Honorees | The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance


Sir Clive Gillinson, CBE











Sir Clive Gillinson was born in Bangalore, India, in 1946; his mother was a professional cellist and his father, a businessman, also wrote and painted. Sir Clive began studying the cello at the age of eleven and played in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He went to London University to study mathematics, but realizing that he wanted to make music his life, entered the Royal Academy of Music, where he gained a Recital Diploma and won the top cello prize.  After attending the Royal Academy of Music, Sir Clive became a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Sir Clive joined the London Symphony Orchestra (SLO) cello section in 1970 and was elected to the Board of Directors of the self-governing orchestra in 1976, also serving as Finance Director. In 1984 he was asked by the Board to become Managing Director of the LSO, a position he held until becoming the Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall in 2005.

Under Sir Clive’s leadership, the LSO initiated some of that city’s most innovative and successful artistic festivals, working with many of today's leading artists. In the international touring arena, the LSO established an annual residency in New York from 1997 and was a founding partner in the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, in 1990, with Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas.   Sir Clive believes in taking great music to society at large.  In this area, his initiatives with the London Symphony Orchestra included the development of the LSO Discovery music education program, reaching over 30,000 people of all ages annually; and the creation of LSO St. Luke’s, the UBS and LSO Music Education Center, which involved the restoration and reconstruction of St. Luke’s, a magnificent, but previously derelict 18th-century church.  Sir Clive also created LSO Live, the orchestra's award-winning international CD label.

Sir Clive has served as Chairman of the Association of British Orchestras; was one of the founding Trustees of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts; and was founding Chairman of the Management Committee of the Clore Leadership Programme. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in the 1999 New Year Honours List and received the 2004 Making Music Sir Charles Grove Prize for his outstanding contribution to British music.  Sir Clive was appointed Knight Bachelor in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2005, the only orchestra manager ever to be honored with a Knighthood. 

Sir Clive received an Honorary Doctorate from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia in May 2007.  In May 2010, he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Skidmore College and was recipient of the Eastman School of Music’s Luminary Award.  In 2011 and 2015, he served on the cello jury of the International Tchaikovsky Competition.  He received the 2012 International Citation of Merit at the New York 2012 ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Congress.  In 2012, Sir Clive was invited to become a Visiting Fellow at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University.  Sir Clive is also an Honorary Fellow of the Guildhall School (HonFGS) and serves on the Honorary Board of Brubeck Institute of the University of the Pacific.  In recognition of Carnegie Hall’s successful Vienna: City of Dreams festival and continued close collaboration with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Austrian government honored Sir Clive by bestowing upon him its prestigious Grand Decoration of Honor in Silver for services to the Republic of Austria. In addition, he received the Theodore S. Kesselman Award from the New York Youth Symphony in October 2014, and The Orchestra of St. Luke’s Gift of Music Award in spring 2015.  He is a member of the Advisory Board of the new master’s degree program at the New York Institute of Technology.  Titled, Leadership in the Arts & Entertainment Industry (LAEI), the program is designed to prepare future leaders in the arts and entertainment industry.

Sir Clive recently co-authored a book, Better to Speak of It, published by Arch Street Press in October 2016.  Centered on core management and personal values, the book offers specific, first-hand experience from Sir Clive and many leaders within key cultural, educational, nonprofit and corporate fields, appealing to readers ranging from nonprofit managers, arts-administration students, and the public interested in the health and well-being of the arts, as well as corporate executives and staffs seeking insight into how creativity can be applied with substantial results.


Evgeny Kissin











Evgeny Kissin was born in Moscow in October 1971 and began to play by ear and improvise on the piano at the age of two. At six years old, he entered a special school for gifted children, the Moscow Gnessin School of Music, where he was a student of Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who has remained his only teacher. At the age of ten, he made his concerto debut playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K. 466 and gave his first solo recital in Moscow one year later. He came to international attention in March 1984 when, at the age of twelve, he performed Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1 and 2 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Moscow State Philharmonic under Dmitri Kitaenko. This concert was recorded live by Melodia, and a two-LP album was released the following year. During the next two years, several Kissin performances in Moscow were recorded live and five more LPs were released by Melodia.

Kissin’s first appearances outside Russia were in 1985 in Eastern Europe, followed a year later by his first tour of Japan. In 1987 he made his West European debut at the Berlin Festival. In 1988 he toured Europe with the Moscow Virtuosi and Vladimir Spivakov and also made his London debut with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. In December of the same year he performed with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic in a New Year’s concert which was broadcast internationally, with the performance repeated the following year at the Salzburg Easter Festival. Audio and video recordings of the New Year’s concert were made by Deutsche Grammophon.

