Israela Margalit is a critically-acclaimed concert pianist, recording artist, playwright, television writer, and author of short fiction and creative nonfiction, with awards or honors in all categories, including Best CD, the British Music Industry Awards, an Emmy nomination, a Gold Medal, the New York Film & Television Festival, Finalist the Long Island Film Festival, Finalist the Tennessee Williams Festival Contest. As a pianist she was hailed by the press as “An interpreter of the highest class” Der Tagesspiegel Berlin, “A phenomenal pianist” Zuercher Tages-Anzeiger, and a performer of “Festive Exuberance” The New York Times. Her work as a writer and playwright has been described as “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 and the American Big Five of the New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia orchestras. She has recorded with major orchestras as well as as a piano soloist and chamber music collaborator for EMI, Chandos, Universal, Decca, Koch International, Black Box, and Telarc, including the celebrated Brahms 1st piano concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Schumann piano concerto and the Saint-Seans concerto No. 2 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shostakovich concerto No. 1 and Schnittke concerto No. 2 with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, and the award-winning Anglo-American 20th Century Chamber Music CD series with the soloists of the London Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. 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.
Israela Margalit has written award-winning television specials for ZDF, ARD, Transel and Deutsche-Welle, Germany, Arts & Entertainment and PBS. She has served as a Script Consultant for Columbia TriStar, and developed a 100-episode prime time 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 critically-acclaimed dramas and comedies. Her plays Night Blooming Jasmine, Get Me a Guy, 3 O’clock in Brooklyn, and First Prize, were produced in New York. Her play Trio was premiered in Moscow in a Russian translation, and played throughout Russia and the Ukraine for seven years. Trio had an Ovation-recommended production in Los Angeles, and an award-winning production in Hungary. Get Me a Guy won Best Production at the New York MITF, and got nominated for Outstanding Writing. Her short play, On the Bench, won Outstanding Play Honorary Mention at the New York 15-minute play Festival.
In 2016 she became a published author of short fiction and nonfiction, and since then many of her short stories and personal essays have been published in lit magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom. Her story “Drenched” was a Finalist at the Tennessee Williams 2018 Festival Contest, and the Scribes Valley Publishing Short Story Competition. Her story “California King Size” was a Finalist at the Glimmer Train Press Short Story Competition. Her story “Too Much” was a runner-up at the R.H. Cunningham Memorial Short Story Competition. Her story “A Whorehouse in Munich” was nominated to the PEN Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Her nonfiction story “Only a Nurse” was shortlisted at the Tuliptree Review Contest “Stories that need to be told.”
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.
FAMILY and EDUCATION
Israela Margalit is a proud mother of two children. 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).
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 Erie College. She speaks Hebrew, English, French and German, and writes in English.