Violin tragedy in Israel – more details emerge

Violin tragedy in Israel – more details emerge


norman lebrecht

May 24, 2011

It is reported on Hebrew websites (and here), and confirmed by mutual acquaintances, that the violinist Matan Givol took his own life shortly before he was due to play in a concert with the Tel Aviv Soloists.

(Tel Aviv Trio: L to R Matan Givol, pianist Jonathan Aner and Matan’s brother, cellist Ira Givol)

Matan had played in all rehearsals for Saturday’s concert in Haifa with the German countertenor Andreas Scholl and his harpsichordist wife, Tamar Halperin. But on Sunday he failed to show up for the next concert in Tel Aviv.

The conductor Tal Barak announced that there had been a tragic event and the intended programme was cancelled. Instead, Halperin accompanied Scholl in a vocal recital.



  • I feel so saddened for this young man. Artists need to be teflon coated to withstand public criticism and competition, yet, at the same time, artists must be exquisitely fine-tuned and sensitive. Therein lies the danger. During practice, rehearsals, and study, we are never good enough. But by performance we must exude confidence, as if we’re the best.

    It’s time for a survival tool kit or self help book for young performers. There are better strategies than suicide.

    • gildemaro says:

      Dear Marjorie, the more I disagree with your comments about some average Brazilian baton and their line othe more I liked your actual comment on this sad, sad case. I can’t add one comma or yota to it, so I would like to ask for your kind permission to make your words mine. Real a sad story.
      (OT: Marjorie, by any chance you know Maarit from your time with “Mr.H” … ?)

      • gildemaro says:

        sorry “baton waver” , “line of conduct” and “really a sad story” … But I’m being attacked by a raven, believe me or not …

  • Marie Lamb says:

    I’ve had the day to think a bit about this young man and his sad end. I couldn’t help but think of your Slipped Disc postings last year about the tendency in the classical music world to sweep drug and alcohol abuse problems under the rug, with the attitude that “this doesn’t happen to classical musicians, only to those other people” who perform rock, pop, jazz, rap, etc. I recall that someone said that mental health issues among classical musicians should also be addressed, with support for the afflicted persons and for their families, not just to aid in recovery, but also to overcome the stigma that still exists. While I didn’t know Matan Givol and don’t know the details of his troubles, I have known depressed musical and radio colleagues who needed professional help and didn’t get it, or who knew they needed it but didn’t have the insurance or other support they needed. (In the U.S., insurance coverage for mental health is often far less than that provided for physical illnesses, and this may be an issue in other countries, too.) Even among non-musicians, mental health issues still carry too much of a stigma, with many who have them feeling that they’re weak or immoral, or that they should just “suck it up”. Until mental health problems are treated as health problems, and not as some sort of moral failing, I fear we’re going to see a lot more cases like Mr. Givol’s, both in the classical music world and elsewhere. My sympathies and prayers for him and his family.

  • Dear Gildemaro,

    I want to applaud Norman Lebrecht for exposing relevant issues in the classical music world, and offering us all an equal voice. I cannot claim to be right in a matter that is so sensitive. I can only express my opinions based on previous experiences. I, too, had my share of unpleasantness—abuse—from certain baton wavers, and still display battle scars to prove it.

    To reply to your question, I know of Maarit. We were not in the JH class at the same time, unfortunately. Please convey my good thoughts and warm wishes.