Lior Kaminetsky

Lior Kaminetsky has a wide ranging repertoire, which includes classical and Jewish music, as well as Klezmer. His compositions fuse traditional melodies with exciting improvisation and vocals. Lior’s unique performances reflect the breadth of his musicianship – virtuosity as a performer and originality as an arranger and composer. AICF caught up with Lior to learn more about his passion for music and about his life dreams.

1) What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?
My father was a professional cantor while we, the 4 sons, used to sing solos and serve as his choir since a very early age. My mother was the musical engine as she was sorry that she was never encouraged to play an instrument when she was young and it was important for her that we will. Having a piano at our home was extremely important for her, even more than what other may consider as basics. I asked to play the violin when I was 6 years old but I do not remember why. I just remember my teacher saying – “do you know that playing the violin is really difficult? I answered – yes. Are you sure you want to play it? It requires much of investment? I answered yes with no doubt. At the 5th grade I started working with avi Abramovitch and he asked me – Are you taking it as a hobby or profession? I answered as a profession and he was thrilled to hear that.

2) What was was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
I always think outside of the box; what may moves me and gives me a reason to live, as well as what can I do to develop my career and get to the place I want to be at. It’s not really about being famous, it’s more about being recognized and appreciated so I could simply do what ever I love to do and to be able to support myself and my family using my talent. I got to where I am with my bare hands.

3) What do I need as an artist today?
No matter how good or independent you are, this world is not for single people. My success is thanks to many people and organizations, definitely not myself only. In order to succeed and have progress the artist needs to believe in himself and do much of the job by himself. Every performance requires research, contacting the organization, booking musicians, signing a contract, publicity and so on and it’s a lot of work for one person. At this point, I feel that it’s time for me to move on and actually let the professionals do their job, taking care of all the logistics and letting me to concentrate on my music and creativity only. I feel that there is still so much to do and it simply too much for me to take care of. If you read this article right now and have any recommendations or suggestions for a professional booking agency and management company please let me know because that’s what I really need now! Thanks in advance for your time and thinking of me.

4) What creative project are you working on now?
My wife and I have moved about 2 months ago to Israel while knowing that I would need to continue to travel in concert tours around the world every once in a while. I am currently back in Los Angeles, away from my family for a special theatrical show, based on the famed Jewish author from the 19th century, named I.L Peretz. Actor Matt Chait brings 7 of Peretz’s stories to life and I come in and out with musical interludes, all chosen carefully according to the text and mood of the stories. It’s a beautiful show, which got great reviews in the LA times, LA weekly and others. Highly recommended if you are in the Los Angeles area.

5) Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years?
After 5 years living in California while completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at USC and establishing a professional career as an artist, my wife and I have decided to move back to Israel. Moving back was not an easy decision, especially since LA has opened its arms and welcomed us with warmness but we are happy to be back home. As I have a wife and 2 children I feel that it’s time for me now, to find a stable position in Israel which will go hand to hand with my creativity. Such a position may be a professor at a University, director of a conservatory or even perhaps a cultural ambassador, representing Israel around the world. Anything possible as long as this position encourages the growth of my creativity rather than narrowing it down. The charm of my violin may open doors and be a blessing not only for me, but for the institution and environment as well. I wish to read this article in 10 years and see that I found a place that has allowed me to develop my career; the right balance between my family, my job and my artistic life. I hope to read this article and see that I still live my dream of waking up in the morning with curiosity and with good reason to be fully love my life in this world.

6) What does it mean to you to be an Israeli artist?
Israel and Judaism have always been part of what I do. As a classical musician this part does not necessarily need to come up too often in performances, but it actually comes up as an integral part of my shows. I feel very Israeli and Jewish and it comes up naturally when I play or lecture. In fact, this is an important factor in my success. People around the world, especially in America, are curious to hear and learn about the culture. My performances allow them to be and feel connected with something that often is not so handy where they live. The Idaho State Journal called me a “cultural ambassador,” which I think is right. I love the informal talks at the end of my shows as they allow me not only to express myself, but receive feedback from the audience about the impact of my performances.

7) What does it mean to you to have an organization like AICF available in the art world?
I was lucky enough to be supported by this beautiful organization in the past and I appreciate it very much. I remember as a kid that even when I wasn’t lucky enough to win a scholarship it still encouraged me to practice and improve my playing, knowing that I have something important to prepare me for. In Judaism there is a concept which often exists in the music world as well – “Learning for the sake of learning,” which may be translated in the music world into “making music for the sake of music.”  I find competitions and concerts very useful as encouraging elements to aim for; giving the feeling that there is a down to earth reason for you to practice, especially at a younger age. Organization like AICF not only supports artistic students financially, but encourages and increases the level of Israeli creativity. We must have it for the sake of everyone.

Lior Kaminetsky