Klezmerata Fiorentina
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Klezmerata Fiorentina

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One of my many activities is to be music director of the Orchestra of the Maggio Fiorentino in Florence. There is an ensemble amongst our musicians called the Klezmerata Fiorentina: Jewish music from Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine, played with authenticity under the guidance of Igor Polesitsky and three of his colleagues. And I must say every time I hear them I don't know whether to laugh or cry because they play music to laugh and to cry.? I recommend them wherever possible because it's not only good entertainment, it's great music-making.

Zubin Mehta - Maestro Zubin Mehta


Fifteen Variations on the Theme of Life



Comprised of four principal players of a leading Italian symphony and opera orchestra, Florence’s Orchestra del Maggio Musicale, Klezmerata Fiorentina was formed in May of 2005 with the purpose of developing a concert version of traditional Ukrainian-Jewish instrumental music, the family heritage of the group’s founder, Igor Polesitsky. The resulting style could be described as improvised Klezmer chamber music, which imbues the unique instrumental language, dance rhythms and authentic melodies of the historical klezmorim with a classical complexity of expression, wide dynamic range, and elasticity of tempo.

The 2005-2006 season, the first year of the group’s existence, was dedicated to the study and elaboration of archival materials and to the preparation of concert programs which were performed in a number of prestigious venues throughout Europe. Under its original name, “Igor's Tikkun Kapelye,” the ensemble participated in the final concert of the Martha Argerich Project in Lugano, Switzerland in the summer of 2005. The concert was broadcast live on Swiss Radio and some of the pieces were included in the compilation album of that year's festival issued by EMI as a special limited edition. The Klezmerata was invited to perform at the Institute of Russian Culture in Vienna; Moscow's new central concert hall, Dom Muzyki; the first anniversary memorial for the great Italian contemporary composer, Luciano Berio; Teatro Piccolo di Milano; Florence’s Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori; Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; and the Salone dei Cinquecento of Palazzo Vecchio. In the fall of 2006, the group had its Tokyo debut. The program, “Fifteen Variations on the Theme of Life,” performed on April 17, 2006 at the historical Renaissance Villa il Poggiale for the Jewish community of Florence, was recorded live and was released at the end of August under the Tuscan NBB label.

On November 26, 2006, the group made its debut at the historic Teatro della Pergola in Florence as part of the concert season of the most important Italian chamber music society, Amici della Musica and since then became a frequent guest of many other prestigious concert organisations and festivals in Italy and abroad. In October of 2007 the group’s concert at the Quirinale palace of the Italian President in Rome was broadcast life by the Euroradio, and in December of the same year Klezmerata performed at the Gala celebration at the Kremlin’s Grate Palace of Congresses in Moscow. Numerous international classical music celebrities -- conductors Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim and James Conlon, cellists Mstislav Rostropovich and Natalia Gutman, pianist Marta Argerich, violinists Vladimir Spivakov, Leonidas Kovakos and Dora Schwarzberg -- have all offered their enthusiastic support and approval after hearing the ensemble. Contemporary composers, the Argentine Jorge Bosso, and the Israeli Betty Olivero, have written works especially for Klezmerata Fiorentina.

Igor Polesitsky, violin
Igor Polesitsky was born in Kiev, where he began studying the violin at the age of six under the guidance of Gregori Yampolsky. At nineteen, after attending the Glière State Music School of Kiev and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, he moved to the United States where he graduated with a degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. While studying under Max Aronoff, Mr. Polesitsky began performing in the USA and abroad, taking part in many international music festivals, the 1982 Curtis European chamber music tour, and the "Russian Music Week" at Carnegie Hall. Since 1983, he has been the Principal violist of Florence’s Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra (principal conductor, Zubin Mehta) and has toured and recorded extensively under the direction of some of the world’s major conductors. In addition to his work with the orchestra, Mr. Polesitsky continues his concert engagements with musicians of the highest international renown. Of particular note are his Italian tour with the Borodin Quartet and his stage performance of the solo violin part composed for him by Luciano Berio in his last opera "Cronaca del Luogo," which opened the 1999 Salzburg Festival. Mr. Polesitsky's interests go beyond classical music, however, and have led him to explore the traditional Yiddish music of his childhood. As a founding member of the Gebirtig Trio, the Shir-am 3 ensemble and, since 2005, the Klezmerata Fiorentina, he has participated in numerous international musical events: festivals of Jewish music and culture in Venice, Basel, Krakow, and Moscow; worldwide radio and television broadcasts by the Austrian Radio ORF, Swiss Radio of Lugano, Italian RAI 3 and RAISAT television; and concerts with some of the most prestigious Italian chamber music organizations such as the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, GOG in Genoa, Settembre Musica in Turin, Milano Musica and Società del Quartetto in Milan and Amici della Musica in Florence.

09 Crocilla
Riccardo Crocilla, clarine