The Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award inspired this year’s winner to connect with her Israeli roots.
“Because I live in Vancouver and Israel is so far away, at least I can connect through Israeli music and composers…thanks to the award,” Liel Amdour, 22, said.
Amdour first saw a classical guitarist play when she was 10. She travelled with her mother from their home at the time in Beersheba to Tel Aviv, driving over an hour each way, just to see the concert.
“That really had an impact on me,” Amdour said. “I was mesmerized.”
Amdour was immediately inspired to start playing.
Amdour was born in Beersheba and moved to Vancouver with her family at age 12. She found a teacher in Vancouver who continued training her and she recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Music in guitar performance.
The nature of the classical guitar is different to the acoustic guitar. Classical guitarists use their fingers and nails to produce the sound, rather than holding a pick.
“You can create a really personal sound,” Amdour said.
The classical guitar is comprised of three nylon strings and three metal strings. The sound of the music is complex and challenging to produce. Amdour’s love for the instrument was inspired by this challenge and her passion to create a unique sound.
She is a two-time recipient of the British Columbia Arts Council Scholarship Award for promising young artists and has performed in master classes for highly acclaimed classical guitarists, including Roland Dynes, Sergio Assad, Denis Azabagic and Irina Kulikova.
Since classical guitar music is not as popular as acoustic and electric guitar music, Amdour hopes to introduce this genre to new audiences. She is determined to secure the future of the instrument.
“Following the legacy of Ben Steinberg and all of the artists that received the award is really a great honour,” Amdour said.
The award was created in 1996 after Ben Steinberg, music director at Toronto’s Temple Sinai Congregation, retired after 26 years. The goal is to help young musicians launch their careers.
Amdour will receive The Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award at Temple Sinai Congregation in Toronto on June 12. She will be playing a concert at the ceremony, which is free and open to all. You can follow Amdour at facebook.com/lielamdourguitar.