In 2020, the Orchestra looks forward to a July performance at Israel’s Kfar Bloom Music Festival as well as its North American debut in December. The Orchestra has also received invitations to perform in Brussels, Hannover, and Lyon in 2021.
The Galilee Chamber Orchestra is supported by grants from the U.S.-based Polyphony Foundation, the Russell Berrie Foundation, the Louis L. Borick Foundation, and generous individual donors. In Israel, the Orchestra is a program of Polyphony Education and is supported by funding from Yad Hanadiv, the Israeli Ministry of Culture, and dedicated individual donors.
Saleem Ashkar made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 22 and has since established an international career. Recent and future concerto highlights include the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the St Louis, Vancouver and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestras. He has also performed with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre National de Lyon and on a three week tour to Australia. Saleem has a close relationship with many leading conductors including David Afkham, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Chailly, Jakub Hrůša, Pietari Inkinen, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Kazushi Ono and Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider.
A dedicated recitalist and chamber musician, Saleem has a particularly strong reputation as a Beethoven specialist and has recently performed a complete Sonata cycle in Prague, Duisburg and at the Konzerthaus Berlin. This season, he will perform a series of recitals in Copenhagen and Milan exploring the early, middle and late sonatas of Beethoven alongside works by other composers influenced by him. Additional recent and future recital appearances include the Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls in London, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, and Musikverein Vienna.
Saleem is Artistic Director of the Galilee Chamber Orchestra, comprised of students and young professionals to encourage collaboration between Arab and Jewish communities in Israel. Saleem works with them as both conductor and soloist. Recent engagements have included the Orchestra’s European debut in Germany. He is also a co-founder of the Al-Farabi Music Academy in Berlin, an organization whose work brings young people access to a musical education.
Saleem can most recently be heard on Decca Records, performing the Mendelssohn Piano Concertos with the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Chailly, and two Beethoven Concertos with the NDR Elbphilharmonie and Ivor Bolton. Saleem is also recording the complete Beethoven Piano Sonata cycle for Decca, the first three discs of which are already released.
— Mais Hreish, flutist, Polyphony Alumna, and Galilee Orchestra member