Teenage Israeli-symphony Band Wins Top Award in International Festival

The symphony band from Kiryat Ono, a suburb of Tel Aviv, made its first trip to the United States a resounding success Friday night when it won the top award in the International Youth Band Festival here. Thirty-three bands from 22 states and nine countries competed in the three day musical festival.

The Israeli group, composed of 50 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 20, were awarded the top prize on the basis of musicianship in the symphony competition, the highest of three categories. They played “Symphonia Noblissima.” by Jaeger; “Hebrew Suite,” by Petrushka, and the “Slavonic Dances,” by Dvorak.

The teenagers, who have been in the U.S. since July 12, warmed up for their competition by playing 11 concerts, including one last week at Mt. Rushmore and another at the Centennial celebration in Rapid City, S.D. The latter concert also marked the 51st birthday of the symphony’s founder and director, Aharon Alkalay.

From here the band will perform a series of concerts sponsored by B’nai B’rith at Winnipeg and Carberry, Manitoba; Chicago, Toledo, Baltimore, New York and in front of the White House in Washington. The band, which has won international competitions in Britain, Austria and the Netherlands, was formed in 1961 by Alkalay when he was a teacher at Kiryat Ono’s elementary school. He founded the city’s conservatory a few years later.

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