Israela Margalit is a critically-acclaimed concert pianist, recording artist, playwright, television writer, and published author of short fiction and creative non-fiction, with awards or honors in all categories, including Best CD, the British Music Industry Awards, an Emmy nomination, and a Gold Medal, the New York Film & Television Festival. As a pianist she was hailed by the press as “An interpreter of the highest class” Der Tegesspiegel Berlin, “A phenomenal pianist” Zuercher Tages-Anzeiger, a performer of “Festive Exuberance” The New York Times, and “Tremendous” Gramophone. Her work as a writer and playwright has been described as “Superb” by People Magazine, “Engaging” by The New York Times, and “Superlative” by The Washington Post.
An internationally renowned concert pianist, Israela Margalit has appeared as a soloist with most of the world’s greatest orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the American Big Five of the New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia orchestras. She has recorded with major orchestras, and as piano soloist and chamber music collaborator for EMI, Chandos, Universal, Decca, Koch International, Black Box, and Telarc, including the celebrated Anglo-American 20th Century Chamber Music seven-CD series with the soloists of the London Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, the Brahms 1st Piano Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Schumann piano concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 and Schnittke Concerto No. 2 with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. Her recordings have won Best CD at the British Music Industry Awards, and were selected as a Gramophone Editor’s Choice. She has appeared in concerts in Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East and the Far East.
She has written television specials for ZDF, ARD, Transel and Deutsche-Welle, Germany, Arts & Entertainment and PBS. She has also served as a Script Consultant for Columbia TriStar, and developed a 100-episode primetime series about Pushkin for Russia Channel 1 and Russia Word Studios. Her television shows, including a celebrated series with Sir Peter Ustinov, have been shown in more than twenty countries, and received an Emmy nomination, a Gold Medal at the New York Film & TV Festival, two NEA Media Awards, and a Certificate of Merit (Finalist) at the Long Island Film Festival.
As a playwright she has written both dramas and comedies. Her plays Night Blooming Jasmine, Trio, Get Me a Guy, 3 O’clock in Brooklyn, and First Prize, were produced in New York, Los Angeles, Moscow and Hungary to critical acclaim. Playwriting awards include Best Production at the New York MITF, Outstanding Play Honorary Mention at the New York 15-minute play Festival, and an Ovation-Recommendation in LA. In 2016 she became a published author of short fiction, and since then many of her short stories and personal essays have been published in various magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom, some of them short-listed or selected as finalists of distinguished competitions.
She serves on the board of the Lark Theater, the international board of trustees of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, the Advisory Board of The Fire This Time emerging black playwrights festival, and the council of the 92nd Street Y Tish Center for the Arts. She is the founding President of Music and More, a non-profit organization devoted to bringing classical music to inner city school children and other audience, the founding Artistic Director of Moonlight Theatre Productions, and of politiKos, New York’s Political Theater Festival.
Israela Margalit is a proud mother of two children, and a loving grandmother of four girls: Calypso and Sahara Maazel, Indigo Margalit Maazel, and Ruby Sims. Her son Ilann Maazel is a civil rights lawyer, a recorded pianist and a MUT International Competition First Prize winner for his musical, Believe Me. Her daughter, Fiona Maazel, is a Guggenheim Fellow, and an award-winning novelist. Her books include Last, Last Chance, Woke Up Lonely, and A Little More Human (National Book Award 5-under 35, Bard Fiction Award). Her daughter-in-law, Priya Wadhera, is Associate Professor of French at Adelphi University, and the author of Original Copies in Georges Perec and Andy Warhol. Her stepdaughter, Stacie Rauch, is a chef, specializing in rustic Mediterranean and vegan food.
Israela was born in Haifa, Israel, to parents of Russian origins. Her grandfather Haim-Baruch owned the first Jewish hotel in old Jaffa, which was the subject of the play, “Kineret” by Israel’s foremost poet, Nathan Alterman. She has previously resided in Haifa, Tel-Aviv, Paris, London, Munich, Berlin, Cleveland, and Los Angeles, and currently lives in New York City.
She began to give concerts at age twelve, studied in Hareali School in Haifa, received her first two major degrees from the Tel-Aviv Academy of Music, and continued her music education in the Ecole Normal de Musique in Paris and the Musikhochschule in Munich. There she was discovered by top German agent Winderstein who launched her international career. After the birth of her second child she took five years off touring, studied political science, literature and philosophy at Case Western Reserve, began to write professionally, and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Lake Eerie College. She speaks Hebrew, English, French and German, and writes in English.