The Raanana Symphonette is a unique voice within the classical music sphere. A winning combination of innovation and quality. The orchestra is fully committed to musical education and the exposure of many new audiences to classical music. Furthermore, the orchestra is committed to the cultivation of Jewish musical tradition, the enrichment of contemporary Israeli music, and the commemoration of the Holocaust in music. Through its manifold activities, the orchestra proves that its goals are achieved through musical sounds.
The orchestra’s Music Director, Omer M Welber, is one of the talented and sought-after prodigies on the international scene.
Throughout the years, the orchestra has hosted renowned soloists and conductors, from Israel and abroad. Among the conductors are Salvador Brotons, Maxim Shostakovich, Constantine Orbelian, Dan Ettinger, Giselle Ben Dor and Noam Sheriff. The orchestra has cooperated with many world-famous opera singers, namely Paata Burchuladze, Lubov Kazarnovskaya, Dmitry Hvorostovsky, Sumi Jo and Jessye Norman, as well as the famous Italian group Gergorian. Its solo roster includes pianists Joaquin Achucarro, Yaron Kohlberg, Arie Vardi, Oxana Yablonskaya and Davide Cabassi, violinists Maxim Vengerov, Shlomo Mintz, Haggai Shaham, Sasha Rozhdestveknsky, Vanessa Mae, Miriam Fried and Nikolaj Znaider, cellists Misha Maisky, Arto Noras and Dmitry Yablonsky and the last Galician klezmer artist, Leopold Kozlowsky.
One of the orchestra’s goals is the promotion of Jewish and Israeli music, as well as the preservation and documentation of original material.
In 2007, the orchestra presented a unique concert, A Tribute to Alma Rosa – the violinist who led the women orchestra at Auschwitz. The project won the prestigious Engel award, presented to the orchestra for its “unique contribution to the preservation of the Jewish heritage”. Following performances of the program in Canada during Holocaust week, the orchestra was invited by the European Parliament in Brussels, to perform the program during the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The orchestra’s frequent collaborations with well-established stars within the Israeli and international scenes alike, has endeared it to a wide-ranging audience. Such international artists include Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, José Feliciano, Ian Anderson, Manhattan Transfer, Emma Shapplin, Charlotte Church, Natalia Oreiro, Alessandro Safina and Enrico Macias. Israeli popular artists include David d’Or, Shlomi Shabban, Assaf Amdursky, Giora Feidman, Marina Maximillian Blumin and Koby Aflalo, to name but a few. The orchestra’s wide-ranging activities include operas, musicals, performances incorporating dance and multimedia, recordings for Sony Classical etc.
The younger generation is highly regarded by the Raanana Symphonette. The orchestra has various educational programs, promoting social values, such as tolerance and understanding through music. It has initiated an unique educational program in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Education, providing exposure to classical music and musical instruments from kindergarten to junior high, and culminating with a fully-fledged orchestral concert. The orchestra firmly believes that music enriches learning abilities and cultural perception.
The Raanana Symphonette holds over 350 concerts per year, and participates in prestigious festivals, such as The Israel Festival, Abu-Ghosh, Kfar Blum and the Desert Sounds Festival. it has performed extensively abroad, namely in the USA, France, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Eritrea, Azerbaijan, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and the Ukraine.
The Orchestra operates out of a firm belief that quality music should be accessible to as wide an audience as possible, maintaining that classical music is not the privilege of the few – it should be accessible to everyone, everywhere. Its concerts reach out to subdued populations in the periphery, and among its manifold special projects, there’s even one for the hearing impaired.