Gala Concert with the Israeli Symphony Orchestra – 60th Anniversary of the International Harp Contest in Israel
The International Harp Contest in Israel, the first competition in the world to be held for the harp, was launched in 1959 by A.Z. Propes. Mr. Propes, also founder of the International Festival of Choirs and the International Music Festival, dreamed to bring gifted young artists to Israel to experience the rich cultural experience of Israel.
When he discovered that there was no International Harp Contest for Harp existing in the world, Mr. Propes chose the harp, the instrument so closely identified with King David, for his project, marking the 10th anniversary of the State of Israel. The harp’s origins are indeed in the Middle East. Ancient harps, over 3000 years old, were found in Iraq (the ancient Mesopotamia), in Egypt and in Megiddo, in ancient Israel. The modern harp and Israel have become synonymous. He has succeeded to place Israel in the hearts of harpists and other musicians from around the world.
Propes invited leading harpists from around the globe to serve as members of the First International Jury. To this day, the International Jury is made up of harpists and musicians of world fame.
The Contest has also encouraged composition for the harp. It commissions an Israeli work for each contest. The Propes Prize is awarded for its best performance.