Contact: Dr. Ilai Saltzman/Israel Institutefirstname.lastname@example.org
PROMINENT ISRAELI ARTISTS TO TEACH AT TOP US UNIVERSITIES IN 2018-19
Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists Program to bring 10 leading artists to major US campuses
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24 – Now beginning its second decade, the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists Program will bring 10 prominent Israeli artists for residencies at top universities across the United States for the 2018-2019 academic year. Among the artists are Taiseer Elias, the leading figure in classical Arab music in Israel, and Moshe Zonder, the head writer for the popular television series, Fauda.
The Visiting Artists Program is an initiative of the Israel Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based academic institute, aimed to enhance knowledge about modern Israel by bringing Israeli filmmakers, choreographers, musicians, writers, and visual artists to leading universities and other cultural organizations in North America for residencies.
The program, founded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation in 2008, fosters interaction between the artists and the communities in which they are based, exposing a broader audience to contemporary Israeli culture.
“The Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists program is the bridge between the Israel Institute's academic and cultural programming. These visiting artists provide more than just classes that teach skills; these artists provide a window into the heart of Israel,” says Dr. Ariel Ilan Roth, executive director of the Israel Institute. “Cultural education provides insights into the fabric of a society in the way that other courses cannot, and the understanding of students enrolled in these classes is deeper and more enriched as a result.”
Since inception, the program has supported 94 residencies at colleges and universities across North America. To date, 106 artists have participated, among them a recipient of The Israel Prize, Israel's most prestigious award; an Emmy nominee; numerous recipients of Israel's highest literary awards; and many winners of multiple Israeli Oscars.
The artists in the 2018-2019 cohort are as follows:
Hilla Ben Ari, University of Florida, Gainesville. January 03, 2019 – April 28, 2019. A visual artist, Ben Ari presents her work, often focused on the female body, in many formats, including video, sculpture, and installations. The subject of solo exhibitions at several Israeli institutions, including the Museum of Art, Ein Harod, and the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, her work has also been included in numerous exhibitions at museums around the world, from Rome’s MAXXI Museum to the Orange County Museum of Art in California. She has also won festival awards in Tokyo and Madrid for her videos.
Taiseer Elias, University of California, Berkeley. September 24, 2018 – October 10, 2018. An internationally celebrated oud player, violinist, and composer, Elias has toured internationally; notably, with Bustan Abraham, where they brought together Jewish and Arab musicians. While staying true to his roots in traditional Arab music, he both composes modern works and performs works by contemporary composers such as Menachem Wiesenberg, who will perform with him in Berkeley, and masters such as Bach and Vivaldi. A Ph.D. in musicology from The Hebrew University, Elias has held academic appointments at several Israeli institutions and is currently a professor at the University of Haifa.
Gil Kerer, Oberlin College, Ohio. January 28, 2019 – May 10, 2019. An independent dancer, performer, and choreographer, Kerer has been a member of two of Israel’s international touring companies, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and the Vertigo Dance Company, with which he still collaborates on different projects. As a young choreographer, in 2011, he was awarded the first prize in the Israeli Curtain Up Festival. Since then, he has worked internationally and, in 2017, he presented work in eight countries around the world.
Aviya Kopelman, University of California, Berkeley. March 11, 2019 – May 12, 2019. One of the youngest ever recipients of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Prize for Composition (2007), Kopelman creates multi-genre work that combine her diverse musical passions. At times, her work draws on Biblical texts, modern Israeli poetry, and feminist themes. She was awarded a Kronos Quartet commission as part of their Under30 program. She has also received commissions from the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition, the Jerusalem Chamber Orchestra, and the Orchestre Pour la Paix (Paris). Since 2014, she has been composer in residence for the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.
Yael Rasooly, Trinity College, Hartford. January 15, 2019 – May 15, 2019. Rasooly’s theatrical language is based on a multidisciplinary approach, combining different forms of theatre, puppetry, visual art, and music. Her most recent work, How Lovely (2017), is based on short stories by Etgar Keret. She created a universe of paper cut-outs and object theater with Paper Cuts, a production that has toured worldwide. The New York Times called it “one of those artfully quirky solo performances that make the New York International Fringe Festival worth checking out.” Her solo vocal presentation, The Gramophone Show, features classic songs from the 1920s to the 1940s.
Meital Raz, University of Central Florida, Orlando. January 2, 2018 – April 22, 2019. Meital Raz is a director, performer, writer, and puppeteer working in contemporary visual theater in Israel and abroad. Her award-winning The Man in the Moon (2016) is based on a 16th- century science fiction novel by the English Bishop Francis Godwin. With only a piece of paper, a pair of scissors, and some tape, Raz becomes a British bishop, a Spanish adventurer, and the moon all at once, all the while sitting behind a small table. Such feats are typical of Raz’s inventive theater works, which have been presented in Brazil, England, France, Germany, Israel, Poland, and elsewhere.
Noa Shadur, University of Indiana and Ball State University. January 2, 2019 – May 3, 2019. Choreographer Noa Shadur’s work has been presented in festivals in Israel and internationally in France, Hungary, Italy, and The Netherlands. She also presented at the prestigious American Dance Festival in North Carolina. Her dance films were awarded first prize at the Vdance International Video Dance Festival (Israel); Certificate of Distinction ADF – Dancing for the Camera (USA); and Best FilmPOOL07 Festival (Germany). In 2009 and 2014, Shadur was awarded the Young Choreographer Prize from the Israeli Ministry of Culture.
Ronen Sharabani, University of California, Los Angeles. March 27, 2019 – June 14, 2019. Sharabani’s work uses a blend of movement, performance, video, and light, with a musical overlay of singing and other sounds, to construct animated works that are projected onto architecture. He was commissioned to create large-scale commissions both this year and in 2015 for the influential SXSW Festivals in Austin, Texas. In addition to Austin, Sharabani’s work has been exhibited in New York, London, and Tel Aviv.
Ronit Weiss-Berkowitz, San Diego State University. January 15, 2019 – May 9, 2019. One of the founders of the screenwriting program at the Sam Spiegel School of Film and Television and, currently, a professor at Tel Aviv University’s Film Department, Weiss-Berkowitz has been actively involved with many aspects of filmmaking. She has been the head writer or writer for various television drama series; she has also been a script editor and has directed documentaries on a wide range of subjects. She was Editor-in-Chief at Keter Publishing House, one of the largest publishers in Israel, and has edited books by celebrated writers, including Amoz Oz, Shemi Zarhin, and Nava Semel.
Moshe Zonder, Rutgers University. August 28, 2018 – December 21, 2018. Zonder was the head writer and director for Fauda, the enormously successful television series broadcast in Israel, which began in 2015. In 2016, Fauda became the first Israeli series to be released as a Netflix Original. He has written many other screenplays for film and television, most recently for a documentary on the 1972 hijacking of a Sabena Airways flight bound for Israel. He began his career as a journalist working at Maariv, one of Israel’s leading Hebrew-language daily newspapers.