is also keen to note the reli-
gious — albeit non-mainstream — ele-
ment to the four-day event, which takes
place when observant Jews are spending
much of their time in synagogues
around the country marking the start of
the Days of Awe, the period of self-
examination, repentance and prayer that
Barry Davis is a freelance writer
based in Israel.
"It's a sort
come to take
part in a
Mosh Ben-Ari is among
the performers at this
year's Bereshit Festival in
incremental leaps and bounds over the
past six years. About 4,000 people
attended the first Bereshit Festival, held
in an avocado grove near Pardess Hanna
in 1998. Tabachnik expects this year's
event to draw crowds of anywhere from
30,000 to 40,000.
New Age has finally made the big
time in Israel.
"What started out as a marginal event
is now broadcast live, in prime time, on
[state TV] Channel One and on
[national radio station] Galei Tsahal,"
"Everybody in Israel now knows
about Bereshit, and the other festivals.
It's not so much of an esoteric event
anymore. These days, you get holistic
villages, nudist camps and cultural
events with Jews and Arabs all over the
Bereshit's rise in the popularity
stakes has, naturally, impacted on the
festival's entertainment agenda. While
the first gatherings mostly featured
"alternative" artists known to few but
the New Age scene cognoscenti, the
festival now attracts some of the
biggest stars in the country.
Last year, in addition to staple New
Age acts like Sheva and Gaya, festival
goers grooved to the high energy out-
put of rock megastars Shalom Hanokh
and Yehuda Polliker.
This year, the Bereshit program fea-
tures bill toppers from the local rock,
ethnic and Mediterranean music
scene, such as Meir Banai, Shlomi
Saranga and Mosh Ben-Ari. There also
will be 11 non-Israeli bands among