In 1990 Kissin made his first appearance at the BBC Promenade Concerts in London and that same year made his North American debut, performing both Chopin piano concertos with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta. The following week he opened Carnegie Hall’s Centennial season with a spectacular debut recital, which was recorded live by BMG Classics.

Musical awards and tributes from around the world have been showered upon Kissin. In 1987 he received the Crystal Prize of the Osaka Symphony Hall for the best performance of the year 1986 (which was his first performance in Japan ). In 1991 he received the Musician of the Year Prize from the Chigiana Academy of Music in Siena, Italy . He was special guest at the 1992 Grammy Awards Ceremony, broadcast live to an audience estimated at over one billion, and became Musical America ’s youngest Instrumentalist of the Year in 1995. In 1997 he received the prestigious Triumph Award for his outstanding contribution to Russia’s culture, one of the highest cultural honors to be awarded in the Russian Republic , and again, the youngest-ever awardee. He was the first pianist to be invited to give a recital at the BBC Proms (1997), and, in the 2000 season, was the first concerto soloist ever to be invited to play in the Proms opening concert. In May 2001 Kissin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the Manhattan School of Music. In December 2003 in Moscow, he received the Shostakovich Award, one of Russia’s highest musical honors. In June 2005, he was awarded an Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London. He was awarded the 2005 Herbert von Karajan Music Prize.

Mr. Kissin’s recordings have also received numerous awards and accolades, having contributed significantly to the library of masterpieces recorded by the world’s greatest performers. Past awards have included the Edison Klassiek in The Netherlands, Grammy awards, and the Diapason d’Or and the Grand Prix of La Nouvelle Academie du Disque in France.

The beginning of the 2010-2012 season sees engagements in major cities across Europe, including London, Milan, Paris, Salzburg, Vienna, and many more. He then embarks on an extensive North American tour which includes recitals, orchestral appearances, and chamber music concerts with Yuri Bashmet.

In addition to classical music, Kissin has given recitations of Yiddish and Russian poetry. A CD compilation of Kissin's recitals from the contemporary Yiddish poetry was issued by the Forward Association in 2010. In 2007 he became Honorary Patron of a professional chamber opera company, City Opera of Vancouver, led by conductor Charles Barber. In 2013, Evgeny Kissin received an Artist's Award from the Jewish Children's Museum in Brooklyn and became a citizen of Israel in December. He is noted for "publicly championing the Israeli state".

During the 2017/18 season, Mr. Kissin has given and will give solo recitals in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Toronto in addition to his numerous European recitals and orchestral appearances. Mr. Kissin will also be touring Europe and North America together with the Emerson String Quartet for the first time, with performances in Baden Baden, Paris, Munich, Essen, Vienna, Amsterdam, Chicago, Boston, and New York’s Carnegie Hall.


Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian











Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian is the President of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, with a regional office in Israel named the Ima Foundation. The foundation’s focus on education, arts and culture, and public policy has been at the core of Sharon's philanthropic perspective. The foundation has been significantly involved in The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, establishing the Yitzhak Navon Hall, in honor of the 5th President of the state of Israel, and the Younes and Soraya Building, housing the Academy’s High School and Conservatory. Additionally, the Ima Foundation supports music students at the Academy through scholarships and has supported a variety of after school programs all around Israel. The Ima Foundation has also helped renovate and expand a number of libraries across Israel, including the Library at the University of Haifa, the Sapir College Academic Library, the Pre-Academic Library at the Hebrew University and the Bezalel Library in Jerusalem now under construction on its new campus.

In 2017, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) appointed Sharon as its new Senior Vice President in International Affairs. Sharon heads ADL’s work fighting anti-Semitism and racial hatred globally. She also oversees ADL’s Israel office.

Sharon's interests are reflected in the myriad of organizations to which she devotes her time, talent and energies to. She is the founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Sharon is the vice chair of the West Coast Board of the American Society of the University of Haifa and sits on the Board of Governors of the University. She is a member of the Chairman's Circle of the National Democratic Institute and sits on the boards of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, and the Center of Middle East Public Policy at RAND Corporation. Additionally, Sharon is a member of the Board of Trustees for Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences.

Her undergraduate studies took place at the University of Southern California (USC), double majoring in Journalism and International Relations. She went on to receive her Master's and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees from USC in the field of Political Science, specializing in Political Economy and Economic Development in newly industrialized countries. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.


