David Bar-Illan, a concert pianist and journalist, died on Nov. 4 from complications of a heart attack. He was 73.
Born in Haifa, Israel, Bar-Illan spent his early years living in the United States. A talented pianist, he graduated from the Juilliard School of Music in 1950, recorded six albums and gave concerts all over the world.
Bar-Illan’s two other passions were journalism and politics. In 1990, he became the editorial page editor of The Jerusalem Post; two years later, the paper appointed him editor-in-chief. His weekly column, “Eye on the Media,” which often criticized American news organizations for their coverage of the Middle East, was widely read.
Bar-Illan left the newspaper in 1996 to serve as the media advisor to the Israeli government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was so impressed with Bar-Illan that he hired him to serve as his senior spokesman.
“David Bar-Illan was an Israeli Zionist patriot in his whole being. He was an outstanding artist who sacrificed years of wonderful musical creativity to engage in journalistic and public activity to help his land and his people,” said Netanyahu in The Jerusalem Post.
David Ber-Illan died but his aideas will live forever. He was an intelligent and courageous journalist who defied the temptation to be anyone’s bootlicker but set the pace by relentlessly fighting for his native land through the written word.
I am so saddened to have just discovered that David passed away in 2003! My husband is the Principal Percussionist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra who performed at David’s performance in 1981.
In 1982, he was kind enough to perform at a special concert in support of the Russian refusniks. The concert was an overwhelming success.
He was a master of the piano and I am so proud to have an autographed copy of his recording of the Moskowski Piano Concerto. A gem of a performance.
I hope his family finds solace in the good that David did for the music world and for Israel.
I was unaware that David had died when I tried to phone him in New York today. He visited us when I was at Ft McClellan Alabama in the 1970s and allowed me to record him there and in concert in Illinois, years later. I was aware of his early zionist efforts, but unaware of his journalistic endeavors. I had thought often of him and Beverly, but, sadly, did not call him soon enough. He will be missed.
I am still trying to be in contact with Beverly Bar-Illan. I think she may be in Israel. I wish to send send her recordings I made of David. If anyone can help me reach her or vice versa it would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
I am Beverly’s son and would be glad to put you in touch with my mother – who has since moved back to the U.S. Please contact me at email@example.com
Beverly was my grandfather and I get really sad when I think about him. I hope that my family will remember him forever.
Sorry above this script I meant to put David was my grandfather, but instead I put Beverly because I was looking at my fathers (Tony Eddolls) script. I play the piano and I really want to be as good as my granfather.
I too am among those who found out about David’s death belatedly. I’ve been writing a memoir while teaching in Berlin and came upon some notes recalling that David and Ramy Shevelov were the first Sabras who became my friends. We met while I was taking a summer course at Juilliard weeks after my arrival in the States in 1948. They would visit me at the United Press offices at the Daily News Building, fascinated by the romance and buzz of a vast newsroom. At the time UP occupied the whole 12th floor of that landmark building. To me Ramy represented the best of Israeli idealism. I still recall an anecdote of his from the war: Ramy’s unit was driving past a burned out Egyptian bus filled with dead soldiers. At first the Israelis cheered; then they stopped and asked themselves “what is happening to us; we should not celebrate death”. I understand Ramy, even after a brain tumor operation maintained his reputation as perhaps the finest violin teacher in Israel, just as his teacher, Galamian, was considered New York’s finest. David was more worldly, though behind the facade was a fine artistic sensibility.
I was awe struck when I met Mr. Bar-Illan when I was about 13. I saw her perform in San Francisco and was so thrilled to have the opportunity to actually meet him. I’m so sad to hear of his passing. I was so proud to have known him and watch him on the international stage. What an honor it was to meet him and know of his legacy.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,I was very sorry to hear of the passing away of David Bar-Illan.I heard him perform the first time as a young boy in Birmingham(UK)Town Hall in the late 50`s with the CBSO, Chopin`s 2nd.Piano Concerto in F minor,with my favourite conductor at that time and now,the late lamented Sir Rudolf Schwarz(a survivor of the horrendous concentration camp Auschwitz!).It was the most touching,poetically inspired,sad yet with elegant nobility of Spirit interpretation that i have ever heard,even now up to the present day!I was moved to tears for the second time in my life,the first time being after hearing Nicolai Medtner playing his own 3rd.Piano concerto.It is thanks to those musicians and wonderfull human souls of high Principals,that finally convinced me to continue advanced musical studies in London,and later here in Germany,and to follow my inner voice and vocation,to pursue a Life and career dedicated to Music against all odds,and family opposition.I will never forget them to the end of my days, for showing me the inner truth in Music.Three of the most underrated Musicians of the 20th.Century.A Scandel!Their Memory will live on,as well as their performances will remain.Their Time will come sooner than one thinks.History will show us as usual.Patience is a Virtue full of Grace.I look forward to meeting them again when I finally pass on into the “Elysian Shades”.My belated Condolences,and very best wishes to the Families and Friends of those three unforgoten Honourable Gentlemen.Sincerely,Dafydd Llywelyn.Composer.(better known through performances of my Music by Pianists Boris Berezovsky,Amir Katz,Severin von Eckardstein,Dudana Mazmanishvili,Nathan Carterette and myself etc,and as a teacher of Piano and Composition in Munich,Germany).
