Israeli Jazz Festival Opens in New York
Anat Cohen was one of the featured performers at the inaugural Israeli Jazz Festival in New York in May 2010. (credit: Shervin Lainez)

May 25, 2010

Jazz music, an internationally beloved musical genre with American origins, thrives in Israel today. Acclaimed jazz artist John Zorn hosts the first Israeli Jazz Festival at The Stone, his New York City venue. The five-day festival commemorates the many Israeli musicians who have risen to the top of the world’s jazz scene. It features the most highly regarded names in Israeli jazz, including Omer Avital (bass and oud) and Anat Cohen (clarinet and saxophones). The Israeli jazz scene is widely regarded as one of the most elite and competitive in the world, and Israelis often share stages and recording studios with jazz greats in all corners of the globe. According to Jazz Times,

Israel is always in the headlines, and the news is invariably bad. The plight of the Palestinians, apocalyptic threats from Iran’s president, suicide bombings and rumors of war generate a constant current of anxiety that radiates around the globe. But when it comes to jazz, Israel is the source of an almost miraculous outpouring of talent, a tidal surge that seemed to break over the New York scene.

Israel’s educational infrastructure for the arts naturally fosters a deep pool of musical talent. From a young age, Israeli students who show an aptitude for music are groomed through a series of publicly funded art schools, military bands and university programs. Jazz music is an important component of this training, and it is a natural language for many of the musicians, making Israel an unmatched producer of elite talent. For more information on contemporary Israeli Jazz, click HERE. The photo shows Anat Cohen, one of the featured performers at the 2010 Israeli Jazz Festival.