Eitan Steinberg & Etty BenZaken

Modalius Ensemble


""Joy" album of the Israeli ensemble "Modalius", directed by Etty BenZaken & Eitan Steinberg, presents multi-culturalism - in Israel and in general - as a source of true pleasure!" - Ha'aretz, 2017  The full review (in Hebrew) >>

Modalius Ensemble is a classic-ethnic group that brings together prominent Israeli musicians, each specializes in a different musical style—from Middle Eastern ethnic music to contemporary concert music, from Early music to Jazz. The ensemble creates an inter-cultural discourse through research and performance of ethnic music from various communities in Israel. At the same time we enthusiastically perform contemporary compositions created especially for us. The ensemble was founded and is directed by the acclaimed Israeli artistic couple vocalist Etty BenZaken & composer Eitan Steinberg and is supported in part by the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Modalius’ vision is to bridge the common separations between ‘ethnic’ ‘classical’ and ‘contemporary’ music. With a thorough research, Modalius preserves and revives folk and traditional music from the many ethnic communities in Israel. Modalius’ programs celebrate the many identities in Israel’s culture and at the same time show how we all share common characteristics. The ensemble's performances of contemporary pieces makes new music accesible and understandable, without compromising on virtuoso performance. Modalius' artistic mode is a bridging cultural mode, of quality and depth.

3 CDs performed by Modalius Ensemble are now available:

Video examples

Eitan Steinberg's "Spinning" composed for Modalius

Etty BenZaken & Modalius perform a Palestinian wedding song. Arr.: Eitan Steinberg

Modalius perform an anonymous Italian Medieval Saltarello. Arr.: Eitan Steinberg

For many more videos with Modalius, visit the  Video Library >>

Main projects:

Whole World

Music & Video Works (2020)

The video: the project’s trailer.

This project includes 6 video art works, each of them was created as a dialogue between a video artist and a composer, and the music in all of them was composed especially for the voice of Etty BenZaken and the playing of the Modalius Ensemble. Each piece offers a personal interpretation of the title "Whole World," and the significant dialogue between visuals and music sets the six works as a unique interdisciplinary project.

The works and the artists:

Physis - Meirav Heiman, Ayelet Carmi (video), Yuval Shay-El (music)

Erased World - Ben Hagari (video), Liran Yuzbegi (music)

A Gate of Creation - Liron Barchat (video), Talya Eliav (music)

Reflections - Eshkar Galili (video), Hagay Keshet-Matarasso (music)

Incantation - Etty BenZaken (video), Eitan Steinberg (music)

What You Need to Know - Yaara Nirel (video), Ronnie Reshef (music)

Liberty, Otherness, Responsibility

Works by Israeli Composers (2016)

The video excerpt: “A Parable” by Hagar Kadima – one of the works composed for Modalius as part of this project. The “Liberty, Otherness, Responsibility” project (in Hebrew these three words derive from the same lingual root: Herut, Aherut, Ahrayut) brought together a diverse group of eight composers, who composed music for Modalius, referring to the project's title. The works became part of the ensemble's ongoing repertoire.

The works and the composers: 

Ido Akov - "The Panther's Skin" (text by Shota Rustaveli) 

Guy Ben-Tov - "Va'Yissa Meshallo Va'Yomar" (text by Yehuda Elharizi)

Hagar Kadima - "Parable" (text by Wislawa Szymborska) 

Uri Netanel - "Africa" (text by Uri Netanel)

Shiri Riseman - "Bauchi" (text by Italo Kalvino)

Yuval Shay-El - "And you are to love those who are foreigners" (texts from the bible, the Koran and the New Testament)

Sara Shoham - "Identity Issues" (text by Yona Wallach)

Eitan Steinberg - "Spinning" (text by Ronit Matalon) 

Free listening & Digital purchase of the project's CD >>

The Interdisciplinary Series

Collaboration Concerts (2016-2019)

The video excerpt: Etty BenZaken's work, after a text by Israeli author Ronit Matalon. The Interdisciplinary Concert Series of Modalius Ensemble is a unique series in which each concert is a creative dialogue with a guest musician or artist. Among the guests: lute player Ophira Zakai, butoh dancer Maya Dunsky, Jazz pianist Anat Fort, and beloved Israeli author Ronit Matalon: during 2016-17 the ensemble was privileged to collaborate with her in four concerts, before her untimely death on December 2017. 

Joy  שמחה  فرحه

Multi-Stylistic Program (2014)

The video: the project's clip.

"Joy" is Modalius’ debut program, which is still successfully performed. It is a multi-lingual celebration of medieval European music, contemporary concert pieces, and many arrangements of folk songs in Hebrew, Arabic, Yiddish, Ladino, Hekitiya, Malayalam, Juhuri and Russian - weaved together by composer Eitan Steinberg, especially for the ensemble's virtuous abilities.  

Free listening & digital purchase of the project's CD >>


Eitan Steinberg & Etty BenZaken

Composer-Conductor & Vocalist, Artistic directors

Eitan Steinberg and Etty BenZaken are known for their collaborations in contemporary music, ethnic music, and music-theater projects. Steinberg is the recipient of the Israeli ACUM Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2014); Landau Prize (2010) and Israel's Prime Minister's Composition Award (2007, 2018). Etty BenZaken frequently performs his music as well as other contemporary works composed for her voice, along with ethnic music in an array of languages. She is an active interdisciplinary artist in the fields of literature, music, theater and visual arts, and the recipient of Rosenblum Prize for Outstanding Artists (2018).

Sarig Sela

Recorders player

Sarig Sela graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music, and earned additional B.A. in Mathematics and Computer Science at the Ben-Gurion University. He studied medieval music at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Musicology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is an active soloist of Early, classical and contemporary music.

Orit Messer-Jacobi


Orit Messer-Jacobi received her B.Mus. from the Rubin Academy at Tel Aviv University, and mastered in baroque violoncello studies in Italy. She is the principal cellist of The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, and is active also as a conductor of youth orchestras and chamber music instructor. Her playing is featured on Sony Classic, Stradivarius, Arcana and Accord label.

Tal Feder

Double bass player

Tal Feder graduated in Music from University of Haifa, earned his Ph.D. in Sociology there, and is an alumnus of Haifa Youth Symphony. He performs in Israel and abroad as part of various Jazz and ethnic ensembles, and is featured as instrumentalist, composer and arranger in many Jazz and Israeli music CDs.

Oded Shoub


Oded Shoub graduated from the Tel-Aviv Academy of Music, and for 12 consecutive years has won scholarships from the America-Israel cultural fund. He plays classical and contemporary music as a soloist and in ensembles, and has performed the two guitar concerti by Rodrigo with the Israeli Chamber Orchestra. He is an appreciated teacher of classical guitar, and five of his pupils won the Israeli army position "Excellent Musician".

Amnon Yoel


Amnon Yoel performs with classical, Jazz and ethnic ensembles, using improvisations and exploring the sound possibilities. He holds a B.A. in music from the University of Haifa, and a teaching certificate in Special Education from Haifa's Gordon College. He invests most of his time teaching music to people with special needs—mentally retarded people and people with CP.

© Eitan Steinberg & Etty BenZaken | Last updated: April 2021 | Site design: Dina Konson