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 Music from  Jerusalem
 Signs of hopes

Associazione Culturale e Musicale “Aldebaran" 
Via Pirandello n. 35 – 98039 Taormina
Tel . +39 3487379330

+39 393 38 77 412

+39 347 86 93 309 (Segreteria)


Presidente: Antonio Lombardo

P. IVA 03209720832

 July 21, 2021

Copyright 2015 © Taormina Opera Stars, tutti i diritti sono riservati.


Free admission subject to availability.
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 THE PROJECT "Music from Jerusalem, signs of hope"


"Music from Jerusalem, signs of hope" takes its cue and inspiration from a television report produced by the RAI correspondent from Jerusalem, Raffaele Genah, aired on TG3 Mondo in December 2020, in which an unusual and profound story is told, that of a young Palestinian pianist from Ramallah, Mohammed Al Sheikh, and his Israeli teacher, of Russian origin, Emma Spitkovsky, who teaches at the "Magnificat Institute Jerusalem", founded and run by the Franciscans of the "Custody of the Holy Land".


"Music from Jerusalem, signs of hope" aims not only to make this extraordinary story known but also to favor the creation of an ideal bridge between Taormina and Jerusalem, between Sicily and the Middle East, using music as a privileged language and universal, capable of integrating diversity and making the culture of dialogue, peace and integration between peoples grow, while respecting individual identities. The concert of the young Palestinian Mohammed Al Sheikh, therefore, wants the right omen so that, ideally, these noble purposes can be transformed from hope into concrete reality. The singular story of him, a determined boy in love with the piano and music, willing to undergo many sacrifices in order to make his dreams come true, not finding a better place to be able to come true.


Taormina, which has always been a "City of Peace", becomes for him that coveted stage from which to start and spread a message of hope for a future, made of tolerance and harmony. And all this cannot happen in Sicily, an island in the center of the Mediterranean and always a crossroads of peoples. A land where, throughout the first half of the thirteenth century, the Emperor Frederick II, the "Stupor Mundi", worked to promote the meeting of Christian, Arab, Jewish and Greek cultures, making it the moral capital of the Mediterranean.

(Roberto Giamboi, creator of the project)




Born in Russia in 2003, at the age of 9 he started playing various instruments in the school of the Baremboim Said foundation in Ramallah. A year later he started playing the piano with Emma Spitkovsky at the Magnificat institute in Jerusalem, a classical music school affiliated with the Arrigo Pedrollo Conservatory of Vicenza.


Mohammad has won many prizes in competitions including Grand Prix at the "International Competition of Piano Villahermosa" - 2016 in Mexico, 1st prize at the "International Competition of Young Pianists dedicated to Fryderyk Chopin" - 2016 in Estonia, 2nd prize (not 1 prize was awarded to any participant) at the Szafarnia F. Chopin International Piano Competition - 2018 in Poland and 1st prize at the "Competition for young artists" in the Eden Tamir music center in Jerusalem. Mohammad has performed in several cities including Turin, Venice and Budapest, participated in the XII International Festival "Moscow meets Friends" under the direction of Vladimir Spivakof, appeared in the Israeli educational program "Intermezzo con Arik" where he performed and is was interviewed by Prof. Arie Vardi - 2015, gave a recital in Tel-Aviv, took part in the 3rd and 4th Trans-Siberian art festival where he played with several orchestras in Tel-Aviv and Novosibirsk. Mohammad also participated in the Tel-Hai piano masterclasses - 2017 and the Morningside Music Bridge (MMB) masterclasses in Warsaw - 2018 and received scholarships from Zefunot Culture in 2015 and 2016.

In 2019 he won first prize as a pianist in the competition of the Israeli Kol HaMusica radio to perform with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in various concerts around the world including Hong Kong.

 SALVO MIRAGLIA, conductor and composer


He began studying music at a very young age and as a conductor and composer. Already graduated in clarinet at the Vincenzo Bellini Music Institute in Catania, he graduated in Orchestral Conducting at the Academy of Music in Pescara, attending the Advanced Course under the guidance of masters Donato Renzetti and Dario Lucantoni.

