Astrith Baltsan

Astrith Baltsan (Hebrew: אסתרית בלצן) is an Israeli concert pianist and musicologist, known for her Beethoven interpretation and her unique concert style reaching out for larger audiences worldwide.[1]

Astrith Baltsan
אסתרית בלצן
A woman standing in her house, next to a piano
Baltsan at the piano at home in Tel Aviv
Background information
Born (1956-10-24) October 24, 1956 (age 66)
Occupation(s)Pianist, lecturer, musicologist



Baltsan was born in Tel Aviv in 1956. Her mother, Dr. Rozelia Ruth Garti (1925–1999) was a pediatrician who came to Israel from Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1949.[2] Her father Hayim Baltsan (1910–2002), a journalist and author, was the founder of ITIM (news agency) news agency and author of the Webster's New World Hebrew Dictionary.[3][4]


Baltsan began studying music at the age of 8. She won the America Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship and graduated with honors from Tel Aviv University with both BA and MA in piano and musicology (with Mindru Katz and Arie Vardi). She won a scholarship for graduate studies at the Juilliard School in New York, and in 1983 she graduated as a Doctor of Musical Arts (summa cum laude) in piano from the Manhattan School of Music in New York (with Artur Balsam).[4]

Career and awardsEdit

Baltsan won her first award in the 1984 Banff Concerto Competition in Canada. In 1984, Baltsan became a laureate of the Concert Artists Guild's competition NYC 1984. She performed at the Norfolk festival of Yale University, the Tanglewood Festival, the La Gesse Festival in France, the Tutzing Festival in Munich and the Ernen Chamber Festival in Switzerland.[4]

Astrith Baltsan returned to Israel in 1985 to join the faculty of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. She was a founder and music director of the Musica Nova Ensemble for new music, and recorded many original Israeli compositions dedicated especially to her.[5] She performed as pianist, editor and music director of concert series with the Israel Chamber Orchestra (1988–1996), the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (2000–2019), The Israel Festival in Jerusalem (including performances of all Beethoven Sonatas in 1987) and the New Israeli Opera.

In 1990 Baltsan started to develop her series "Classics in Personal View", in which she performs classical music masterpieces accompanied with live storytelling and explanations. The program also incorporates pop, jazz and other genre segments, and includes performances by guest artists. This series of concerts has been the largest of its type in Israel for the last 30 years.[3]

In 1996 Baltsan and her husband, Israeli composer Moshe Zorman, founded "Music Cathedra", a music college in the Enav cultural center in Tel Aviv. Music Cathedra is a recognized institute of professional development by the Israeli Ministry of Education.[6]

In 2000 Baltsan started collaborating with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta, a collaboration which continued from 2000 to 2019 including symphonic and chamber music projects and a TV series of youth concerts broadcast on Israel Channel 1, 2003–2004.[4]

Baltsan tours by herself and also as a soloist with an orchestra in Europe, the US, Canada, Central America, Australia and South Africa. Her concerts are broadcast regularly on Kan Kol Hamusica, Israel classical channel. Baltsan and Moshe Zorman have three children: Itamar, Alma and Reut. Her son, violinist Itamar Zorman was the winner of the Tchaikovsky competition in 2011.[7]


  • 1984—first prize at Banff Concerto Competition[4]
  • 1984—The Concert Artist Guild Award, NYC[4]
  • 2001—Rosenblum Prize for the Performing Arts[8]
  • 2006—Audience's Favorite prize held by Yediot Ahronot[4]
  • 2007—Minister of Culture Prize for Music Performers[9]
  • 2008—Landau Prize held by Mifal HaPayis[10]


  1. ^ "Pianist explores Hatikvah's origins". Vicky Tobianah, CJN.
  2. ^ "Hayim Baltsan". Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  3. ^ a b "Astrith Baltsan". Ronit Seter, Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Astrith Baltsan". Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
  5. ^ "Psanterin". Israel Composer League.
  6. ^ "Profile of Astrith Baltsan". Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  7. ^ "Tchaikovsky Competition prizewinner, Itamar Zorman". Chamber Soloists of Detroit.
  8. ^ "Winners of the Rosenblum Prize for the Performing Arts" (PDF) (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality.
  9. ^ "זוכי פרסי שר המדע התרבות והספורט למבצעי מוסיקה בישראל" [2007 Minister of Culture Prize winners] (in Hebrew). e-mago.
  10. ^ "הוכרזו הזוכים בפרס לנדאו" [2008 Landau Prize Winners Announcement]. Habama (in Hebrew).

External linksEdit