I was at a concert for American-Israeli musician Rami Kleinstein when halfway through the program he announced that he would be having an Israeli musician currently studying at Berklee College of Music join him for the next song. This is a tradition that many Israeli musicians continue when they perform in Boston and it’s a great way to showcase up-and-coming talent. Nadav Ben-Ozer and his saxophone accompanied Kleinstein on one of his classic songs and did a fantastic job.
Ben-Ozer grew up in Israel, with his love of music starting at an early age. It wasn’t until he started at Thelma-Yellin High School for the Arts in Tel Aviv that he began to see music as his future career. His passion for jazz was discovered when he went to a showcase of the school’s jazz department before auditioning and he completed his high school education in the jazz department.
When it came time to do his required army service, he auditioned and was accepted into the army band, but decided that he wanted to go a combat route. He had the opportunity to extend his army service beyond the required amount of time and go into officer’s training, but a little voice in his head made him decide to go back to his instrument instead. It wasn’t easy sailing to start his career in music; he worked on a cruise ship, taught music, and worked as a music specialist for a Jewish summer camp. Eventually, he realized that Berklee College of Music was the place for him to continue his music education. He had previously attended a summer program at the college when he was 17, before his army service, and the experience had never left him. On top of that, many of his teachers at Thelma-Yellin were Berklee graduates and much of their course material was taught from Berklee books.
At Berklee, Ben-Ozer has been able to expand his knowledge of music. He’s performed, as part of his degree requirements, in multiple ensembles, including Original Fusion Ensemble, