The community of Bellingham, WA is abuzz with excitement about the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra's new Music Director and Conductor, Yaniv Attar. Sunday, November 3, Attar led the WSO in the music of Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms. Internationally renowned violinist, Gil Shaham, joined the WSO in a performance of Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto in D. Proving that dreams do come true read Attar's story about the inspiration he's found in the life and work of Gil Shaham.
I first met Gil when I was about 15 years old, a student at the Rubin Academy of Music High School in Jerusalem. Gil came to perform with the Israel Philharmonic, and somehow our principal managed to get him to come to our high school, which was then just by the Prime Minister's house. As young musicians we all knew who he was, and I remember how excited we all were, sitting on the floor and waiting for him to come into the small choir rehearsal room of Beit Hillel on Balfour Street. Gil came in, greeted us and began to play some Bach. He played for about 15-20 minutes and we were all mesmerized by him. He then began to talk to us about his journey, moving to NY, studying at Juilliard etc. I remember coming home that day both inspired and depressed, thinking there was no way I could ever study abroad and make a life in music.
I met Gil again almost 10 years after that while I was studying at Juilliard, and a few years after that in Birmingham when I was the Assistant Conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Still, never in my mind did I imagine that one day I would share the stage with him, and last week's concert was a dream coming true. Gil is not just an incredible musician, but an amazing, genuine and generous human being. He inspired the whole orchestra to make music in the most natural way possible. This was an artistic triumph for both the orchestra and the community in Bellingham.
Yaniv Attar, Music Director and Conductor of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra