European Association for Jewish Culture 

 

 

 

2007 Grant recipients' biographical notes 


Performing arts: new works for the stage

Samantha Ellis (London, UK) is a playwright on attachment to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. She is also a freelance journalist writing about theatre and dance for the Guardian, Observer, the Jewish Quarterly and the Jewish Chronicle. Her plays staged in London include Patching Havoc (Theatre 503), Use Me as Your Cardigan (Jackson's Lane Theatre), Feel the Plastic (Camden People's Theatre), Martin's Wedding (BAC) and a short play for The Miniaturists at Southwark Playhouse. Play about Hair will explore the controversies surrounding women, faith and hair-covering by telling the story of a friendship between a Hindu and a Jewish woman.  Both have given up their hair for religious reasons and both are affected by the controversies, differing opinions and misinformation that surround the issues of a woman’s hair. The play will be staged at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

 

Yulia Ginis (Novi Sad, Serbia) is an artist and theatre director. In her work she links visual theatre with movement and dance with costumes and masks. Her recent works explore the opportunities of creating modern visual theatre based on traditional Jewish texts. She received the Mayor’s of Jerusalem grant for her play ‘Mystorin’ in 2005. Synagoga is a multidisciplinary theatrical performance based on texts from the Talmud. The project was launched as the initiative of Serbian and Israeli artists; it will be performed in former synagogues in Eastern Europe which have been transformed into cultural centres.

 

Bente Kahan (Oslo, Norway) is a Norwegian actor and performing artist who trained in Tel-Aviv and New York. She began her career in the classical theatres of Habima, Israel's national theatre, and Nationaltheatret in Norway. She wrote her first monodrama Bessie in 1986. In 1990 she founded Teater Dybbuk in Oslo, which has put on amongst others, Yiddishkayt, Farewell Cracow and Voices from Theresienstadt. In 2005, Bente Kahan was appointed the director of the White Stork Synagogue, Wroclaw Center for Jewish Culture and Education. Wallstrasse 13 is a play using authentic film, photos and archival material portraying Jewish women who lived on Wallstrasse in Wroclaw/Breslau in different eras, pre-war German Breslau and post-war Polish Wroclaw.  The play will be staged by Teater Dybbuk in Wroclaw.

 

Ofri Luz (Brussels, Belgium) An Israeli choreographer and modern dancer now living in Brussels, she lived for several years in the Israeli desert which inspired her greatly, and where she founded and organised regular dance programmes and festivals. She also initiated several artistic projects with students and the local community there, which resulted in theatre productions. The project Diversity concentrates on diversity as a ‘collection of differences’ through three female dancers: one Jewish, one Canadian and one Austrian. The space, which is divided into three, symbolises the space within each dancer. The show translates into gestures the possibility of constructing bridges between each dancer’s space. The music was composed specially by Zvi Ravitz, a musician from Mitzpe Ramon.

 

Tracy-Ann Oberman (London, UK) is a television and radio actress, best known for her role in the soap opera EastEnders. In addition to her many television credits, Tracy-Ann has acted in radio drama and comedy, appearing regularly on BBC Radio 4, including the leading role in The Attractive Young Rabbi. She has also written comedy sketches and an award-winning sitcom for BBC Three, The Harrington Harker. When studying at the Moscow Arts Theatre School, she was particularly inspired by the comedy in Chekhov.  His play ‘Three Sisters’ provides the inspiration for Oberman’s new play to be written in collaboration with Diane Samuels.

 

Diane Samuels (London, UK) is a Liverpool-born playwright living in London. She is also a radio, novel and children's writer. She worked as a drama teacher in inner London secondary schools and then as an education officer at the Unicorn Theatre for children before becoming a full-time writer. Her work for the theatre includes: Frankie's Monster, Chalk Circle, Salt of the Earth, The Bonekeeper, short-listed for the W. H. Smith Awards for plays for children, and Kindertransport, co-winner of the 1992 Verity Bargate Award and winner of 1993 Meyer Whitworth Award. Diane was awarded a Science on Stage and Screen Award by the Wellcome Trust in 2001 to undertake an experimental collaboration with medical specialists to make an innovative piece of documentary theatre about the nature of pain. Three Sisters on Hope Street will be set in Liverpool and is a collaboration with Tracy-Ann Oberman which will be staged at the Hampstead Theatre, London.

