Alexander Tamir was born as Alexander Wolkovsky on 2 April 1931, in Vilnius, Lithuania. For many years Alexander Tamir has been a pivotal figure in the musical life of Israel. He is professor of piano and head of the Hephzibah Menuhin piano chair and Eden-Tamir two-piano chair at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, president of the Chopin society in Israel, Director of the Voice of Music young artists competition and Artistic Director of the the Ein Kerem Music Centre, Jerusalem. Half a century ago, he formed a piano duo with the late Bracha Eden, which became world-famous and remained active until Bracha Eden's death. The duo studied with Victor Babin and Vitya Vronsky and won the international Vercelli duo competition in Italy.
The worldwide performances and research by the Eden-Tamir Duo were instrumental in molding today’s approach to the artistry of duo pianism; their contribution to expanding duo repertoire was remarkable. Inter alia, they were responsible for introducing Lutoslawski’s Paganini Variations and, at the suggestion of Stravinsky, were the first to perform and record the two-piano version of “The Rite of Spring”. The duo's many prizes include "Grand Prix du Disque."
BrachaEden and AlexanderTamis met in 1951 as students of Prof.Alfred Schroeder at the New Jerusalem Conservatory (now the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance). Their teacher was the one who encouraged them to play together, just as Artur Schnabel had with his student-assistant Alfred Schroeder. In1955 the Eden-Tamir duo received a scholarship to participate at the Aspen Festival and study with Vronsky and Babin. Two years later they won the first prize in the Vercelli Duo Competition in Italy.
In 1958 the duo participated in "The Ed Sullivan of Israeli Stars" which was organized by Ed Sullivan, an American television star. Among the talents that participated in the show was also a 13-year-old violinist –Itzhak Perlman. From then on Eden-Tamir Duo became a success story.
More than 50 years on stage
More than 5000 performances in recitals, as soloists with orchestras, television and radio programs, festivals and concert-lectures
Israel Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Symphony , New York Phil., Mexico City Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, Orchestre Passdeloup Paris, Boston Symph.Orch.,Hamburg Radio Orchestra, Basel Symphony Orch., London Symphony Orch, Scottish National Symph.,RAI Radio Rome Symph. Orch., Athens Orchestre National, Haifa Symphony, Santa Cecilia Orch.Moscow Chamber Orchestra, NHK Tokyo, Gurzenich Orkester-Cologne . Bournemouth Symph.Orch. , Liverpool Symph.Orch., London Sinfonia, Halle Orch, Hong Kong Phil., Singapore Symph Orch.,Orquesta Filharmonica de Madrid…
Sergiu Celibidache, Paul Paray, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Adrian Boult,Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Comissiona, Mendi Roan, Yuri Ahronovitch, Gary Bertimi, Charles Munch, Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez,Sidney Harth, Boris Brott, Simon Rattle, Moshe Atzmon, Henryk Czyz, Paul Kletzki……….
Records-LPs and CDs: Decca-CRD-Hed Artzi
Complete works by Mozart
Complete works by Schubert
Complete works by Rachmaninoff
Complete works by Brahms
Brahms-The Four Symphonies
Stravinsky-The Rite of Spring
Works by: Liszt, Lutoslawski, Milhaud , Britten, Schumamm, Poulenc, Bartok, Ravel, Debussy, Beethoven... Concerti by: Bach ,Mozart, Mendelssohn, Czerny, Bartok, Poulenc, Tal Zimmerman, Milhaud…
Eden and Tamir were the first to play outside Poland the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski's "Variations on a Theme by Paganini". They were the first to play and record the "Rite of Spring" by Igor Stravinsky on two pianos - an adaptation by Alexander Tamir under the guidance and with the consent of the composer.
They were instrumental in promoting Israeli music and many works were written for them, including those by Josef Tal, Haim Alexander, A.A.Boskovich, Marc Lavry, Mark Kopitman, Karel Salmon and Ari Ben Shabtai.
The first LP record of Israeli classical music was produced in the early 60s by "Hed Arzi" with works for two pianos played by Eden and Tamir.
Their recording of Brahms' Sonata in F minor (Decca) received the Grand Prix du Disque. They recorded for the BBC the four Brahms symphonies in the original version for two pianos by the composer.
Over the years the Eden-Tamir duo participated in Israel's Independence Celebrations in the United States, Nepal, England, Thailand, Ireland and Japan. They gave fund-raising concerts for organizations and institutions, including Bnei Brit, Hadassah, WIZO, the Jewish National Fund, Alyn, and more.
They gave concerts all over Israel in kibbutzim, in remote communities and in IDF bases.
Prof.Bracha Eden and Prof.Alexander Tamir- senior faculty members of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, taught generations of students, many of them active today in music in Israel and abroad.
They contributed greatly to the development of the Academy. Bracha Eden served as the first Head of the Conservatory of the Academy and was Head of the Keyboard Department at the Academy. She also founded the International Friends Society of the Academy.
Alexander Tamir served as Dean of the Academy and as Head of the Piano Chair and the Piano Duo Chair.
In 1968 the Eden-Tamir duo founded the Music Center in Ein Karem-'Targ Center'- to enrich the music life in Jerusalem and to provide a platform for talents needing exposure. The center runs " Excellence Series of Young Artists - the future generation - broadcast on "the Voice of Music , concerts of new immigrants, concerts for the elderly and veteran Jerusalemites, producing CD's 'Jerusalem Artists' in collaboration with the Culture Department of the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry of Absorption. The Ein Karem music Center is also the home of The Israel Chopin Society which maintains cultural relations and exchange of artists as part of the International Federation of Chopin Societies.
The Eden-Tamir Music Center hosts as well "The Voice of Music Young Artist Competition" - in cooperation with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and The Israel Broadcasting Authority.
To date, the Center hosts young artists – the future generation, new immigrants, and international and local artists in weekly concerts of which some of them are broadcast live on the "Voice of Music". Concurrently, Alexander Tamir has been and still is the editor of programs on the "Voice of Music", the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
The Eden-Tamir duo was awarded the title "Yakir Yerushalaim" for their contribution to the music life in Israel and the development of music life in Jerusalem. They won the Immigration Minister's prize, and were awarded the title of 'Honorary Fellows' of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, a degree which is awarded to those who significantly contribute to music life in Israel and abroad.
The Eden-Tamir duo lasted for over 59 years until Bracha Eden's death in 2006.