The Jerusalem East and West Orchestra is a multicultural orchestra, consisting of musicians from all three religions, from all over the country and from all sectors that make up the Israeli society. The orchestra is a unique body in the global music scene, combining musical artistic quality and entertainment as an agenda.
The orchestral arrangements, written by its musical director, are based on the musical language developed in it over the years that combines and "melts" musical methods from East and West into a uniform, coherent and organic language. This language for example brings together makams and rhythms from the Arab and Islamic countries with the aesthetics and harmony of the western music
Tom Cohen - Artistic Director and Chief Conductor
The orchestra's artistic director and lead conductor is maestro Tom Cohen (38) a graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music.
Cohen established the orchestra in 2009 – along with the orchestra's former CEO, Mr. Ofer Amsalem – as well as writing all of its musical arrangements.
Cohen is considered to have a unique ability to transfer the music of Arab and North African countries to musicians from a Western classical background – and vice versa. This ability led him to conduct over different and varied ensembles – from the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra to the Algerian Shaabi Orchestra "El Gusto" – and establish more orchestras in the format of his Jerusalem Orchestra around the World, including:
- L'Orchester Symphonique Andalou De Montreal (Canada)
- The Med Orchestra (Belgium)
- Symphonyate (Morocco)
Isi Winter Abecasis - CEO
General manager of the orchestra, has an experience of diverse managerial experience of over 30 years in the fields of cultural management including: content management, curator, meeting budget goals, managing employees and making culture accessible to diverse audiences. She has also held a number of key positions in the Association of Cultural Directors of Local Authorities, including a board member and Chair of the Conferences and Advanced Studies Committee as well as chair of the International Relations Committee.
Over the years, Isi has produced important festivals, established and managed the Enav Cultural Center for 20 years, which was a warm home for a new creation and quality culture, as well as advising the cultural directors around the country. She served as a director at the Eretz Israel Museum and the Tel-Aviv National Sports Center. She initiated and headed unique projects and original productions, including: Tribute evenings, festivals, White Night, The Improvisation Night, Omer Tower and more.
She was one of the founders of the Community Division of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, which focuses on building affiliated communities in the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality. Member of the Stiftung Bartelsman organization, which unites opinion leaders and works to deepen and promote core issues in Israel and in Germany, is a member of the Forum of Dialogue which is focusing on Israeli-Polish relations. Isi holds a master's degree in media and journalism and a broad education in various cultural and management fields. Isi is married to Gadi and a mother to Alon, Shira and Noa.
The instrumental ensemble of the orchestra is as follows:
Oriental Classic Instruments
Darbukka, canon, oud and ney flute are permanent, joined by guest musicians according to the musical content – for example kamanja or flamenco guitar.
String section is particularly flexible in terms of its ability to move between Eastern and Western styles of music
Brass Section ah-la-Broadway: trumpet, saxophone and trombone that also play as soloists when needed.
Versatile Rhythm Division
Bass guitar, electric guitar, a drum set and percussion – Darbukka, bandeer, frame drums, rick, cajon, bongos and all kind of rustling and ringing.
All of the above enable to perform Eastern materials in a Western arrangement and vice versa – in a way that respects the original and at the same time strives to enrich it and make it communicative and catchy to new ears, thus exposing the music of all the cultures that exist in Jerusalem to as many audiences as possible.
Behind the Scenes
CEO – Isi Winter Abecasis
Marketing and Sales Manager – Limor Amsalem
Director of Communications and Digital – Ori Malin
Director of Production department – Orly Yaakobi
Administrator – Ilana Turgeman
Accountant – Meirav Oranim
Stage manager – Uriah Brown
Stage manager assistant – Guy Shoshan
Librarian – Jonathan Bar-On
Customer service and subscribers coordinator – Yochi Bar
Tickets and subscribers customer service – Yaffa Atias, Anat Cohen
Tickets distributors coordinator – Itzik Alon
Concert hostess – Yaffa Peretz
Coordination of musicians – Yuval Laufer Israeli
Amplification and Lighting – Tzlil Haemek | Soundman: Eldad Tamir
Members of the General Assembly
Chairman of the Assembly and Board of Directors – Yuval Rakavy
Member of the Board of Directors – Yaffa Israeli
Member of the Board of Directors – Michal Rakavy
Member of the Board of Directors – Yoram Cohen
Member of the Board of Directors – David Galenos
Friend – Arie Nachmias
Friend – Itamar Barhom
Friend – Amir Ephraim
Friend – Avital Frenkel
Friend – Raphael Doc
Friend – Drori Hacham
Friend – Amos Goldstein
Friend – Rosemary Ezer
Friend – Paul Dahan
Friend – Yuval Saar Heiman
Friend – Adv. David Golan
Friend – Hemi Sal