Music Through Time - A spirited musical journey through the past centuries
An interview with Jonathan Ofir
Jonathan Ofir, 30 years of age, is an Israeli living in Denmark with his wife
and two children. He studied music in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam, plays the violin
and specialises in Baroque music. In 2001 he began Trio Phoenix, a new classical
music endeavour, working alongside Katrin Waldraff Deichert (flute and vocals)
and Peter Moldovany (piano), both from Germany.
We asked Jonathan about the work Trio Phoenix is doing.
Passion is timeless
Music clearly reflects the period of history in which it is composed. One of
the things that we do in Trio Phoenix is to try to rediscover the significance
of these different periods and reflect the development that has gone on in the
We play the works of some of the great composers across different periods in
history, as an example, Bach who composed in the Baroque period or Beethoven
who composed in the Classical period. When we are able to capture the spirit,
inspiration and passion of the time when these were composed the research becomes
alive. It is no longer a historic replay, but a celebration of the best in the
past joining with the best in the present. It is a meeting point where the years
in between vanish and we are able to enjoy the music and marry it with the experience
of it in ourselves today.
The actual spirit of the music
"How do you create an experience for concert goers who do not have the
same experience with music as you each have in Trio Phoenix"?
One of the first things we do in a concert is encourage the audience to listen
to oneself listening to the music. When classical music is performed today,
the main focus of the audience can tend to be on the technical aspects, how
well it is performed, how accurate it is to the composer's original intention.
It seems to me that too much emphasis is placed upon this and not enough upon
guaranteeing the spirit and feeling of the time in which it was composed! Mozart,
as an example, used to encourage improvisation of the soloist within the cadences.
Today it is very rare that anyone improvises in classical music, but we try
to bring this element into our performances and when Katrin is playing a Mozart
andante, she will improvise the cadence.
we do not guarantee technical perfection in our concerts, but I believe that
our attempt to be more free and spontaneous in Trio Phoenix brings us closer
to the actual feeling of the music. We want our concerts to be an experience
where the audience walks out enriched and perhaps having felt things that people
three hundred years ago also felt, and to know this. The deeper feelings which
arise in the listener because of the music is more important than the music
Our mission is to find the value of what we already have got.
Which works do you play in your concerts and how do you select them?
We don't have a fixed programme for our two-hour concerts. We select works that
we feel have something of the spirit of their times; it might be works from
Biber, Mozart, Paganini, Bartok or Satie. We also combine it with some of our
own compositions and if we are doing a concert in Denmark, we include Danish
or Scandinavian composers such as Carl Nielsen.
Do you have an aim with Trio Phoenix?
We are trying to set new ways and standards for ourselves with our concerts.
Our mission is to find the value in our wonderful heritage and history and to
use this as a springboard into new musical discoveries.
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Trio Phoenix is part of an international music fraternity, The World Mosaic
of Sound, which seeks to promote and research new approaches in the understanding
and performance of music. Trio Phoenix has recently held concerts in Germany,
Denmark, England and Wales, with plans for further international concerts in
the Summer. Trio Phoenix is also planning to release recordings from their concerts