 

Stéphane Valensi (Paris, France) He recently acted in plays by Patrick Haggiag, The Wild Duck by Ibsen, and Stalingrad’s Last Letters by Laurent Terzieff. He also acted in Comedy by Beckett, The High Territories by René Zahnd, which was directed by Henri Ronse with whom he participated from 2000 to 2004 in the Poets’ Caravan  in Central France. In 2003 he toured 40 schools with a presentation of an anthology of contemporary poetry.  He has collaborated with Jean Gilibert on The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky, Athalie by Racine and with Fabienne Ankaoua on Kafka’s Metamorphosis at the French Institute in Prague. He has also acted in The Fragments by Murray Schisgal by Philippe Ferran, Ruy Blas and Victor Hugo’s Lucretia Borgia by Jean Martinez. These three short plays, 74 Georgie Avenue, The Old Jew and The Peddlars by Murray Schisgal are the first to be directed by Stéphane Valensi. Since 1963, Murray Schisgal has written plays and scripts for cinema and television, until the enormous success of Tootsie, which he co-authored and which won several prizes. These plays tackle with typical New York Jewish humour the themes of continuity and discontinuity of cultural heritage. They deal in a very touching manner with the problems linked with awareness of identity, uprootedness and transmission. The play will be performed between 19 March and 15 April 2007 at the Gerard Philippe Theatre in Saint-Denis.

 

Performing arts: music composition

 

Francis Biggi (Bovisio Masciago, Italy) studied medieval history and music history in Milan and has a diploma in medieval lute from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Basle. He was a founding member of two Italian medieval music ensembles of the 1980’s: Alia Musica and Ars Italica. He has collaborated with early music ensembles in Boston, Basel, Paris, Geneva, Barcelona and Assisi as well as performing in most of the major European early music festivals and in the United States and Canada. Since 1992, he has been co-director of Milan’s Ensemble Lucidarium alongside Avery Gosfield. Their collaborative project, La Istoria de Purim io ve lo racconto: Jewish Life at the Crossroads in Renaissance Italy was performed 35 times across Europe by Ensemble Lucidarium. Their new collaboration, When Yiddish was Young, will use a variety of Renaissance and other traditional poetical and musical sources. This composition and recording will attempt to recreate musical soundscape in European countries where Yiddish was spoken. When Yiddish was Young will be performed at the Frankischer Festival, Germany, the Jewish Summer Festival, Hungary, the Jewish Museum of Bologna and Cantar di Pietre, Switzerland.

 

Daniel Biro (London, UK) grew up in France but has been living in the UK since 1985. Inspired by visual performance and electronic instruments from a young age, Biro founded the Sargasso label in the early 1990s to promote contemporary experimental and avant-garde music. His long-term collaborators include choreographer Jane Turner, singer-songwriter Orange, sound designer Mike Willox, guitarist Rob Palmer and jazz musician BB Davis. Daniel is also President of the CAMAC Art Centre in France. A Thin, Still Sound is an electro-acoustic, computer-based composition using bass clarinet and electronics proposing an imaginary representation of the kinds of sounds the Jewish people might have heard at Sinai. It will be recorded by Sargasso and performed at the Urdang Academy in London.

 

Petr Bohac (Prague, Czech Republic), Mirenka Cechova (Prague, Czech Republic)

The Voice of Anne Frank is a multi-expressional theatre project depicting the Shoah and themes of hiding oneself. Anne Frank, hope, death, intimacy, identity and the suppression of identity as a human-being are all themes explored in this production. It will be performed at the Transteatral in Prague.

 

Alexandre Brussilevski (Paris, France) was born in the Ukraine and is a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory of Music. He won a number of international prizes early on in his career (the Grand Prix at the International Prague Competition in 1969, and the Grand Prix at the Jacques Thibaud Competition in 1975). After having been prohibited from performing abroad for eight years, Brussilovsky was able to leave the USSR in 1985 and rebuilt his career in France, dividing his time between concert halls and teaching. At the same time his dream of having his own ensemble came true with the creation of Ricercata de Paris. Since 2000 he has been the principal conductor of Ensemble Del Arte in Neuburg (Germany). As an international soloist, Brussilevsky has given masterclasses in Bloomington (Indiana University) and the Summer Academies in Geneva, Nice and New York. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Suoni e Colori recording label, the international music academy Masters de Pontlevoy, the chamber music festival Les MusiCimes in Courchevel (France) and the Pont Alexandre III Festival of  French music in Moscow.  His new project which received an award by the EAJC is an anthology of 20th Century Jewish Music for the Violin. Volume 1 of this anthology will be devoted to previously unrecorded works by the contemporary Russian Jewish composer Efrem Podgaitz, who draws on popular Jewish musical themes. Volume 2 will be devoted to Weinberg, Ben Haim and Kopytman.