He has conducted various orchestras, among which are mentioned, the Taormina Opera Stars Orchestra (of which he is conductor), the Pescarese Symphony Orchestra, the Etnea Symphony Orchestra, the Sicilian Opera Company (of which he is co-founder), the Orchestra "I musici del Teatro" of Treviglio (BG). In the direction of various wind orchestras, mention should be made of the Regimental Band of Transmissions of Naples and the "G. Miraglia ”of Acireale. He directed Cavalleria Rusticana in 2014, at the Ancient Theater of Taormina in 2016, at the Metropolitan Theater of Catania in 2017 and 2019; at the Ancient Theater of Taormina, he also conducted the Operetta Gala in 2014, in 2015 the band on stage in the operas Nabucco, La Traviata and Aida, in 2017 the Gala of Stars and the band on stage again in Aida; in 2018 he conducted Tosca at the Metropolitan Theater in Catania (where he has stably held the concert seasons since 2015) and the musical fairy tale l'Histoire du soldat by Igor Stravinskij; also in 2018 at the Teatro Comunale di Treviglio, he conducted the Concert for Soloists. Since 2011 he has directed the concert of Cantatas and Hymns in honor of Sant’Agata in Catania. He has conducted several symphonic works by authors such as Beethoven, Mozart, Rossini, Wagner, Ravel, Cjajcovskij, Rimski-Korsacov, Listz, Moussorgkji, Gershwin, Bela Bartok, Stravinskj, Williams, De Meji, Sparke. Nicola Marino ”and“ illustrious Platanesi ”, has won and obtained recognition in various national and international competitions.

He is the author of symphonic compositions for strings, wind orchestras, concerts for solo instrument, pieces for solo voice. The activity of arranging arias of operas and operettas, symphonic pieces, as well as classical songs for solo voices and orchestra is also intense.


Over the years, directors such as Gianna Fratta, David Crescenzi, Davide Dellisanti, Marcello Rota, Diego Basso, Alessandro Cedrone, Salvo Miraglia, Mariano Patti, Egbby De Nadai and Silvia Casarin Rizzolo have alternated at his helm.


The orchestra was born in 2015, with the beginning of the "Taormina Opera Stars" Festival and in the year of its debut, in the splendid and prestigious setting of the Ancient Theater of Taormina, it performs Beethoven's IX symphony and a challenging triptych of Verdi's operas. such as Nabucco, Traviata and Aida. Since its inception, the "Taormina Opera Stars" Orchestra has represented a "treasure trove of talents", carefully selected by its Permanent Director and Maestro Concertatore, Salvo Miraglia. In 2016, for the second edition of the "Taormina Opera Stars" Festival, the orchestra performs Tosca by Puccini and Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni, deserving the flattering comment of the famous Maestro Donato Renzetti: "... a beautiful and unexpected reality, this of Sicilian Orchestra Taormina Opera Stars, excellent compactness and sound quality, with excellent first parts: a quality orchestra that is fully inserted among the orchestras of the Italian music scene ".


Over the years, the Taormina Opera Stars Orchestra is establishing itself not only in the Sicilian and Italian musical reality, but also manages to cross national borders. In fact, on 22 August 2016, at the Ancient Theater of Taormina, the BBC resumed Cavalleria Rusticana with its cameras, for the cultural broadcast “Sicily the Wonder of the Mediterranean”, broadcast in February 2017 on the international circuit. The orchestra's activity continues in 2017 with concerts, opera galas and with Aida, staged at the Ancient Theater of Taormina and in Spain, in the Canary Islands, as part of the Fuerteventura Opera Festival. 2018 is the year of the representation of Tosca and of a concert featuring "Le DIV4S".

2019, on the other hand, sees the orchestra engaged in Carmen and the unforgettable concert-event of which Martha Argherich is the absolute protagonist, for the first time in Taormina.


The Magnificat Institute, born from the idea of ​​Father Armando Pierucci ofm, has been operating in the old city of Jerusalem for more than twenty-six years, and is "a laboratory of peaceful coexistence", where students bring their different cultures and experiences to enrich themselves reciprocally and to give this possibility also to those who attend their performances.

Directed today by Fr. Alberto J. Pari, ofm, the Magnificat provides academic musical education for Jerusalem’s youth regardless of gender, language, race or religion. Christians, Muslims and Jews study and grow up together.

The long list of courses taught at the Magnificat includes: violin, viola, cello, piano, guitar, flute, trumpet, bassoon, clarinet, singing, music theory and music history. These courses enhance knowledge and practice in classical music. For several years, for a bilateral agreement, the Pedrollo Conservatory of Vicenza and the Magnificat have collaborated and all studies follow the curricula of the MIUR.

Two hundred students and thirty teachers make up the Institute which is internationally recognized and annually invited for concerts and tours abroad.