News From Ramaz
The Polyphony Foundation is an Israeli organization that strives to "bridge the divide" between Jewish and Palestinian youth through classical music. The organization, which offers sophisticated levels of musical training to motivated Israeli teens, works to foster relationships between Jewish and Arab young adults. The organization strives to make them realize that neither religion nor nationality separates them.
A string quartet from Polyphony visited Ramaz for a workshop and performance. The entire student body as well as all faculty members were invited to attend an open rehearsal, where they practiced performing complex classical pieces of music in an informal setting.
Student instrumentalists were specifically asked to participate by Oded Lev-Ari, the Upper School Band and Chamber Music Ensemble Director. These students engaged with the musicians and made music with them. Students from Band, Choir, and Chamber Music Ensemble watched as the string quartet rehearsed Mendelssohn's String Quartet No. 3, followed by providing comments on ways that they can improve.
Some of the students even had the opportunity to perform with Polyphony. A group of student pianists performed an excerpt from Haydn's Piano Trio I with the group. The Chamber Music Ensemble also performed Tarantella by William Henry Squire and obtained constructive criticism from the leader with suggestions on how they could develop.
The Upper School Choir sang the song Glorious with Polyphony, a song which they had sung themselves at the Annual Dinner as well as with Polyphony during their recent trip to Israel in February. Throughout the program, Mr. Lev-Ari engaged both the Ramaz students and the Israeli teens, discussing musical techniques, that, to everyone's surprise, were extremely similar!
The program allowed them realize how much they had in common and could learn from one another. It served as a wonderful learning experience for the Ramaz instrumentalists and singers and was a means of sharing experiences with musically-inclined students from another country.
-Zachary B. '20