GENEVA (Jan. 15)
Avraham Confort, an Israeli concert violinist, has become the first foreign recipient of the Recognition Prize awarded annually by the Swiss city of Wintherthur for outstanding contributions to the city in the field of art.
Confort, 55, has been first violinist of the Wintherthur Symphony Orchestra for 20 years and has performed concerts throughout Europe and the United States. He has also been active in the Lucerne Music Festival and has taught at the Academy in Basel.
Confort was born in Bulgaria in 1931 and came to Israel in 1948 where he lived at Kibbutz Ein-Gev. He began to study the violin at the age of 15, relatively late for a major concert musician. During his military service he played in the Israel Defense Force Symphony Orchestra. He was one of the founders of the Ramat Gan Orchestra and was first violinist with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra.
He first visited Switzerland in 1963, playing in Lausanne. He joined the Wintherthur Symphony Orchestra in 1965. The orchestra itself, founded in 1629, is one of the oldest in Europe. The newspaper Neuzuricher Tzeitung commented that it was symbolic that the first foreigner to win the Wintherthur Prize “belongs to the most ancient nation in the world.”