About the artist(s)
Eliran is an Israeli countertenor and pianist. A recent graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and currently studies for a postgraduate degree in the vocal department. Eliran has performed as a soloist in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cesti’s Il Tito, Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, and has collaborated with the London International Festival of Early Music, Cambridge Handel Opera Company and London Handel Festival. Highlights from Eliran’s conversation with The Enormity of Now are below.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Eliran Kadussi. I’m a countertenor and pianist. I study in my first year of my Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. I like to connect between people. It’s most effective when I connect between genres of music and cultural ideas, but also between people so that ideas can open.
How did you get here?
I didn’t grow up as a classical singer. My family wasn’t into classical piano. Since an early age, about six, I was into art and performance. When I was twelve, I performed in the musical Oliver, which was a big production in the Opera House in Israel. I was fascinated by the rich musical texture and started to learn piano. I was fascinated by this rich music, by Bach and Mozart and Ravel. When I was eighteen I joined the choir. At the age of nineteen, my conductor noticed that I had the potential to be a countertenor and he suggested that I should take a few lessons with her and then be able to perform in the next concert. People were asking me who I studied with and what do you do? I said that I hadn’t really studied and I didn’t really know what a countertenor was. When I started to take singing lessons, it was another world that was opened up to and for me. The opera repertoire is so vast – that’s why I like music as well… there are endless combinations, ideas and composers. Within the countertenor as well, there are so many composers, so many unknown composers that we are still discovering.
How has the journey of your art/career engaged your voice – personally, artistically, politically?
My voice broke in the middle of a production. I was a high soprano and suddenly… what’s happening?! How am I going to sing that now? I remember what show it was and where I was on stage. Perhaps the feeling that I couldn’t sing high fascinated me to continue as a countertenor, which came six years after that. I also enjoy my baritone voice. If I sing Stevie Wonder or Al Jarreau, I use it.
I think, going to study professional voice lessons, it improved my range as a baritone, so I could sing higher notes in my chest voice. That training has made my voice feel more homogeneous. It also freed me from being labeled, now I sing as baritone, now I sing as a countertenor. It has many more colors that I can use. I think the opera enhanced it. Personally, it’s freed me from definitions of trying to put myself into a certain box or category, of who I am, or who I should be. I find it the same as food. If you’re saying – but yes I only eat this or I only eat that…. I really love to cook and bake and I find the possible combinations fascinating and exciting. It’s the same with singing. I don’t find myself that involved politically, I do have my opinion but I think that at the moment, at the countertenor, I’m singing music from centuries ago, so in some way I’m more aligned with the past than the present…how those politics affected those musicians of the past. I think, since the pandemic, I find myself paying more attention to the news and reading more. I’ve seen how the pandemic has affected musicians nowadays. I think even Brexit affects the international community as I see it as a student in Guildhall School of Music. I do agree that musicians should be involved politically. If the Arts are here to change minds, affect, to make a difference, to ask important questions. I agree that the Arts have power and people need the Arts
What is the voice that you found while finding your voice?
I think voice and personality go together. In Hebrew, the voice is kol. And the word for everything is… ha kol. The voice is everything and everything is the voice. As much as you will find yourself, you will find your voice in the same way. You’ll be able to express everything that you are. It’s not just about finding your voice, it’s about finding yourself. Yourself is the voice. When people want to hear your voice, they want to hear you. They’re aligned, connected.
A recent graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and currently studies for a postgraduate degree in the vocal department. Eliran has performed as a soloist in Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Oberon), Cesti’s “Il Tito” (Celso), Monteverdi’s “L’incoronazione di Poppea” (Ottone), Abel M.G.E’s “I’m cleaning! I’m cleaning!” (Attaché), Paterson’s “The Angel Esmeralda” (Observer 3 [cover]) and has collaborated with the London International Festival of Early Music, Cambridge Handel Opera Company and London Handel Festival. He has participated in masterclasses with Ann Murray (DBE), Emma Kirkby (DBE) and Michael Chance. Eliran participated in the International Opera Workshop in Tel Aviv and have performed as a chorus member in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore” and Mozart’s “Zauberflöte”.
Eliran is a recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarships for music studies in singing and Baroque studies from 2016-2022 with outstanding honours.
Eliran has a special connection to the German language expressed in a musical expedition, receiving a scholarship for German studies in Berlin by DAAD foundation and Dr. Winkler Scholarship. Eliran is a recipient of the Ronen Foundation for 2019 and 2021.