Shaden Nahra (Ayoub), 19 years old, began his musical studies at the age of seven with the teacher Sophia Shenkin at the Rubin Conservatory in Haifa. He has participated in many solo, orchestra and chamber concerts, and has taken master classes with violinists Hagai Shaham, Miriam Frid, Ani Schnarch, Mila Feldman and Sergey Ostrovsky. Since 2003 he has attended the Keshet Eilon seminars regularly and was chosen to play as a soloist many times. Shaden is the recipient of scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Ilona Feher Foundation. In the fall of 2007 he traveled along with the conservatory’s orchestra to Mannheim, Germany. He has competed in two violin competitions, one in Tel-Aviv and one in Haifa, for which he won the first place. He currently studies with Hagai Shaham at the Buchman Mehta School of Music. Sahden has been with Polyphony for over a year playing in the scholar-in-residence seminars and he also teaches younger children at the Polyphony Conservatory.
Hallel Tutter, 17 years old, started her violin studies at the age of ten and a half and has been studying under Prof. Michael Gaisler at Hassadna Conservatory. She has participated in several master classes with: Miriam Fried, Theodora Garets, Yonatan Berick , Michaela Martin and more. Hallel takes part in the David Goldman Program for Outstanding Young Musicians in the Mishkanot Centre of Music in Jerusalem. As part of the program she plays with the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and a few chamber music groups. Hallel participated in summer courses in Israel and in Italy and has also performed in concerts throughout Israel. In 2011 and 2012, she toured London with the Hassadna Orchestra and also played at the homes of Murray Perahia and Florian Lenhard. Hallel is a recipient of scholarships from the Varon Foundation and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. Hallel joined Polyphony’s chamber music programs this year.
Mahdi Saadi, 18 years old, is from Nazareth and began studying the cello at age 10 with Jonathan Gotlibovich at the Polyphony Conservatory in Nazareth. He performs regularly in both chamber music and orchestral concerts in Nazareth, Europe and the U.S. Mahdi has played with many prestigious groups including the Andalucía Orchestra in Spain, the Cyprus Youth Orchestra, and with Polyphony in Israel and in the U.S. He currently studies cello at Buchman Mehta Music Academy with Professor Hillel Zori. Mahdi is a recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship and is grateful to AICF which generously loans him a 1928 C.G. Stewart cello.
Yoav Yatskan, 18 years old, from Jerusalem has been playing viola for four years. He studies at the Hassdna Conservatory under Michael Gaisler. He is a member of the Hassdna Conservatory’s Chamber Orchestra and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. He is also a four-time recipient of the American-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship. Yoav has previously performed in London with a string quartet from Hassdna. Yoav has participated in Polyphony’s scholar-in-residence seminar and youth orchestra. This is his first tour of the United States with Polyphony.
Ibrahim Boulos, 14 years old, was born in Nazareth and began studying violin at the age of six with Nabeel Abboud Ashkar at the Polyphony Conservatory in Nazareth. He currently studies with Shai Glick. Between 2008 and 2011, Ibrahim performed with the Andalusia Orchestra in Spain conducted Daniel Barenboim. He has also toured the U.S. with a Polyphony mixed ensemble and joined the Saint Niklaas Orchestra and the Polyphony Youth Orchestra. Ibrahim has participated in master classes with world-renowned violinists such as Meriam Frid, Giora Schmidt, and others. He received the America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship award and takes part in the David Goldman Program for Outstanding Young Musicians at the Mishkanot Centre of Music in Jerusalem.
Alya Lavy, 14 years old, from Tel Aviv has been playing violin since she was seven. She started with a group led by maestro Gad Lev and continued to study under the supervision of Eliana Lovenberg in Aharon Alkalay's conservatory in Qiryat Ono. Alya performed as a soloist with the Qiryat Ono Conservatory Orchestra on other local occasions and gatherings. This is her first tour of the United States with Polyphony.
Nada Awabdy, 13 years old, has played cello for 4 years. She has participated in workshops in Ramalla and Nazareth, attended a music summer camp in Italy, and participated in a music workshops in Osnerbruck, Germany and Saint Niklaas, Belgium.
Roi Shoen Guttman, 15 years old, lives in Kibutz HaSolelim and has played the viola for two years and previously played the violin for three years. He has studied at the Israeli Art and Science Academy under Zvi Carmeli for almost five years. Between the years 2010 to 2012, Roi played in the string orchestra of the Jezreel Valley Music Center which won 2nd place in the Summa Cum Laude festival in Vienna in 2012. Roi has also participated in the Jerusalem Music Center’s David Goldman Program and Young Strings Program for gifted players. In June 2013, he received the prestigious America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship for viola, and in October 2013, he participated in the winter course of the Young Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Nabeel Abboud Ashkar, Polyphony Co-Founder and Executive Director of Programs, was born in Nazareth and began studying the violin at age 8 with Nahum Lieberman in Nazareth, and then with Robert Canetti in Haifa. He graduated from Tel Aviv University in both physics and music, studying violin under Semyon Yaroshevich and Yair Kless. In 2007 he completed his master’s degree at the Hochschule fur Musik, Rostock, Germany, under Professor Axel Wilczok. A member of the West-Eastern Divan orchestra, Nabeel founded and ran the Barenboim-Said Music Conservatory in Nazareth in 2006. He Co-Founded the Polyphony Foundation in 2011 and established the Galilee Chamber Orchestra through Polyphony in 2012. Nabeel has performed as a soloist with the Jerusalem Camerata and the Haifa Symphony orchestras. In 2012, Nabeel received the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts, as well as an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Washington College, for his work with Polyphony.
Naama Neuman currently teaches at the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv in addition to teaching at the Polyphony Conservatory. She is an accomplished flutist who has played with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra in Israel; the Kormische Oper Berlin, Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal, and Georgische Kammerorchester in Germany; and Teatro alla Scala in Italy. She won 2nd prize in the Haifa international Flute Competition, as well as the Solo Competition and at Woodwinds Competition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music. Naama has studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Israel, and under Prof. Davide Formisano at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart and under Prof. Moshe Aron Eptstein at Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, Germany. She is a recipient of the Buchmann-Mehta Orchestral Performance Excellency Program Scholarship and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship for music performance.
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