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

Etty BenZaken and Modalius: selection clip from "Joy"

Eitan Steinberg's "Spinning" composed for Modalius

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

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

Yuval Shay-El's piece, composed for Modalius 

Sara Shoham's "Identity Issues" composed for Modalius

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

Main projects:
Joy  שמחה  فرحه

Since 2014

The video excerpt: Judeo-Spanish Romanca from “Joy  שמחה  فرحه”. "Joy" is Modalius’ debut program, 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 >>

The Interdisciplinary Series

Since 2016

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.

Liberty, Otherness, Responsibility

Since 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: Ido Akov: "The Panther's Skin" (text by Shota Rustaveli, in Georgian and Hebrew); Guy Ben-Tov: "Va'Yissa Meshallo Va'Yomar" (text by Yehuda Elharizi, in Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic); Hagar Kadima: "Parable" (text by Wislawa Szymborska, in Hebrew); Uri Netanel: "Africa" (text by Uri Netanel, in Gibrish and Hebrew); Shiri Riseman: "Bauchi" (text by Italo Kalvino, in Hebrew); Yuval Shay-El: "And you are to love those who are foreigners" (texts from the bible, the Koran and the New Testament, in Hebrew); Sara Shoham: "Identity Issues" (text by Yona Wallach, in Hebrew and Arabic); Eitan Steinberg: "Spinning" (text by Ronit Matalon, in Hebrew). 

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

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Eitan Steinberg and Etty BenZaken

Composer-Conductor & Vocalist

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 addistional 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.

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.

Orit Messer-Jacobi

Cellist 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​

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.

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© Eitan Steinberg & Etty BenZaken | Last updated September 2020 | Site design: Dina Konson