The Hawaii Performing Arts Festival will present celebrated cellist Ofra Harnoy on October 7 at 2 pm at the UH-Hilo Performing Arts Center along with HPAF Artistic Director Val Underwood on piano. Special guest will be Ignace “Iggy” Jang, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra concertmaster. Works by Vivaldi, Saint Saens, and The Beatles are on the program.
Born in Israel, now residing in Toronto, Ofra Harnoy is the recipient of five Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys. She burst on to the world stage at the age of 15, studied with cello greats, then performed with orchestras and artists worldwide for many years. Along the way, however, she suffered a devastating shoulder injury caused by overuse. “Once I got immersed in the music, I didn’t listen to my body,” she recalls. “I was pushing myself beyond the physical demands. I should have known more about how to preserve my shoulder, preserve my health. There was no education when I was going to school about how to maintain your health and your physical endurance…When I finally had an MRI they didn’t understand how I could even use my arm because every single tendon was shredded.” She eventually needed surgery. A single child herself, she wanted a family, and bore two children. She then took time off to care for her ailing mother.
Now Ofra Harnoy is returning to the world stage in a long-awaited comeback that will include Hawaii. In addition to the Hilo performance, a house concert in Kohala Ranch will take place on Tuesday. October 9 at 7 pm. She plays a 100-year-old Hell cello from France.
Of Val Underwood, Ms. Harnoy states, “Val and I met in 1984 in Santa Barbara at the world premiere of the Bliss concertos. [Note: Arthur Bliss was a mid-20th century British composer] We hit it off and worked well together. There are few musicians that click with you as an intuitive musician. Val was one. He’s easy to work with.”
After Ms. Harnoy’s appearances in Hawaii, she’ll return to Canada for her official comeback concert, set to take place November 17 in Toronto. The elaborate production will include gospel choir, orchestra, and musical guests.
Iggy Jang, arguably the most beloved classical musician in Hawaii today, is the concertmaster for the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, performs in festivals and orchestras worldwide, and directed a string program for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.
Val Underwood co-founded the festival in 2005 and has served as Artistic Director since then. Now approaching its 15th season, HPAF has become one of the world’s preeminent classical and musical theater organizations. Each July its annual performance program offers opera, chamber music, and musical theater programs in seven different venues across Hawaii Island.
If You Go
Ofra Harnoy, October 7 at 2 pm at the UH-Hilo Performing Arts Center along with HPAF Artistic Director Val Underwood on piano.
In addition to the Hilo performance, a house concert in Kohala Ranch will take place on Tuesday, October 9 at 7 pm.
Admission: Tickets for the UH-Hilo concert are $25, $20 for seniors, $10 for children and students. Tickets for the Kohala Ranch performance are $85, including champagne and dessert.
Information: For information and tickets, visit www.HawaiiPerformingArtsFestival.org or call 808-333-7378.
Photos courtesey of HPAF