World-Renowned Pianist Evgeny Kissin Receives Israeli Citizenship

Last Saturday, Evgeny Kissin — one of the world’s greatest pianists and the star of Pro Musica Hebraica and The John F. Kennedy Center’s February 24th concert — received Israeli citizenship. “I want all the people who appreciate my art to know that I am a Jew, that I belong to the People of Israel,” Kissin explained. “That’s why now I feel a natural desire to travel around the world with an Israeli passport.”

Here is the video of the ceremony, which included Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky:


The Jerusalem Post reports on the ceremony and notes that Kissin has more than just musical gifts:

Aside from his musical talent, Kissin is also something of a linguist, and speaks a beautiful Lithuanian Yiddish, some of which he picked up from his grandparents and aunt, but mostly taught himself. It was in Yiddish that he told the writer of this column that he will be giving a recital of Jewish music and poetry at the Kennedy Center in Washington on February 24.

The performance, in which Kissin will recite Yiddish poetry in addition to playing works by Milner, Bloch, Krein and Veprik, is a co-production of the Kennedy Center and Pro Musica Hebraica, which is dedicated to bringing neglected Jewish music to the concert hall.

Tickets to this February 24 concert, An Evening of Jewish Music and Poetry, are on sale at the Kennedy Center website.