22 September 2019 - 22 Elul 5779 - כ"ב אלול ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Arts & Culture
Israeli performers at the Thailand International Jazz Conference E-mail

The 11th Thailand International Jazz Conference (TIJC), with a theme of “Chill out Around Jazz”, took place from 25 to 27 January at the College of Music at Mahidol University in Bangkok. The event brought together worldclass jazz artists from the US, Europe and many other locations, together with local Thai artists.

Dr Narong Prangcharoen, Dean of the College of Music at Mahidol University, said this year’s event was another important step for TIJC, with the mix of various styles of music. Over the past decade, TIJC has evolved as the centre and community of jazz that brings together jazz lovers from all over the country.

One of the highlighted performing groups was from Israel: highly acclaimed and widely regarded as one of the world’s top jazz bassists, Omer Avital performed with pianist Eden Ladin, saxophone duo Asaf Yuria and Alexander Levin and drummer Ofri Nehemya in a concert on 26 January.

Avital is a virtuoso bassist and a transformational composer and musical thinker. He is a master of the various rhythmic and harmonic vocabularies that underpin 20thand 21st-century hardcore jazz expression, which he approaches with a polyphonic attitude and articulates with prodigious technique.

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Renowned Israeli poet Amoz Oz dies E-mail

Many hundreds of people bade a final farewell to renowned Israeli author Amos Oz at a memorial service in Tel Aviv on 28 December. He was 79, and died after a battle with cancer.

The funeral was held a few days earlier on 21 December and he was buried at Kibbutz Hulda, the communal farm in central Israel where he had lived for many years.

Oz was a leading figure in Israel’s peace movement, revered by Israel’s dovish left wing as an eloquent and outspoken advocate of peace with the Palestinians. Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, politicians, stage actors and other cultural figures attended the funeral, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent a message expressing his condolences.

Oz wrote dozens of books, including a well-received 2002 memoir, and won numerous literary prizes in his half-century career. He was also a novelist, a journalist and a former professor of Hebrew literature at BenGurion University.

In all the author of 19 works of fiction, hundreds of essays and articles about modern Israel and a longtime candidate for the Nobel prize for literature, Oz was best known for his novels, including Black Box, In the Land of Israel and A Tale of Love and Darkness. Much of his work, both fiction and non-fiction, explored kibbutz life and picked apart his characters’ often complex relationships with Israel – reflective of his own.

“My beloved father passed away from cancer, just now, after a rapid deterioration, when he was sleeping at peace, surrounded by the people who love him,” wrote his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger, announcing his death on Twitter. “To those who love him, thank you.”

“Sadness has descended on us,” said Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, calling Oz “our greatest writer” and “a giant of the spirit”.

Historian Simon Schama also paid tribute to Oz, calling him “a hero of mine, a moral as well as literary giant; a light to Israel and all who care for truth and justice.” He wrote: “His life was a blessing and his work will be with us forever.”

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Author Joyce Carol Oates wins 2019 Jerusalem Prize E-mail

US author Joyce Carol Oates is the recipient of the prestigious 2019 Jerusalem Prize, within the framework of the Jerusalem International Book Forum.

Oates will receive the prize on 12 May from the Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion during the opening ceremony of the Jerusalem International Book Forum, which will be held from 12 to 15 May. She will also take part in the International Writers Festival of Mishkenot Sha’ananim from 12 to 16 May.

Oates, born in 1938, is recognised as one of the leading and most important living writers in the US today. During her illustrious literary career, Oates has written many works of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, essays and plays, and has won many prizes. Among her best-selling titles are We Were the Mulvaneys, a selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club; Blonde, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and The Accursed, a “gothic” exploration of racism in early20th-century America.

“I am deeply honored to be a recipient of this distinguished international literary award made to writers whose work deals with the freedom of the individual in society. In a world in which individual freedoms are under assault, the autonomy of the individual and the role of art in our lives is of great concern. The very identity of the individual self is a theme that has long preoccupied me as one whose background has been ‘marginal’ – rural, not prosperous, unallied with a specific religion or culture, born in an era when the term ‘feminist’ scarcely existed,” Oates said.

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