European Association for Jewish Culture 



  2006 Grant recipients' biographical notes 

Performing arts: new works for the stage

David Grinberg (Barcelona, Spain) studied Film and Television at Tel Aviv University and taught film directing at the Spanish-American University in Mexico. He co-directed an Israeli-Mexican-Polish documentary film Life Will Continue. His theatre company, Pro Modo de la Bulema, stages plays dealing with Jewish life in Mexico. His new play The Messiah to be staged at the Estudis de Teatre in Barcelona, will deal with Jewish history in the 20th century by introducing Biblical characters into the key events of the last century in Poland, Russia and Spain.


Pawel Passini (Wroclaw, Poland) is a graduate of the Warsaw Theatre Academy. In recent years he collaborated with the Centre for Theatre Research in Gardzienice where he was influenced by their avant-garde practice. Passini directed an adaptation of Iphigenia in Aulis by Euripides, Crime by Witold Gombrowicz at the City Theatre in Gdynia, The Curse by Stanislaw Wyspianski at the Kochanowskiego Theatre in Opole. His adaptation of Dybbuk staged at Theatre Nowy in Poznan received critical acclaim. Passini was also awarded the main prize of the 29th Theatre Confrontation Festival in Opole. His new project in collaboration with Karolina Szykierska, Baggage of Franz K, is an experimental adaptation of Remigiusz Grzela’s book, which explores Kafka’s fascination with Yiddish theatre and its influence on his work. It will be staged at Teatr Polski in Wroclaw.


Stefan Sablic (Belgrade, Serbia) studied at the University of Dramatic Art in Belgrade, the University of Tel Aviv, and the Reanot Institute for Jewish Music in Jerusalem. He is a pianist, singer and composer who has researched and recorded the musical traditions of the Balkans. He is also a theatre director, who has staged five plays in Belgrade. His new project, in collaboration with the choreographer Boris Cakshiran, will be a contemporary version of Isaac Samokovlija’s play on the nature of prejudice, The Blonde Jewish Girl.


Isabelle Starkier (Paris, France) is a theatre director. Her theatre training began with Daniel Mesguich, and continued at Quartiers d'Ivry under the direction of Antoine Vitez and later Philippe Adrien. In 1985, she created the Star Theatre Company, which is devoted to the staging of new plays on contemporary political and social issues as well as new adaptations of the clasics. After two shows of feminist comedy, she directed plays by Joshua Sobol, Brecht, Marivaux, Feydeau and Pirandello and a new production of The Merchant of Venice. Her new project Kafka’s Bal by Timothy Daly follows in the tradition of Yiddish theatre and reveals an extravagant universe alternating dream and reality, assimilation and the search for identity.


Leah Thorn (London, UK) is a performance poet appearing in theatres, poetry venues and festivals nationally and internationally. Her writing has been anthologised in publications in England and the USA. She has received numerous awards, her poetry for very young children was featured on the television programme Rainbow Days and her poem Real Jews was featured on the promotional sweatshirt for the 1999 San Francisco Film Festival. See, Safe, her project supported by the EAJC is an exploration of multiple layers of contemporary Jewish identity through poetry and story-telling, in collaboration with the musician Yanif Fridel, electronic artist Moshikop and director Jessica Higgs. It will be produced by the In Tandem Theatre Company in London and on tour including at the Jewish Museum in Prague.


Michelene Wandor (London, UK) is a widely published writer as well as a broadcaster, theatre historian and accomplished musician, who performs Renaissance and Baroque music with her early music group The Siena Ensemble. With degrees from Cambridge and Essex universities and from Trinity College, London, she has taught at the Guildhall School of Drama, London, London Metropolitan University and universities abroad. She has received many awards and nominations particularly for her radio dramatisations. The Music of the Prophets, her project supported by the EAJC, celebrates the return of the Jews to England in the 17th century and will be performed at St Olav’s Church, London and the London Jewish Cultural Centre.


