Eitan Steinberg & Etty BenZaken
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 in more than 15 languages spoken by Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze. Modalius’ programs celebrate the many identities in Israel’s culture and at the same time show how we all share common characteristics. Our artistic mode is also a social mode, a bridging human mode.
Modalius’ multi-stylistic concerts combine Avant guard with folklore and tradition. Each program is an original one, in which all the arrangements are composed by the award winning composer Eitan Steinberg. We also perform music composed especially for us by Israeli composers.
The unique color of Modalius derives from its' unusual instrumentation and from the versatile abilities of its’ members: Etty BenZaken – an acclaimed voice artist who perform contemporary works as well as ethnic music; Sarig Sela – a recorder player who is an expert in European Early music; Orit Messer-Jacobi – who plays the baroque cello and is also a conductor of youth orchestras; Tal Feder – a double bass player renown in the Jazz and popular music scene; Oded Shoub – a renown classic guitar player; and Amnon Yoel – who plays a verity of drums and ethnic percussions. The composer, arranger and conductor is Eitan Steinberg, who often joins also as flutist, percussionist or accordion player. These core ensemble members are occasionally joined by visiting musicians on the Arabic violin and lute.
3 CDs performed by Modalius Ensemble are now available:
""JOY" - a source of joy!" - Israel's daily Ha'aretz, 2017 the full CD review (Hebrew) >>
"Exciting to the ear, pleasing to the heart" - Israel's daily Ha'aretz, 2015 the full review (Hebrew) >>
"A major role in the Festival played the multi-cultural singer Etty BenZaken, who radiated her charming personality with ensemble Modalius conducted by Eitan Steinberg, in a rich program" - Ministry of Culture’s summery of Israeli Music Festival, 2014
Excerpts from Eitan Steinberg’s project “Joy שמחה فرحة” were performed by Etty BenZaken also with the Boston Musica Viva Ensemble, to raved American reviews:
"Poignant! … Steinberg’s “Joy” caught the inner working of the human spirit at its most exuberant … The piece, a recent project by Steinberg and BenZaken for their inter-cultural ensemble Modalius, is a collection of Jewish love and wedding songs from different Euro-Asian regions"
Boston Classical Review >>
"Crowd pleasing … Steinberg’s settings of folk songs reflect the multilingual sources of Israeli culture. Rather than offering a monolithic nationalism, and avoiding saccharine sentimentality, each song is flavored with a distinctive spice"
The Art Fuse - Boston Arts Magazine >>
"Tour-de-force ... BenZaken rocked the entire assemblage in the Tsai Center!"
The Boston Musical Intelligencer >>
Etty BenZaken and Modalius: selection clip
Etty BenZaken & Modalius perform traditional wedding song of the Indian Jews. Arr.: Eitan Steinberg
Modalius perform an anonymous Italian Medieval Saltarello. Arr.: Eitan Steinberg
Etty BenZaken & Modalius perform a Palestinian wedding song. Arr.: Eitan Steinberg
Shiri Riseman: "Bauchi" performed by Modalius Ensemble
Modalius members perform "Frere Jackues" in 3 voices and 3 languages. Arr.: Eitan Steinberg
Full Youtube list:
Contemporary works composed for Modalius