Performance Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Sivan Magen

Weill Recital Hall
Jerusalem-born harpist Sivan Magen has been praised for his “unheard of depth of colors, range of expression, and rhetorical flow” (American Record Guide). The first Israeli to win his country’s prestigious International Harp Contest, Magen brings his tremendous talent to Weill Recital Hall for a program that features the world premiere of a new work by Sean Shepherd, commissioned by Carnegie Hall.

This concert is part of Salon Encores. The contemporary work on this program is part of My Time, My Music.


  • Sivan Magen, Harp


  • C.P.E. BACH Fantasia in E-flat Major, Wq 58/6 (trans. Sivan Magen)
  • BRAHMS Intermezzo in A Minor, Op. 116, No. 2 (trans. Sivan Magen)
  • BRAHMS Intermezzo in E Major, Op. 116, No. 4 (trans. Sivan Magen)
  • SEAN SHEPHERD ribboned / braided / spun (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • BACH JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 903 (trans.Sivan Magen)
  • M. TOURNIER Sonatine, Op. 30
  • DEBUSSY "La soirée dans Grenade" from Estampes (arr. Sivan Magen)
  • DEBUSSY "Jardins sous la pluie" from Estampes (arr. Sivan Magen)
  • SANCAN Theme and Variations

  • Encore:
  • E. WALTER-KÜHNE Fantasy on Themes from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Sivan Magen

    Widely acknowledged for bringing a unique voice to his instrument, Sivan Magen transforms the harp into an expressive, colorful, and virtuosic instrument, moving it to center stage through the exploration of the standard repertoire, the commissioning of today's composers, and his new adaptations to the harp of some of the greatest music of the last three centuries.

    The only Israeli to have won The International Harp Contest in Israel, Mr. Magen has also won the Pro Musicis International Award and a 2012 award from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. He has appeared as a soloist across the US and in South America, Europe, and Israel, in venues such as Wigmore Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and the Vienna Konzerthaus. He has also performed with such orchestras as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Vienna Chamber Orchestra.

    An avid chamber musician, Mr. Magen has performed at the Marlboro, Kuhmo, Giverny, and Jerusalem International Chamber Music festivals, as well as with Musicians from Marlboro, Nobuko Imai, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Gary Hoffman, Emmanuel Pahud, Susanna Phillips, and members of the Guarneri and Juilliard quartets. He is a founding member of the award-winning Israeli Chamber Project and of the trio Tre Voci with flutist Marina Piccinini and violist Kim Kashkashian.

    In 2013, Mr. Magen released the solo album Fantasien on Linn Records, and in 2014, he will release a second CD for that label as well as a recording with Tre Voci for ECM. In previous seasons, he has released a recording with the Israeli Chamber Project for Azica as well as an all-Britten CD with tenor Nicholas Phan for Avie, which was listed in The New York Times as one of the best recordings of 2012.

    Born in Jerusalem, Mr. Magen studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. He continued his studies with Germaine Lorenzini in France and then joined Isabelle Moretti's harp class at the Paris Conservatoire, from which he graduated with a Premier prix du Conservatoire. He has also completed a master's degree as a student of Nancy Allen at The Juilliard School. He currently resides in New York City.

    More Info


C.P.E. Bach's Fantasie in E-flat Major, Wq 58/6
Sivan Magen, Harp
Linn Records

In the Artist's Own Words

The first part of my program explores the expressive abilities of the harp through various transformations of the free form of the fantasy, while the second part explores the French sound of the harp by juxtaposing music written in Paris at the beginning of the 20th and 21st centuries, with music by Pierre Sancan bridging the gap. Sean Shepherd’s new fantasy, ribboned / braided / spun, connects the two halves of the program. Unlike the other fantasies, however, it was written specifically for the harp. And Sean, while staying true to his very personal language, is also a product of the history of Western music, in which the sound of the harp is traditionally French.

What is French about Sean’s writing? It is not his melodic or harmonic languages, which are very much his own; rather, it is his sensitivity to the nature of the instrument. Music for the harp, like much of the greatest French music, is concerned above all with color and resonance. These two qualities are intrinsic to the music of Claude Debussy and Marcel Tournier, who wrote roughly a century ago, and they are also central to the language of contemporary composer Bruno Mantovani, who revels in taking them to extremes.

At first glance, color and resonance may not seem to be primary ingredients in the works of the three German masters that I have transcribed for the first half of the program. But seen through the lens of the harp, it is color and resonance that shape the great structures of tension and release on which the expressive language of these masterpieces is built.

—Sivan Magen

Program Notes
Distinctive Debuts is supported, in part, by endowment gifts from The Lizabeth and Frank Newman Charitable Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
This performance is part of Distinctive Debuts.

Part of