• May 6, 2024

Jacob Reuven

Jacob Reuven

Jacob Reuven 1000 667 Welcome to Kingston Chamber Music Festival | Kingston Chamber Music Festival

We’re looking forward to our summer festival! Over the next few weeks, we’ll introduce each artist performing in our 36th season. Mandolinist Jacob Reuven will play on Sunday, July 28th at 4:00pm.

One of the most sought-after virtuosos of his instrument, the scope of Reuven’s musical horizons encompass everything from baroque to contemporary music. Celebrated for his exuberance and technical mastery, he mastered the interpretations of repertoire for solo violin–becoming the first mandolin player to ever perform violin repertoire on a mandolin with an Israeli orchestra.

Reuven has been actively involved with the repertoire for our July 28th concert – from planning selections to arranging pieces to performing at the concert. For example, he has long enjoyed Grecian composer Victor Kioulaphides’s Quartet for Mandolin and String Trio. When considering the repertoire for the KCMF program, Reuven wrote to the composer–who is also a mandolin player–and asked if it could be reworked for a quartet. Kioulaphides accepted and wrote a Quintet for Mandolin and String Quartet. It will be performed for the first time on July 28th. 

Reuven is writing the arrangement for Turkish composer Masud Jamil’s Sama’i Nahwand for Mandolin, Guitar and Strings, a piece he will also play in. “This is one of the most important compositions in the Arab world, and to listen to it played inside a classical ensemble is super rare,” he says. “It’s a very unique program and I’m really proud we could put it out.”

Get to know Jacob!

Q. How do you handle nerves before performing?
A. Playing in front of an audience does not come naturally to me, so in order to perform comfortably, I have learned over the years how to prepare myself for a concert. This is a complex topic, but I will give some general tips: it is very important to practice the musical material in different forms. When you know how to sing your role–or write it–it is less stressful to go on stage. It is very important to learn the physical way to the stage and the stage itself before the concert. I always ask for time alone on stage before a concert and I practice walking from the artist’s room to the stage, so that everything feels familiar to me in real time. And a warm-up is everything, including meditation before a concert.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?
-More time with my son and my partner
-Recording Bach’s partitas and sonatas
-A caravan trip of several months
-More yoga everyday
-To develop my bread baking skills, an art I learned from a person I love very much

What do you always bring with you when you travel?
The book of Bach’s partitas and sonatas, sonnets of Eugène Ysaÿe, caprices by Paganini, and replaceable strings

What are the top three songs on your personal playlist?
1). Mozart’s Requiem
2). Anything with Nina Simone
3). Mariza’s Gente Da Minha Terra 

Favorite quote/personal life motto:
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

What is a little known fact about you?
I don’t often smile in pictures. In general I am much more full of humor and lightness than the character that comes out on stage or in videos and pictures!

Best advice you have ever received:
There are two important decisions in life:
1). Work on a daily basis – something that even if they stop paying you, you will continue to do
2).  Find a partner who understands number one

What’s your favorite type of food?
My parents are from a family that immigrated to Israel from Iraq. Kubba is a traditional dish from Iraq – it is a semolina ball filled with meat, vegetables, and rice. There are many types, but of course I really like my mother’s!

What piece of music never fails to move you?
Hebrew songs by the creator Esther Ofarim, an Israeli singer who recorded the best Israeli songs in the 70’s and 80’s and I got to know her music through my father.

“Music takes you whole. It doesn’t operate in time constraints, evaluations or progress frameworks. For a truly excellent performance, you have to feel so well-grounded in your technique that you can allow for an exploration of yourself in each moment and be ready for fresh tensions to reveal themselves, retouching and evolving the way you play. If you give your whole, your audience can easily connect with you and join you on the journey, creating a truly transcendental experience.”
— JACOB REUVEN