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Hila Karni

Cellist, Founder, Managing Artistic Director

Hila Karni (cello) was born in Tel Aviv. She took up the cello at the age of 9 and four years later started touring Europe, Canada and the United States.

Her teachers were Zvi Harel, Uzi Wiesel, David Geringas and the legendary Bernard Greenhouse, who has described

Hila as “one of the most musically sensitive and technically exciting cellists of the younger generation.” Her chamber music training was with Haim Taub, Ilan Gronich and the Alban Berg Quartet.

Together with violinist Daniel Bard and pianist Ohad Ben-Ari, she founded the successful Trio Mondrian in 2006. The trio won 1st Prize, the “Young Award” and a special prize for its interpretation of a Brahms trio at the International Chamber Music Competition in Trieste in 2007. At the Bologna Festival in 2008, it received the Audience Prize. In 2009, it was awarded
the Borletti-Buitoni Fellowship (London). The Italian composer Marcello Abbado dedicated a piece titled “Trio Mondrian” to the ensemble.

As a guest at numerous festivals, among them Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein, Stresa, Kfar Blum and Ravinia and through appearances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Megaron Concert Hall in Athens, the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Cologne Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall in London and Carnegie Hall in New York, she has gained international acclaim. Among her many musical partners are Boris Pergamentschikow, Guy Braunstein, Ralf Gothoni, Bernard Greenhouse, Maxim Vengerov, Nigel Kennedy and the Scharoun Ensemble. She also regularly collaborates with Israeli singer Achinoam Nini, known internationally as “Noa.”

Hila’s recordings of the “Romantic Serenades” and the Cello Concerto op. 33 by Robert Volkmann with the Hamburg Camerata, whose principal cellist she is, and of Max Richter’s “War Anthem” with the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg received enthusiastic reviews.


Albanian composer Dhora Leka wrote the solo piece “Improvisus” for her.

From 2013 to 2015, Hila taught chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg.

At the urging of her then ten-year-old daughter, Lir Vaginsky, who expressed the wish to make music with her mother, she established the successful chamber music series “Prelude Concerts” in Berlin in 2015. As a result, not only her daughters,

Lir (violin) and Dorel (flute), but also many other young talents are given the opportunity to appear with professional musicians.

Critics’ voices:

“In the broadly conceived, romantic theme, the intense sound of cellist Hila Karni broke through
in its beauty like a ray of light, and total silence fell upon the small hall. It was as if everything
around her was disappearing into darkness, only the cellist remained - and her sound, which
rose to one last crescendo and afterwards receded and faded away.”

Haaretz, Galeria Magazine

“Cellist Hila Karni commands the most tender expression on her cello that can be heard on
stage these days: Karni’s playing is sensitive and resonates with a sound full of beauty that
bespeaks music and musicality, and her solo pieces were fascinating.”

Haaretz, Galeria Magazine

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