I never met David. I do believe he was the most influential and inspirational force in my husband’s life. I have gathered every article, tribute and accomplishment of this great man and his legend lives on in this house and in our hearts. I know that before he died, even in a state of incapacitation, he wrote a note to Tony encouraging him, telling him to follow his dream of writing and inspiring him to be true to himself. It is but a scrap of crumpled notebook paper, scribbled upon and rough. It hangs above our bed, it is a reminder that we all should be warriors as he was, that we all should pursue what we believe in, that we all should be both passionate about that which matters in a world where there is so little that seems to and in a world where that which does is too difficult to pursue. What a loss we have all felt–even someone like me who can only live vicariously through the books I have helped Beverly unpack, the notes and impressions upon my husband’s heart and the power of the man behind Israel’s cause that is forever a battleground where only lesser men than he, at times, attempt to fight. I wish I could have met him but I am most grateful to have known him both in his music that resonates and in his warrior-like spirit that prevails among all who knew him.
I have never hear David’s performance in person, however once I found an Audiofon’s recording from my dad’s collection and I was totally shocked. I feel very sorry of seeing this blog post now. If I had known his recording 4 years earlier, I would definitely write to him and thanks him for providing so much joy with his piano performance.
It was my privilege to study piano with Mr. Bar-Illan at Southern Methodist University in the early 1970’s. My memories of him include his insistence on professionalism and excellence in all of us who were lucky enough to study with him. Since he traveled down to Dallas from NYC approximately once/month to teach, and interspersed this effort with his concert career, lessons were often marathon sessions of 3-4 hr. duration. I went on to teach piano at the University of N.C. after completing a doctorate at Peabody Conservatory. I will never forget Mr. Bar-Illan’s assistance as I attempted to find a graduate program. I spoke with him sporadically over the years while he was in NYC about students of mine needing graduate study. Finally, once call was met with news the phone had been disconnected. I later learned that he had returned to Israel and what an incredible career followed!
Toco en el concierto inaugural de la Sociedad de Conciertos de Buenos
Aires,el 2 de mayo de 1973 produciendo excelente impresion.
Jorge Liebermann . . Director Artistico.
I am one of the many students who studied with Mr. Bar-Illan at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Many of the best students studied with him there and we enjoyed a special camaraderie and all greatly respected him. He was brilliant in many ways. He was extremely articulate and forthright when speaking- whether it be about music or politics. His pianistic technique was amazing. He could effortlessly play Chopin’s etudes Op. 10, #2 and Op. 25, #6. The style and flair he gave his interpretations of Liszt’s music were really great. His singing tone was fantastic. We all dutifully did his grueling exercises. I am saddened by his passing and will always remember and be inspired by his teaching and playing.
Deseo completar mi recuerdo de abril.En ese concierto toco la Sonata”Dante” de Liszt como la interpretarian Earl Wild,Gyorgy Cziffra o Louis Kentner,es decir maravillosamente.En esos inolvidables conciertos,intervinieron,en 1974 Elisso Virsaladze,en 1975 el GRAN Yehudi Menuhin,en 1976,Nikita Magaloff,y luego…!
As a teenager, I attended a concert performed by Mr. Bar-Illan. This concert was performed in the small, Northern Minnesota town of Wadena as a part of a series coordinated by the University of Minnesota Department of Concerts and Lectures. I think the concert took place sometime in 1958 and was one I thoroughly enjoyed and remember. I retained the program from that concert upon which he had affixed his signature. I am now in my ’70’s and thinning my inventory of “memories”. I would like to provide this piece of autographed paper with someone who might give it a good home. If you are that person, leave a follow-up comment and we’ll discuss how we might consummate the transfer.