Departures / Arrivals: A Musical Trio Arrives From Strasbourg, and Soon-to-be IDF Soldiers Fly to Cyprus

After performing in Geneva and Switzerland, Marie, Aurelien and Julien are joining up with their Israeli friends for several concerts around the country.

Marie Le Chez, Aurelien Lamorlette and Julien Wurtz

Excuse me, what’s in the bag?

Wurtz: Trumpets! We are musicians.

Have you come to Israel to perform?

Wurtz: We are here for two weeks. It’s a combined trip: a vacation in Israel and we will also play concerts. Orlian and I play the trumpet with three Israeli friends who live here. We have a brass quintet called Franswissrael.

Le Chez: And I am Julien’s girlfriend. I just came for a holiday of nine days.

Wurtz: She plays the harp, which is a bit tricky to get into a suitcase.

Where did you meet?

Wurtz: I know Alon Stoler [who plays trombone], who is picking us up at the airport, from Geneva. We were students together at the institute of music in Geneva, and we became friends. Aurelien studied at the conservatory in Paris. The Israelis know each other from youth orchestras in Israel. Gal Raviv, our female trumpeter, is studying and teaching in Berlin, and the tuba player, Noam Nehemya, actually lives in Israel.

Is this a one-time event?

We already performed together in Geneva and Switzerland. Last year we performed in Israel, and it was so nice that we wanted to do it again. We played in Jerusalem, Kfar Sava, Tel Aviv, Harduf and at the tent-camp protest. But that was only me; Aurelien hasn’t been here yet.

What was nice?

I liked the quiet of the Negev − the desert stunned me − and the Dead Sea was also very impressive. It was an excellent vacation.

Le Chez: I would like to see the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv and Nazareth. Hey, I want to see it all.

And what about you, Aurelien?

‏(He mumbles something in French.‏)

Le Chez: He says he has to have a drink in order to talk in English.

Where will you perform this year?

This year we will do a few closed concerts ‏(two of them in old-age homes‏) and there is a concert that’s open to the public at the Felicja Blumenthal Center in Tel Aviv.

What will you play in the concerts?

A lot of things. The “Candide” overture by Leonard Bernstein, an aria from Puccini’s “La Boheme,” an aria from Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” a sonatina by Bozza, the intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Mascagni. Afterward, we will play a few operatic works, adaptations of many short pieces from operas. We will also play two pieces one after the other − one very old and one very new − that will provide a picture of what happened in music in the last century.

What actually happened?

Alon Stoler ‏(not in photo‏): We will play an older work, by Gabrieli, followed by a work written by Witold Lutoslawski approximately 30 years ago. It is clear that the old work was written according to all the harmonics we are familiar with today. There is something very pure about it − it’s a bit hard to describe, you have to hear it − but in principle, music was once written less for the intellect, whereas the new music is very interesting but does not necessarily speak directly to the heart. Maybe it is like the difference between a painting by Raphael, which affects you emotionally, directly, and a painting by Dali, which is more a conversation piece.

How long do you work on a concert like this?

Wurtz: We are now doing many rehearsals, eight hours a day, for two weeks. I hope it will not end with concerts in Israel and that we will also do some concerts in France soon.

Is there a difference between the reactions of the audience?

Wurtz: The feeling here is a little warmer. In Israel people connect to you quickly. There is less distance between people, for better or worse.

Ma'ayan Hartman, Bar Shalem, Galit Kafri, Or Memi, Noam Sofer, Lee Keinan, Yael Maman and Sharon Lieberman

Hi, girls.

Everyone: Hi!

Where are you off to?

Keinan: We’re going to [Ayia] Napa, in Cyprus, for a pre-army trip.

How did the matriculation exams go?

Keinan: Depends which ones.

Which subjects did you do?

Keinan: Everyone did a different track. We did physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology. Our school is an agricultural school, so we also collected eggs and milked cows.

Are you friends from high school?

Maman: We are in the same class, at Eshel Hanassi School.

Sofer: We’re known as “the octet” in school.

Have you been abroad together before?

Keinan: Yes, in the delegation that went to Poland. But that is something else. Now we’re going for pleasure.

What do people do in Napa?

Kafri: A lot of people went to Burgas before the terrorist attack, but it’s more of a casino thing there.

Keinan: There are more attractions for men and not women. Napa is more about partying.

Memi: Napa is sea and pool. You do sea sports, riding the banana, paragliding.

Lieberman: We heard that people live it up there. Parties all day. Parties in the sea. Parties in the clubs. Foam parties. Parties on yachts. And music and alcohol.

What’s a foam party?

Keinan: A party in a closed place, where you come in a bathing suit and there is foam up to the neck and you dance in it.

Lieberman: There’s an urban legend that someone was once electrified like that in a party.

Who’s paying for the trip?

Keinan: It’s an induction present from our parents. Even though we also work. We worked until now and we will also work afterward. Baristas. Waitresses. Wow, look who’s here!

Unidentified guys: Hi, girls!

Are they flying with you, too?

No, they’re flying separately. But they are from our school, they are from Lehavim.

Will you hang out with them?

Hartman: We ignore them, don’t know them. ‏(They laugh.‏)

Lieberman: It worked out like this by accident. It wasn’t planned.

Hartman: Hanging out and talking will just be with Israelis. There are some girls who say it’s easy to mix in with tourists.

What do you mean?

Keinan: To make them think you’re into stuff. Legally blonde. But we are guarded. Closed like bunkers, relatively speaking. Good girls. It’s tourism that goes with the flow.

How will you get along with one another?

Maman: We’ll probably fight all the time. ‏(Laughs.‏)

Sofer: A group of girls is a group of snakes.

Kafri: Don’t say that.

Sofer: Why?

Shalem: Because we’ve been good friends for a long time. What’s to fight about − who gets to shower first?

What do you mean? About boys.

Keinan: There’s nothing to worry about. There’s no shortage.

From my experience, if it’s not boys then you fight about shoes.

Keinan: And besides, some of us are taken. Four of us have boyfriends. In a serious way.

And they let you go alone?

Keinan: We are going to Napa, returning home, and then we will go on a trip with them, too.

Memi: And besides, there is no cheating these days. There are pictures. Everything is uploaded to Instagram.

You all have Instagram?

Hartman: We all have Facebook. Only Yael doesn’t have Instagram.

Lieberman: Instagram is really catching on now, because you get more Likes.

Shalem: At least 30 per picture.

Kafri: The more Likes, the better. It’s an end, not a means.

Sofer: We are obsessed with photos. We brought two cameras with a memory card for 3,000 photos. We will use it all.

What are you taking with?

Sofer: About 20 bathing suits. Liters of oil. Nuts, coconut and carrot. And plenty of clothes.

Which of the octet is going into the army first?

Keinan: Bar Shalem. She will be an information noncom. She goes in as soon as we get back. The flight back lands at 10 P.M. and she is going in at 7 the next morning.

Maman: Straight to the induction center with a hangover.