Noa Wertheim 











Artistic Director, Choreographer and Co-Founder of the Vertigo Dance Company.

A multi-talented artist Noa Wertheim is an internationally acclaimed choreographer and dancer and a numerous award winner, including the 1998 Israel Ministry of Culture award for young choreographers, the 2003 Landau Prize for the Performing Arts and the 2012 Israel Culture Minister award for her choreography of Birth of the Phoenix.

Born in 1965, in the USA, Noa grew up in Netanya, Israel, where she started dancing with Sarah Yochai at Esther’s Studio. Although her religious upbringing delayed her pursuit of a dancing career, in 1990 she completed her studies at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Noa performed with the Jerusalem Tamar Dance Company, where she met Adi Sha’al her partner in life and in dance. Together they founded the Vertigo Dance Company.

Reflecting her holistic and spiritual approach, Noa, whose name in Hebrew means movement, communicates through dance in a generous way inviting viewers and co-creators on an enchanted exploration journey. While further exploring human expression, emotions, behaviors and perceptions through movement her research has led her to the development of a distinct dance language through constant examination of innovative structures and forms, stretching the limits of the human body and awareness. Noa works and creates from the Vertigo Dance studio at the Gerard Behar Center in Jerusalem and from her home studio at the Vertigo Eco-Art Village.


Prof. Avner Biron 


Prof. Avner Biron was the head of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance during 1994–2003. During his term, among other initiatives, he established the unique department of Arabic Music, the department for Multidisciplinary Music and the Academy Chamber Orchestra. 

The conductor Avner Biron is the founder, music director and permanent conductor of the Israel Camerata Orchestra Jerusalem. Creativity, inventiveness and originality are the watchwords for his versatile musical activities. The orchestra, under his direction, has successfully performed many concert tours in Israel, Europe, US and the Far East at the most importnat venues in Amsterdam, Berlin, Leipzig, Bonn, Paris, New-York, Washington, Los Angles, Chicago, Alaska, Beijing, Shanghai among others.

Avner Biron was the music director of several festivals, among them the "Abu-Ghosh" music festival and the “Music and Nature” festival in the Galilee. He founded the Galilee Soloists Ensemble, a virtuoso ensemble that gained international success within a short time and was invited on concert tours around the world.

He was a member of the standing committee of the organization of Academic Institutions for Music in Europe (AEC). Avner Biron began his musical career as a flutist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and as a solo-flutist with the Israel Chamber Orchestra.

Studied biology at the Jerusalem Hebrew University and later went to Vienna and the Salzburg Mozarteum for further studies in musical direction. His special approach to music and interpretation is influenced by extensive knowledge in Music and Science.

He has performed many recitals and chamber music concerts. He has directed many master-classes for flutists in Israel and abroad. As a teacher and educator, Avner Biron has established a new generation of senior flutists and flute teachers.

In 2005 Avner Biron was awarded the Minister of Education Prize for excellence and artistic achievements over many years and for his contribution to the musical life in Israel. 



Batia Cohen

Batia Cohen is a prominent figure in dance education in Israel. A former dancer, Ms Cohen was a member of both Prof. Hassia Levy Agron's company and the "Ensemble of Jerusalem” dance company. In her many years teaching dance at the Academy, Ms Cohen focused on modern dance instruction using the Martha Graham methodology and on dance repertoire classes; she was one of Israel's first teachers of dance teachers, and her teacher training provided the fundamentals of guidance and support during the modern dance teacher training experience.
Ms Cohen completed her undergraduate degree at JAMD, and her graduate degree in Education Administration from the University of Derby, England.

A lifelong learner, she also completed the MOFET Institute graduate program on Research, Curriculum and Program Development for Teacher Educators, the Movement Therapy program at Bar Ilan University and the graduate management training program at Hadassah. She studied abroad in prestigious dance schools, including those of Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Juilliard, and José Limón.

Ms Cohen served on the bodies of many public bodies, including the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, the Israeli Ministry of Education's examiners board of the Master's Degree in Dance, its committee for curriculum planning in dance education (of which we was also chair) and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Committee to select the Israeli representatives for the Epcot Center in 2000.

In 1991 Ms Cohen was nominated to the Head of the JAMD Modern Dance Department, and following that, in 1997, she was appointed Dean of the JAMD Faculty of Dance, a position she held until 2004. In addition, she was the artistic director of summer courses in dance at JAMD and was a guest teacher in many institutions, both in Israel and abroad (Budapest, Zagreb, Tilburg).