November 8, 2009, Updated September 13, 2012

Israel is home to one of the world’s top international harp competitions. Founded by Jerusalem’s legendary mayor Teddy Kollek, this year the event turned 50.

Images of King David playing his harp have inspired countless artists, including Marc Chagall. In 1959, Israel’s Aharon Zvi Propes, who was working in the Prime Minister’s Office at the time, together with Jerusalem’s legendary mayor Teddy Kollek, decided to turn that inspiration into a competition.


Held in Israel every three years since then, the International Harp Competition in Jerusalem has become one of the premier harp competitions in the world. Its winners continue on to become some of the most successful harpists in the world.

A previous winner, for example, is now first harpist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, while other winners are playing with the Opera Symphony in Austria and orchestras in Berlin, France, Belgium and the United States.

Thirty young harpists from 17 countries participated in this year’s 17th competition, 50 years after its founding.

This year, following the two weeks of competition, no contestant won the first prize – a Special 50th Anniversary Gold Concert Grand harp made and presented by Lyon & Healy, which has been sponsoring the contest since it was founded.

Second prize was won by Ina Zdorovetchi of Moldova and Remy van Kesteren of the Netherlands won third place.

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