“Songful and sensitive, with festive exuberance”
The New York Times
At age twelve Israela Margalit played a piano recital on the Jerusalem Radio, which generated invitations to concerts throughout Israel that she played on weekends while attending school and the Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv. She went to Paris and Munich for further studies, where Mr. Winderstein, a major German music agent, discovered her and launched her international career. She was warmly received by the press (“A pearl on the radio” Helmut Lesch Muenchner Abendzeiting, “A phenomenal pianist, with breathtaking virtuosity and extraordinary musicality” Zuercher Tages-Anzeiger), and her career blossomed. Her years of struggle and her big break inspired the early scenes of her play First Prize. She played solo recitals and chamber music, and appeared as a soloist with leading orchestras, among which the Berlin Radio Orchestra, where she was engaged by Artistic Director Lorin Maazel to open the season in four subscription concerts. Two years later they got married, continued to tour together and apart, and had two children.
Struggling to balance her career with motherhood, she took a five-year sabbatical to care for her small children, which she described in her story “Only a Nurse” (published by Lilith.) Later she returned to the concert stage, represented by Doug Sheldon of Columbia Artists Management, who helped her adjust her schedule to prioritize her role as a single mother. In addition to concert touring she has recorded for major labels such as EMI, Chandos and Decca. She created “Music and More,” a popular series of concerts combining music and talk, which she presented in New York, London, Frankfurt and Munich. She presided over the Charlie Parker, Music and More Competition for minority talent, and presented a series of educational concerts for school children in Harlem.
Throughout her career she has toured in the USA, England, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Holland France, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Israel, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. She has appeared as a soloist with most of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the American Big Five of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebau Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the French National Orchestra, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Her repertoire of twenty-seven concertos for piano and orchestra has included works by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendellsohn, Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, Saint-Seans, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofieff, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, and Schnittke.
She has served as a judge of international piano competitions, including the Concours Margaret Long, Paris, the Three Rivers International Piano Competition, Pittsburgh, the Robert Cassadessus International Piano Competition, Cleveland, the National Scholarship Foundation, Cincinnati, Councours International de Piano, Montreal, Young Concert Artists International Auditions, New York, and the Julliard School Piano Competition Finals, New York.
“Her playing was not of the merely spectacular variety; it was a performance which showed her complete realization of the work. An exciting interpretation in all respects, a contemporary and vivid encounter with Brahms.”
(Brahms Piano Concerto # 1, with the Berlin Radio Orchestra)
“She presented herself as a Mozart interpreter of the highest class. Her playing was of the finest, most colorful and subtle quality. She created poetry on the piano, with mellowness and sweetness of sound and with intimacy that brought to us a Mozart in his most profound self.”
(Mozart Concerto in D major, the Coronation, with
the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)
“Songful and sensitive, with technical finesse and festive exuberance”
(A piano recital, Schubert, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Kabalevsky,
Alice Tully Hall, New York)
The New York Times
“She brought beyond a keen understanding of style, an intensity and a flair for the dramatic that added the impact of a personality both dramatic and delicate. A poetic nature that she made apparent at every opportunity by color and nuance.”
(Haydn Piano Concerto in D major, Strauss Burlesque with
the New York Philharmonic Orchestra).
New York Post
“We were transfixed from the first note. She is a true musician of the sort that grasps the music in full embrace, extracting from it its very essence.”
(Piano recital, Bach, Schumann, Debussy, Salle Gaveau, Paris)
“Concentrating on pearl-like brilliance, she mastered all the dreaded jumps at sharp tempo, and presented the sudden contrasts with poise and light elegance. She was an ideal interpreter for this piece.
(Prokofieff Piano Concerto # 3 with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra)
“Beautifully poised, she performed the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 with classical restraint. She produced a deep tone for melodic line. She shaped thematic materials and shaded dynamics expressively.”
(Mozart Concerto in C minor with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra)
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Her fingers can withstand cruel and unusual punishment and still fly about the keyboard with the greatest of ease charging through the fierce demands of the Prokofieff’s Sixth Sonata as thought it were a beginner’s exercise. There were numerous other traits to admire in her playing. Exceptionally graceful phrasing. A magical moment.
(A piano recital, Bach, Schumann, Prokofieff,
the Terrace Theater, Washington DC)
The Washington Post
“The young pianist achieved fantastic success. She proved herself as a pianist of the highest order. One rarely finds an artist capable of such an ecstatic vision who can still retain the necessary discipline.
(Brahms Piano Concerto # 1, Berlin Radio Orchestra)
“She is a pianist with a big technique, capable of enormous musical sensitivity. A performance that was fluent and exciting. With poignant majesty”
(An all Beethoven piano recital, Alice Tully Hall, New York)
The Star Ledger