Adjunct associate professor of voice. Mezzo-soprano.
After graduating from the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem as a pianist, the Israeli born Zehava Gal has launched a parallel career as a vocalist. It was the renowned mezzo-soprano Jenny Tourel who discovered Ms. Gal's unique qualities as a musician and a singer. A full scholarship from the America Israel Cultural Foundation enabled Ms. Gal to pursue her studies in voice and opera at the Juilliard School of Music. She was the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards, among them grants from the Juilliard Opera Center, the Lado Foundation, and the Aspen Festival.
Ms. Gal began her international career after winning both the Grand-Prix and the First Prize for the interpretation of French Mélodies (the Darius Milhaud prize) in the Concour International de Chant de Paris. Two months later, she won the top-ranking prize for opera and Lieder in the Bavarian International Radio Competition in Munich. Ms. Gal has also won the Young Concert Artists competition in New York (the Kathleen Ferrier Award), which led to engagements at the Kennedy Center and the 92nd Street Y in New York, as well as a recital tour of the United States.
Ms. Gal has sung with the finest conductors, orchestras, and opera companies in North and South America, Europe, and Israel. Her operatic appearances have included engagements in La Scala (Milano), in a production of Boris Godunov conducted by Claudio Abbado; the Salzburg Easter Festival's production of Parsifal, conducted and staged by Herbert von Karajan; and the Paris Opera's Boris Godunov conducted by Seiji Ozawa and directed by the esteemed film director Joseph Losey. One of Ms. Gal's signature roles, that of Rosina in The Barber of Seville,was performed with twelve different opera companies throughout the world. She sang Rosina in Washington, D.C.; in Santiago (Chile); in Lyon (under the baton of John Nelson); in Avignon and Nantes (France); in Israel with the new Israeli Opera; in Glasgow and Dublin with the Scottish opera, conducted by Sir Alexander Gibson; with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera as well as the Frankfurt Opera for two consecutive seasons; in a special production by Dario Fo with the Netherlands Opera (Amsterdam); and with the Virginia Opera in Norfolk, Richmond, and Fairfax. Ms. Gal has sung the title role of Rossini's La Cenerentola with the Netherlands Opera, and has appeared as Isolier in Rossini's Le Comt d'Ory in the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, conducted by Donato Renzetti and directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi. As Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, she appeared in Monte Carlo, the Vienna Staatsoper, and the Santa Fe Festival. With the New Israeli Opera, she appeared as Niklaus (the Oeser version) in Tales of Hoffman, and Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo. Ms. Gal also appeared as Salud in Fernando Arrabal's unique interpretation of de Falla's La Vida Breve in Nancy and Mets (France).
During the 1985 Handel Year Celebration, Ms. Gal performed the title role in Pier Luigi Pizzi's La Scala production of Ariodante with the Paris Opera at Théâtre de Champs Elysées; the Nancy Opera; and the Lausanne Opera in Switzerland. Her success in Ariodante, which relieved noteworthy recognition, was immediately followed by a memorable rendition of Dejanira in Hercules, conducted by J. C. Malgoir in the Théâtre du Chatelet (Paris). Ms. Gal then went to perform the title role in Teseo in Covent Garden (London), Sienna (Italy) and the Athens Summer Festival in Greece. On a very short notice, Ms. Gal replaced Teresa Berganza in the title role of Rinaldo conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras and directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi at Chatelet in Paris. She sung the role of Elmira in Floridante with the Taffel Baroque Orchestra led by Alan Curtis on a tour in Toronto and San Francisco.
For two consecutive seasons, Ms. Gal sang Carmen in Peter Brook's celebrated production of La Tragedie de Carmen. Performances were held in Peter Brook's theater in Paris, touring later in Zurich, Hamburg, Arles and in different cities in France. This production was filmed, broadcast over many television stations, and seen by a large audience in cinema houses all over Europe. Ms. Gal's appearance as Octavia in L'incoronazione di Poppea at the Mezier Festival with conductor Michael Choirboys was filmed by Swiss Television for commercial video cassette. Ms. Gal has appeared as Astasie in a revival of Salieri's opera Tarare conducted by J. C. Malgoir, and filmed by Austrian Television. Other guest artist engagements include appearances on a variety of French, German, Israeli, British, Italian and American television stations.
Ms. Gal's concert repertoire included Ravel's Sheherazade conducted by Sixten Ehrling in Carnegie Hall, and with Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bern Symphony under the direction of Elijahu Inbal; Berlioz' Roméo et Juliette with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Daniel Barenboim; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and selected operatic arias in concert under the direction of Zubin Mehta. Performances with the Israeli Philharmonic include Mahler's Symphony No. 4 under Gary Bertini, Bruckner's Te Deum and Mozart's Requiem and Mass in C minor under Yoel Levy. The Mass in c minor was also performed with Edo De Waart in Houston. Ms. Gal performed Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer in Madrid and Paris, as well as Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in the Madelaine in Paris. Under the button of Claudio Abbado, she sung Stravinsky's Pulcinella with the La Scala Orchestra and Moussorgsky's Boris Godunov with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She sang Pulcinella with Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble Contemporain d'IRCAM in Tours Festival (France). She sung the Berenstien's Jeremiah Symphony, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Mozart concert arias, and Ravel's Sheherazade with the Bern Symphony. In collaboration with conductor Eduardo Mata, violinist Pinchas Zukerman and the Dallas Symphony, Ms. Gal performed the world premier of Ben Lees' symphony, Memorial Candles, in Dallas and at the Kennedy Center. In a live television broadcast from Geneva, Ms. Gal performed, L'enfant in Ravel's L'Enfant et Sortilège with conductor Armin Jordan and the Swiss Romand Orchestra.
As a prolific recitalist, Ms. Gal won great acclaim. She performed in Paris with pianist Dalton Baldwin; in Aix-en-Provence's festival; Lausanne; Los Angeles; Washington, DC with Lawrence Skrobacs; as well as a tour in the United States. Other recitals include performances in Ankara and Tel Aviv with Jonathan Sacks; Princeton, N.J. with Glenn Parker; in New York with Lawrence Skrobacs (92nd Street Y.), Myron McPherson (Carnegie Hall) and Martin Katz (Alice Tully Hall).
Ms. Gal can be heard in several recordings, including Moussorgsky's choral works with Claudio Abbado (RCA); Donizetti's Nuits d'été à Paususilippe and the cantata Teresa e Gianfaldoni (Thesis); Amaltea in Mose in Egitto with Claudio Scimone (Phillips), Octavia in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea with J. C. Malgoir (CBS); and Carmen in Brook-Constant's La Tragedie de Carmen (EM).
Faculty, Westminster Choir College of Rider University (1994-).