Israela Margalit

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Israela Margalit
BornHaifa, Israel
EducationCase Western University
SpouseYahli Wagman (1950s-19??)
Lorin Maazel[1](1969-19??)
Paul Rauch[2] (19??-2012; his death)
ChildrenIlann Maazel[3]
Fiona Maazel
Debut worksNight Blooming Jasmine[1]
Notable work(s)The Well-Tempered Bach[4]
AwardsEmmy nomination[4][5]
Honorary Mention Best Play[4][5]
NY Film & TV festival gold medal[5]
NEA Media Awards[5]
British Music Industry award, Best CD (Korngold)

Israela Margalit is an American concert pianist,[6] recording artist,[3] playwright and television writer.[6]


Musical career[edit]

Margalit was born in Haifa, Israel.[4] She studied piano and began performing in Israel at age thirteen.[1] She studied at conservatories in Tel Aviv, Paris and Munich before performing with fifty major orchestras worldwide.[1] She became a concert pianist and performed for 50 major orchestras around the world,[7] conducted by Lorin Maazel.[4]

A New York Times music critic gave a mixed review of her performance at Alice Tully Hall, writing that "while Miss Margalit's cultured pianism was never less than correct and well mannered, she politely declined to turn these pieces into the sort of powerfully compelling individual conceptions these composers obviously intended them to be."[8] She toured widely, playing in the Americas, Europe and Asia.[5] She played with numerous orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the American Big Five,[9] the Israel Philharmonics, the London Symphony, and the London Philharmonic.[5] She recorded for EMI, Universal Classics and Jazz, Black Box, Chandos, Resonance, Decca and Koch International.[5]

Writing career[edit]

According to one account, Margalit became a writer by accident, when she spoke to concert audiences about the backstory of the music she had been playing.[4] That morphed into a one-hour television program in Germany about Clara Schumann, which achieved high ratings.[4] She turned to writing plays, often about music and musicians as well as romance.[1] Her play Night Blooming Jasmine focused on ethnic strife in northern Israel.[1] Her 3 O’Clock in Brooklyn looked at romantic issues in modern New York City.[1] In New York City, she was friends with playwright Arthur Miller and his wife. She said:

I learned the things I shouldn’t do by watching a million plays... Arthur (Miller) told me that in the first five minutes of any play you should know what the conflict is all about.

— Israela Margalit[4]

Her play Beethoven, The Prodigy, The Titan was broadcast on the A&E Channel, and was chosen to be displayed permanently at the Museum of Broadcasting in New York.[4] She wrote The Mozart Mystique and Celebrating Haydn which were shown in countries worldwide; her play The Well-Tempered Bach was nominated for an Emmy award.[4] Her full-length plays Night Blooming Jasmine, 3 O’clock in Brooklyn and Presumed Guilty were produced Off-Broadway.[4] Her short play On the Bench won an Honorary Mention Best Play in the 14th annual New York 15-Minute Play Festival.[4] Trio explored romantic themes;[6] a review in the Santa Monica Daily Press described it as a "must-see" for those who like romantic drama, "immortal music", and Jane Austen, and that it was "filled with pithy comments and starchy 19th century speechifying."[10]

A Los Angeles Times theater critic wrote that Trio was liked by Russian audiences but that its "clanking script" at the Hollywood premiere "merely inspires head-scratching".[11] In contrast, theater critic Sarah Goodrum found the play to be a "delicate balance between history and creative risk-taking" and found it to be "wholly successful."[7]

In 2011, her loosely autobiographical play First Prize explored the darker side of the classical music world, which she portrayed as "sordid and soul-destroying," according to one review.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Margalit married Israeli pianist Yahli Wagman[12] in the early 1950s. Later she married Lorin Maazel in 1969[13] and the couple had two children.[1] During this time, she stopped performing concert recitals and she studied at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio.[1][14]

Her third marriage[15] was to soap opera executive producer Paul Rauch.[2] Rauch died in 2012.[2]

Margalit's children are Ilann Maazel,[3] an award-winning civil rights lawyer and a pianist, and Fiona Maazel, an award-winning novelist and creative writing professor.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 27 April 2011, Ted Merwin, The Jewish Week, Sour Notes: Concert pianist-turned-playwright Israela Margalit looks at cutthroat world of classical music in ‘First Prize.’, Accessed 14 June 2014, "..the distinguished Israeli pianist and playwright Israela Margalit suggests ... the classical music world is also saturated with much that is sordid and soul-destroying..."
  2. ^ a b c 10 Dec 2012, Soap Opera Digest, Legendary Soap Exec Producer Dies, Accessed 14 June 2014, "..Emmy-winner Paul Rauch,... is survived by his wife, Israela Margalit, an accomplished concert pianist, playwright and writer. .."
  3. ^ a b c George Whipple, 7 July 2009, Time Warner News NY1, Mother, Son Tickle The Ivories In Steinway Hall, Accessed 14 June 2014, "..mother and son duo ... Award-winning pianist Israela Margalit who shared the piano bench with her son, Ilann Margalit Maazel..."
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Cynthia Citron, 9 March 2011, LA Stage Times, Israela Margalit Plays for a Ménage à Trois, Accessed 14 June 2014, "..Israela Margalit ... her career has encompassed performances with 50 major orchestras around the world..."
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Amber Cassell, 12 February 2011, Broadway World, Casting announced of U.S. premiere of Israela Margalit's TRIO, Accessed 17 June 2014
  6. ^ a b c Steven Leigh Morris Thursday, 17 Mar 2011, LA Weekly, Jonas Oppenheim's Free $$$ and Israela Margalit's Trio, Accessed 14 June 2014, "..Margalit is herself an acclaimed concert pianist, as well as a television writer..."
  7. ^ a b Sarah Goodrum, 15 March 2011, Neon Tommy, (theater review), Theater Review: "Trio" At Lounge 2, Accessed 14 June 2014, "..Margalit is herself a concert pianist ... This delicate balance between history and creative risk-taking is wholly successful…"
  8. ^ Peter G. Davis, 20 April 1981, The New York Times, PIANIST: ISRAELA MARGALIT PLAYS BACH, PROKOFIEV AND SCHUMANN, Accessed 14 June 2014, "..While Miss Margalit's cultured pianism.."
  9. ^ Note: big five orchestras are New York, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
  10. ^ March 17, 2011, via Play Time, Santa Monica Daily Press,‘Trio’ a 19th century passion play, Retrieved April 6, 2015
  11. ^ Daryl H. Miller, 17 March 2011 , Los Angeles Times, Theater review: 'Trio' at the Lounge 2 Theatre, Accessed 14 June 2014, "..clanking script by Israel-born, New York-based pianist and writer Israela Margalit ... merely inspires head-scratching..."
  12. ^ he:יהלי וגמן
  13. ^ New Philharmonic Orchestra concert programme, 24 Oct 1971
  14. ^ Murdoch McBride, 29 Dec 1999, Playbill, World Premiere of Night Blooming Jasmine at Tribeca Playhouse, Accessed 14 June 2014, " premiere of Moonlight artistic director Israela Margalit's Night Blooming Jasmine..."
  15. ^ Second marriage