 

Marian Grinberg (Bucharest, Romania) studied piano, violin and composition and graduated from the Bucharest Conservatory. He also studied composition under Professor Ivan Erod at the Vienna Musik Hochshule. His composition ‘Tatashka’ was performed by the national orchestra of Romania and recorded by the national television. Grinberg devotes himself to studying three traditional styles of music: Romanian, Gypsy and Jewish. His work ‘Gipsy-Jewish Rhapsody’ has been performed at the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Wurzburg Theatre, the Salzburg Folk Festival and the Furth Summer Festival. In 2001, Grinberg won for the second time the City of Bucharest Prize for his work on traditional Romanian songs, which were performed by artists such as Christina Barbulescu, Gary Bertini, Peter Stein and Alfred Bhosic. Since 2002 he has been working in the department of traditional music in Bucharest and teaching harmony and composition at the Arad Academy. Since 2004 Grinberg has been the artistic director of the Arad Folk Music Festival. Di Naye Hagode (The New Haggada) is a musical homage to the heroism of the Jews who resisted in the Warsaw Ghetto. Based on a Yiddish epic poem by poet Itsik Fefer, The New Haggada is a dramatic oratory poem.

 

Ewa Kornecka (Krakow, Poland) grew up in Krakow and is a composer and pianist as well as co-founder and music director of cabaret Loch Camelot in Krakow. She is a lecturer at the State Theatrical Academy and has written and recorded music for over 120 shows for TV and the stage. She is a recipient of the Ministry of Culture and Art Award and since 1995 has worked at the Atelier Theatre with Andre Ochodlo. Song Above Songs is a performance planned and inspired by the poetry of eight Russian-Jewish authors who were sentenced for treason and executed under Stalin. This composition attempts to bring their poetry back to life. It will be performed at the International Meetings with Jewish Culture - My Blue at the Atelier Theatre in Sopot.


Visual arts: exhibitions of new work

 

David Breuer-Weil (London, UK) studied at Central St Martin’s Art School before he won a scholarship to Cambridge where he studied literature.  He became director of Modern Art at Sotheby's and a consultant for modern and contemporary art for de Pury & Luxembourg Art in Geneva.  Breuer-Weil has exhibited his work in London, Cambridge, New York, Tel Aviv, and Düsseldorf. Project 3 is the third part of a series of groundbreaking exhibitions. Project 1 was exhibited at the Roundhouse, Camden in 2001 and Project 2 was exhibited at the Oxo Tower Wharf, London in 2003. Project 3 is the most ambitious of the series, consisting of an installation of 50 monumentally sized paintings exploring contemporary and historical Jewish experience, culture and symbolism. Project 3 will be exhibited in a disused urban site in the heart of central London under the auspices of the Ben Uri Gallery.

 

Thomas Delohery (Limerick, Ireland) became preoccupied with the human figure in extreme situations of war and violence when he travelled to Poland and visited the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Birkenau and Stutthof. This left a profound impact on him and since then, his work has been solely concerned with the Holocaust. He has visited nearly all of the main concentration camps in Europe and he has travelled to Israel to interview survivors and do a Holocaust Educators course at Yad Vashem. He has a Masters in Fine Art from the University of Ulster and teaches art in Ceim ar Ceim, Moyross’ Probation Project in Limerick. His work has been exhibited all over Ireland, Northern Ireland, Germany and Israel. Man-Made is an exhibition of watercolour

paintings which will be shown at the Toradh Gallery, County Meath, Ireland. The opening of the exhibition will be linked to the commemoration of the Holocaust Memorial Day.

 

Marlis Glaser (Attenweiler, Germany) trained as a painter at the Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Bremen

under Professor Rolf Thiele. She taught at the Hamburg Arts Academy, and then at Bremen University.

Since 1984 she has been painting full-time. In 1984-5 she created ‘Portraits of Women of the Resistance’

in Bremen. She has had many exhibitions in Germany, Holland, France and Sweden. She carried out an art

project with schoolchildren on the theme of remembering Janusz Korczak. For her latest project, And

Abraham planted a tamarind tree, Marlis Glaser painted and designed a series of portraits of residents of

the Shavei Zion Kibbutz in Israel. These portraits are enhanced with paintings of plants. The project is the

outcome  of an exchange between the residents of Shavei Zion, a community founded in 1938 by 40 German

Jewish refugees originally from Reixingen in the Black Forest, who fled from the Nazi regime.

 

Elliott Tucker (London, UK) is a writer, filmmaker and artist. After training at Goldsmith’s Film School and receiving a Masters in Screenwriting, Elliott became a freelance educator, specializing in the Visual Arts and Religious Studies. He has directed, produced and edited The Children of the Ghetto, a feature documentary film supported by Sir Alan Sugar, Steven Berkoff and Arnold Schwartzman and Film for Humanity, Battle of Cable Street Film Project. He is currently developing new methods towards the visualisation of Hebrew text and narrative imagery. The Metaphysics of Jewish Life is a multidimensional video installation dealing with Jewish ritual, Jewish time and space, Jewish memory and life cycle. It will be performed and exhibited at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, the Congregation of Jacob Synagogue and St Hilda’s East Community Centre, London.

 


 

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