The Israeli Clarinet Choir
Maskit, The Israeli Clarinet Choir led by musical director and conductor Shlomi Rav-Hon, is a group of about 20 amateur musicians, who play clarinets of various types (from piccolo to double bass). It is named after the late Maskit Haendler, a clarinet player who was a member of the choir and other orchestras.
The choir, the only one of its kind in Israel, is characterized by a unique sound that brings to mind the sound of organ playing. The choir has a large and varied repertoire. The choir focuses on classical music and Israeli music, but its repertoire includes other genres as well. Since there are few works written for a clarinet choir, most of the repertoire performed by the choir comprises adaptations of works originally written for symphonic ensembles or others.
Every year the choir prepares two different programs, each usually devoted to a theme such as music by Jewish composers, popular Israeli composers, music from movies, etc. Each program is performed in several concerts. Most programs also include musical pieces that involve the participation of soloists. In recent years, the choir has also held concerts abroad: it performed with a local ensemble in the Netherlands (2016) and participated in the International Clarinet Festival in Belgium (ClarinetFest, 2018) - a festival in which the best clarinet choirs in the world participate. In Israel the choir has performed in concert halls in Ramat Hasharon, Petach Tikva, Zichron Yaakov, Afula and the village Shilat, as well as in nursing homes and synagogues.
One of the goals of the choir is to provide a unique musical experience for the general public with emphasis on distinct audiences who do not have access to concert halls, such as residents of senior homes. Another goal is to provide opportunities to young musicians to perform to audiences in concerts of the choir.
Membership in the choir is voluntary. All the expenses of operations of the choir are covered by the members who pay an annual membership fee.
The choir was founded in 2012, when it separated from the Israeli Wind Instruments Club ("Owl", or “Yanshuf” in Hebrew) and became an independent ensemble.