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Shmuel Elbaz / Chief conductor of the Andalusian Orchestra, Be?er Sheva

? Estimated number of books: 400

? Main genres: Biography, professional literature on music, musical scores, Jewish history

? Languages: Hebrew, English

? Method of organization: ?I try to organize alphabetically, but it never stays that way?

? Lending policy: ?Nobody who has borrowed books from me has ever returned them, so there?s no one left to lend to.?

? Most recent purchase: ??Hapaytan, hashatkan vemesaper hasipurim? ?(?The Poet, the Silent One and the Story Teller??), by Asher Knafo, chairman of the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra and one of the pioneers of the revival of Andalusian vocal music. I come from the world of classical Arab music, but I?m interested in the culture and sources of inspiration of Andalusian music. Also Zubin Mehta?s ?The Score of My Life: Memories.? I had an opportunity to work with him when I performed as a mandolin soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, so I was curious about how he turned music into such a tremendous life achievement. Another book I bought recently was ?The Shadow of the Wind,? by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.?

? Oldest book in the library: ??Pninim Mishirat Ha?olam? ?(?Pearls of World Poetry??), an anthology published by Gilah Uriel in 1963. When I was a kid, I found it next to the garbage and felt sorry for it. I read it and fell in love.?

? Most expensive book ever purchased: ??The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians,? in 20 volumes that weigh a ton. I bought it on sale in Holland, and dragged it home to Israel in my suitcase.?

? Unable to finish: ?Natan Dunevich?s ?Maestro.??

? Closest to line of work: ??Harmony and Voice Leading,? by Schachter and Aldwell. After reading this book, I switched from playing music to orchestration and arrangements. It taught me how to transform music from enjoyment into an active career. It changed something in me and offered insights that opened up the world of music for me.?

? Favorite books: ?Scores for orchestral music, which I pore over whenever I have free time.?

? Books most frequently reread: ?Books that document and analyze Israel?s wars; books by people who have fought in wars and tell their personal stories, like Moshe Givati?s ?Shalosh ledot beseptember? [?Three Births in September?] and Mati Shavit?s ?Arik min hatzanhanim? [?Arik: The Commander?s Commando?].

? Most cherished dedication: ?A personal dedication by the playwright Hanoch Levin on the cover of the script of ?Ashkava? [?Requiem?]. I had the great fortune of working with Levin toward the end of his life. I performed the wonderful music Yossi Ben-Nun wrote for the play. Levin?s handwriting is totally illegible, so I?m still trying to decipher what he wrote. I have another special dedication from Nathan Yonatan. After we performed together at an evening devoted to his poetry, he inscribed his book 'Shirim Be?ahava' ['Poems with Love'] with the words: 'To Shmulik, who thrilled us with his strings. With thanks, Nathan Yonatan.'"