SPCO names new Principal Timpanist
November 2, 2009
St. Paul, Minn. —
Michael Israelievitch is 26 years old. For the last three years, he has held a principal timpani "job" in a training orchestra - one of the best - the New World Symphony in Miami.
It's a fairly long trial, but by the end, the orchestra really knows you and I also get a real feel for the organization. It's a pretty good system that they have.
- Michael Israelievitch
After an intensive audition process that included not only playing timpani, but a whole array of percussion instruments plus giving a full solo recital that included playing with members of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Michael will now take off his training wheels and begin a new post in the big time.
Michael's been surrounded by music since the womb. His mom is a harpist and his dad, Jacques Israelievitch, is concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony and was a longtime concertmaster with the St. Louis Symphonies as well as assistant concertmaster in Chicago under Sir Georg Solti.
Michael's musical heroes may include James Levine, Simon Rattle, and Michael Tilson Thomas, but high on the list is his dad. The two play together regularly, recording and commissioning new music for their unusual ensemble of 'hammer and bow.'
Michael Israelievitch begins his new position with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra today and tells us a bit about the scrutiny he was under when applying for the job.
Michael Israelievitch: Still in his mid-20's, percussionist Michael Israelievitch has already been hailed by the New York Times as an artist of "infectious charisma" and by the Toronto Star as a "very stylish and subtle musician." A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. Israelievitch received degrees from Julliard and Boston University and has most recently performed as Principal Timpanist of the New World Symphony. Michael and his father, violinist Jacques Israelievitch perform together and have commissioned dozens of works by leading composers. They released their first commercial recording in 2006, "Hammer and Bow."