MIRA ZAKAI, Biography

 

Professor Mira Zakai teaches voice and Lied & Oratoria repertoire at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music,Tel Aviv University. She is known world-wide for her many appearances with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra,with the Israeli Opera,with the Berlin Philharmonic [conducted by Abbado, Solti, Menuhin], with the New York Philharmonic orch. [Mehta, Leinsdorf] the orchestras of Chicago, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Zurich, Vienna, Montreal, Toronto, Washington under the batons of prominent conductors Kubelik, Solti, Mehta, Levin, Barenboim, Abbado, Bertini, Berio ,Davis, Mahta, Comissione, Eschenbach, Korboz, Giulini and many more.

Sir Yehudi Menuhin chose her to be the only soloist in a special concert for Pope John Paul II - an event which took place at Castel Gandolfo - to sing Bach's aria "Have mercy oh God" [Erbarme dich mein Gott] with him playing the violin obligato part.this concert was telecast world-wide. An acclaimed recitalist - Miss Zakai performed in the leading European and American cities as well as in her own country. Her Lieder Recitals took her to New york [Alice Tully Hall] to Paris to Amsterdam to Berlin, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Moskva, St. Peterburg, Bruxells, Antwerpen, Montreal, Glasgow, where she also made her international opera debut with Scottish Opera altrnating performances with Dame Janet Baker as Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. Her diverse repertoire encompasses roles ranging from Prince Orlovsky to Ulrica and Erda.

Zakai's many recordings include Mahler's Resurrection Symphony with Chicago and Solty [which won a "Grammy" award]. "Boris Gudonov" and "War and Peace" with Rostropovitz. "Moses and Ahron" with Solti and Chicago,"Midnight Vigil" [M. Seter] with Bertini and the IPO as well as many solo recitals -- Israeli Songs, Ladino songs, a collection of songs by poets who perished in the Holocoust - composed by Norbert Glansberg,the famous chansoniere[for Beth Hatfutsot]. A recital of songs by Schumann Ravel Honneger Werfel Sevenent [ed. R Gaii - Belgium]. For Koch int. She recorded a recital of Mahler,Webern,Berg songs with the pianist Jonathan Zak -- joined for Ravels" Chancones Madecasses" and Handels "Mi Palpita il Core"-- by M. Haran , A. Biron and Shalev Ad El.

For her special contribution to Israeli music she received the Composers and Playwrights association award [ACUM]. In 1990 Zakai won the Arts and Culture Council prize for best performance of Israeli compositions. In honour of Israel's 50th anniversary she received a special award for her dedication,contribution,inspiration and performance of Israeli contemporary music from the minister of culture and education.

 

 

 

"Rich timbre, superlative musicianship, wonderful dramatic projection, radiantly exspressive"
The New York Times

"A Glorious contralto"
New York Post

"One can only praise her wonderful voice and musicality."
Le Monde, Paris

"Mira Zakai was the real discovery of the evening."
Orpheus, Berlin

"The hall was packed for her canadian debut. Her contralto is almost unique for its power,for the evenness of its character and for its flexibility."
The Montreal Gazette