Principal Timpanist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) since 2004
My thoughts about being a timpanist
How great it is for me! I am the only player in the orchestra to hold this position, as opposed to other players, who have several others playing in their position. I have to be at my best at all times, since there is nobody to compensate for my renditions or to complement my role. An orchestral timpanist is actually an assistant conductor. Although the timpani sits at the back of the orchestra, the timpanist must be the first to play. My role is to bring together and lead the entire orchestra and to connect it to the conductor. I like the fact that I can help the conductor by increasing the volume or by setting the rhythm – everything begins with the timpanist.
When a timpanist is great, the orchestra sounds good! However, a timpanist can also ruin a work, if he is not up to standard. Therefore, the timpanist has a very responsible role, and I love the challenge. It requires that I be well prepared and at my prime at all times.
The timpani part is powerful and varied. No program is like another; one is constantly learning, listening, improving and developing. I enjoy this dynamic aspect of my job.
A timpanist needs to be able to combine wisdom, knowledge and rich musical experience together with sensitivity to what is happening in the work and around you, in order to know when and how to lead the orchestra, and when to accompany and be part of the orchestra’s playing. This adeptness and adaptability makes the job so much more interesting and authoritative. Add to this the fact that you sit directly opposite the conductor, above everyone else, holding mallets, and you feel like a king!
I come from a musical family. My father, Josef Moshayev, is a well-known player of ethnic music, who plays primarily on a drum-set and various percussion instruments, including unique ones from central Asia. My childhood toys were musical instruments. I learned to play percussion from my dear father. Simultaneously, I studied the clarinet and was accepted as clarinetist and percussionist to the prestigious Israeli Thelma Yelin High School for the Arts, together with my older brother, Mark Moshayev, who was a timpanist at the school. Since the age of 15, I have been playing the timpani and I am very glad I made this change. I feel lucky to have been chosen for the important position as timpanist.
I studied timpani professionally with Alon Bor (former Principal Percussionist and Assistant Timpanist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra). I was drawn to the timpani, since this is both a percussive and melodic instrument and a very varied one. At 17, I was accepted to Daniel Barenboim’s West Eastern Divan Orchestra, where I played in 2003-2010.
I was a regular scholarship winner of the America-Israel Foundation.
At 18, I became Principal Timpanist of the IPO, so I therefore grew up into the reality of a principal timpanist who has to study scores at night and to come very well prepared for the rehearsal.
During my first two years at the IPO, I also served as an Outstanding Musician in the IDF. I was dubbed by the army a “musical prodigy”.
In 2008, I played with the Italian Toscanini Symphony Orchestra, under Lorin Maazel.
I have appeared in Israel and abroad in a percussion duo with my brother Mark, including as soloists with the IPO. In 2004, the duo won First Prize in a competition of the Buchmann-Mehta Music School.
I am a member of the Israeli Multipiano Multipercussion Ensemble, which appears in Israel and abroad with various chamber ensembles. In addition, I give master-classes in Israel and abroad and am a juror on competitions of the Buchmann-Mehta School and of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. Appeared as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra several times
I also teach at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.
I have had the privilege of playing under the baton of the greatest conductors in the world, including Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Valery Gergiev, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Helmuth Rilling, Yuri Temirkanov and many more.
- Hardtke Berlin Classic model 81-74-66-62-56 cm
- A set of original old German Ringers
Why I play Hardtke Timpani
I first became acquainted with Hardtke drums at the age of 17 (2003), while playing in the West Eastern Divan Orchestra. Until then, I had played on many other timpani at the school orchestra and on other occasions, and the immense difference between the Hardtke drums and all the others was very evident.
In my first year at the West Eastern Divan, we performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 3, with Daniel Barenboim conducting and playing, as well as Beethoven’s Symphony no. 3. In the Concerto, the first timpani solo after the cadenza in the first movement sounded like two bells with a pure and dark sound. This was the same in the Symphony – on the one hand, a dark and deep sound in the second movement, while in the third movement there was amazing articulation and lightness. The blend of the Hardtke timpani with the orchestra in general and with the brass, in particular, was so natural and forceful, and this gave me a lot of confidence and inspiration on stage. I enjoyed every minute of playing them.
There was something so captivating about the blend of the Divan Orchestra, with its great conductor, and the unique sound I produced from the Hardtke timpani, that I simply fell in love with the timpani, with the role of timpanist and with classical music. That same sweet and terrific sound and those good experiences are engraved in my mind.
When I got into the IPO as Principal Timpanist, I sought out this sound, and to this end went to meet Marco Hardtke in Berlin. I decided to purchase a Hardtke timpani set for the orchestra, and this has since been my regular set.
Hardtke’s timpani are powerful and one can produce from them a very precise sound and wide array of colors in an extensive repertoire. They blend very well with the orchestra. Of all the timpani I have tried and worked with, I find that Hardtke’s is the best for me.
- Hellmut Funke
- Playwood (Raymond Curf Premium Series)
- Helmut Rosenthal
I play on calfo calf