Andrea Wesfreid (Paris, France) trained in classical and contemporary dance at the Conservatoire National Regional de Boulogne, the Centre National de la Danse and with renowned dance teachers.  She has performed with Bruno Genty and Alfred Alerte companies and at the festivals Cour de Capucins and Nous n’irons pas a Avignon. She has also performed with  the Jeune Danse Europeenne, Martin Kravitz, and Natacha Kantor. She has danced her solo choreographies at the festival Greg in Barcelona, at the Theatre de l’Ermitage and Regard du Cygne in Paris.  Wesfreid’s new choreography, Méditations judéo-physiques, will explore Jewish memory and identity taking its inspiration from the book of Zakhor and the music of Prokofiev’s Ouverture on Hebrew Themes.

Performing arts: music composition

Alexander Balanescu (London, UK) has trained at the Special School for Music, Bucharest, the Rubin Academy, Jerusalem, Trinity College, London and the Julliard School, New York. He was a member of the Arditti Quartet from 1983 – 1987, before forming the Balanescu Quartet. He has contributed to the many different fields of classical, jazz, electronic, folk and pop music, collaborating with filmmakers, choreographers, theatre directors and pop musicians. Second Breath is a mixed media installation/performance based on the personal experience of the sculptor Maurice Blik as a child of the Holocaust. It will be shown at The Place, London, the Imperial War Museum, Duxford and London, and there are plans for touring in Romania.

Alon Burshtein (Florence, Italy) is a composer who studied at the Paris Conservatory and the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. His work has been performed at festivals and music seasons in Europe, Israel and the United States. He has composed 15 film soundtracks and was awarded the best soundtrack prize at the Haifa International Film Festival in 2003. Burshtein’s new composition Images will be performed and recorded live on CD; it is inspired by the Children of Israel’s exile and Diaspora experience. The premiere of Images will be performed by the Filarmonica G. Rossini in Florence.


Ferenc Javori (Budapest, Hungary) graduated from the Music Academy of Ungvar (Ukraine). In 1990, he founded the Budapest Klezmer Band. The band has travelled extensively in Europe and North America. In 2000, the Pro Cultura Foundation of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences awarded the Kodaly Zoltan Cultural Prize to the Budapest Klezmer Band for promoting Yiddish musical tradition, and in August 2003 the band was awarded the Artisjus Prize. Javori’s new composition, The Wedding Dance is a klezmer musical for a six-piece orchestra. It depicts a marriage in a little village in Transylvania. It will be staged at the Budapest Operetta Theatre.


Meir Malkov (Vienna, Austria) studied composition in Vienna, where he now teaches musical theory and composition at the Vienna School of Music. Between 1994 and 2004 he composed several works for the Ra’anana City Ballet including Sole, Gysel, Alyah and Ballettissimo. An accomplished violinist, he has performed in prestigious concert venues in Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. He has been awarded several prizes, including by the Israel National Competition for Young Composers. His new composition Sephardic Fantasy will combine the multiple components of Sephardic Jewish music: from chazanut to folk chants of different traditions (Georgian, Bukharan, Italian, Balkan and Moroccan).


Richard Schmoucler (Paris, France) studied violin at the Paris Conservatoire and was awarded a first prize for violin and chamber music at the age of 19. He later studied at the Tchaikovski Conservatoire in Moscow.  On his return to Paris, he pursued his studies at the Académie de musique Sion. His awards include a grant from the Marcel Bleustein Blanchet Foundation and the prize Charles Oulmont. He has been a member of the Orchestre de Paris since 1997 and also performs with the European Camerata and the Orchestre de Chambre de Toulouse.  His composition Yiddishland is based on Roma and Yiddish traditions and will be recorded by the musicians of the Paris Opera.

