Who we are
Keshet Eilon Music Center and its String Masterclasses were founded in 1990 on Kibbutz Eilon in Western Galilee. The project began as an initiative designed to help with the absorption of new immigrants to Israel, after a group of twelve violinists from the CIS arrived in Eilon, and since then it has blossomed, expanded and, with the passing years, acquired a name for itself.
The Center’s activities are founded upon the belief that music is a profound and natural form of human expression that can build bridges between individuals, cultures, countries and peoples and serve as an international language. This is the origin of the name Keshet, which, in Hebrew, apart from meaning “bow” in the musical sense, can also mean “spectrum” or “rainbow.” Keshet Eilon’s principal objectives are to foster the talents of young string musicians from Israel and abroad and help them to achieve musical excellence, while at the same time contributing to the development of Israel’s Western Galilee region.
To this end, the Keshet Eilon Masterclasses non-profit organization was formed under the musical direction of Professor Itzhak Rashkovsky, a senior instructor at the Royal College of Music in London. Managing Director Gilad Sheba, the son of one of Eilon’s founders and today himself a member of the kibbutz, is responsible for directing all activities at the center, assisted by his deputy, VPO Nitza Avidan. The organization is run by an elected committee headed by Rami Shalmor, all of whose members – including those who serve on the sub-committees – work on a voluntary basis.
Initially the masterclasses were attended by some twenty-five violinists annually; most were Israelis and some were new immigrants. Each year saw an increase in the number of participants, who were selected by means of rigorous auditions. As Keshet Eilon gradually emerged into the wider world of international music its activities gained impetus, and with time it acquired a professional reputation. Reports of its informal atmosphere, its inclusive educational approach and, above all, its high professional standards and striving for excellence have encouraged distinguished and prominent international teachers of violin and other stringed instruments to assume an active role in the masterclasses and join the senior teaching staff. Today Keshet Eilon has gained recognition in musical circles worldwide, and its status as an important musical center serves to enhance Israel’s cultural reputation.
Together with our vision of establishing Keshet Eilon as an international center for musical excellence that will attract leading young musicians from Israel and abroad, we aspire to make it a venue that will nurture Israel’s best musicians, precisely as we envisaged when the project was launched in the early 1990s.
Today we look forward to the not-so-distant future when we shall realize our vision of establishing an academy of music that will operate in the Keshet Eilon compound all year round and attract gifted young musicians from Israel and all over the world, together with leading teachers and performers who will make the place their home and share their professional experience with the young artists. We are already tentatively exploring the possibility of cooperation with Tel Aviv University’s Buchmann-Mehta School of Music and other bodies in Israel and abroad.
- Keshet Eilon Music Center will attract violinists and string musicians from both Israel and the rest of the world and prepare its graduates for future appearances on the international stage as string soloists and leading players in major orchestras at home and abroad.
- Keshet Eilon Music Center will strive to the utmost of its ability to include in its activities young string musicians from different communities within Israeli society, including members of the Arab population, and will collaborate with musical institutions within the country’s Arab sector.
- Keshet Eilon Music Center will strive to the utmost to ensure that every young, talented musician, whatever his / her origin, religion or culture, can take part in its activities, even if he / she possesses only very limited financial means.
- Keshet Eilon Music Center will contribute to cultural life in Western Galilee and northern Israel as a whole by using its concert hall to provide more programs of high-quality classical music, together with other events for the benefit of local residents and increased Israeli tourism in Western Galilee. The center will help to provide additional employment opportunities in the area, and thus will participate in the further development of the Galilee region and northern Israel.
- Keshet Eilon Music Center’s graduates, whose number grows constantly, will act in their home countries as goodwill ambassadors for Israel: their view of Israel through the prism of positive cultural interaction will eclipse any image they may have of it as a land suffering from serious existential problems.
- Keshet Eilon’s activities have never ceased, even during periods of hostile activity on the nearby international border. The Center will continue to operate at Kibbutz Eilon on Israel’s northern frontier despite the security issues related to its location in such a sensitive part of the country.