Visual arts: exhibitions of new work


Monica Blok (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), was born in Uruguay and educated in Mexico and the Netherlands. In 1986 she received the Prize for Mime Performance from the Amsterdam Art Foundation and her art installations have been exhibited across the Netherlands. In 1999 she founded Stichting Simply B, a non-profit visual and performance arts organization. Israeli-born Hadas Itzkovitch (Amsterdam) is a classically-trained ballet dancer.  She has performed and choreographed performances in Israel, the UK, Germany, the USA and her installations have been exhibited all over the Netherlands. Remains of Hair, their joint project supported by the EAJC, is a four channel video-sound installation, telling the stories of four Jewish women named after the Biblical matriarchs. It will be exhibited at the Kuntur Fine Art Gallery, Amsterdam.


Gabriel Heimler (Berlin, Germany) studied art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He works in Berlin where he co-founded a group of Jewish artists Meshulash and is involved in curating arts exhibitions held in the framework of the Berlin Jewish Cultural Days. He is a former editor of the journal Golem and a member of the Association of Berlin Artists. His works have been shown in the following exhibitions: Zone D at Lauderdale House, London; Mehr Licht! At Lichtburgforum, Berlin; Kontrovers, Galerie Giesler, Berlin; Carnaval, Galerie Huis-clos, Paris. His new exhibition, Le Cycle de la Genèse, will include 24 acrylic paintings on themes from the Torah viewed from the perspective of contemporary Jewish history and literature.


Michail Molochnikov (Berlin, Germany) is a graduate of the Moscow Architectural College and a member of the International Federation of Art. His drawings and calligraphy works have been widely exhibited in Russia and Germany: the International Art Fair, Moscow; Central House of Artists, Moscow; The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg; the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; International Kunstfestival, Magdeburg; Love and Wings, Galerie Belabush, Berlin Paradies, Bunker Alexanderplatz; Between Text and Image, the NCCA, Moscow. His works on the Hebrew alphabet 22, to be shown at Gad Gallery in Berlin, will combine silk-screen printing and drawing and will be accompanied by a text on the mystical values of each letter.


Zvonimir Palanski (Nis, Serbia) is a sculptor and professor of literature, whose work in both areas is concerned with Jewish texts. His art works have been shown at many exhibitions: the Annual Exhibition of the Association of Fine Artists, Applied Artists and Designers, Nis; the International Biennale of Miniature, Kiksic; Menorah, Culture Centre, Nis and Meerscheinschloss, Graz.  The exhibition of his new works at the Students Cultural Centre in Nis, entitled Menorah, the Light of the Truth, will include 60 sculptures in iron.


Abraham Pincas (Paris, France) is a graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he teaches painting techniques.  His work has been shown in many group exhibitions such as the Exhibition of Bulgarian Artists in Paris, Jewish Art and Representation, Paris and the Nelson Mandela Unity Series in Davos. Solo exhibitions in recent years were held at Galerie Zafira, Paris ; Tian Jin, China; Mishkenot Shaananim, Jerusalem ; Spertus College of Judaica, Chicago and Platt Art Gallery, Los Angeles. Coats of Light, Coats of Skin will  consist of ten mantles made of felt and silk, and will be shown at Musée Galliera, Espace Culturel Bulgare, Paris.


Judy Price (London, UK) has degrees from the University of Greenwich, the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins College of Art and Design. She is a lecturer in photography and video at Kingston University. Her project, Blind Spot, which will be exhibited at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, is an installation using lens-based media, photography,video and sound and archive footage to explore questions of memory, identity, loss and un-belonging.


Adam Vackar (Prague, Czech Republic) has studied in Tokyo, Prague and Paris with residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts. His recent solo exhibitions, Body and Soul, Nouveaux Riches and the Greenhouse Effect, were shown in Paris and Prague. In 1999, he explored the subject of Jewish identity and endurance when he made a site-specific installation in Terezin Concentration Camp. His work has been also been exhibited in Japan and Cambodia. Open Source, his EAJC-supported project, will be an art installation in the former synagogue Na Palmovce in Prague, a building badly damaged during the Communist regime. It will be exhibited as part of the Contemporary Art Festival in Prague, May-June 2006.



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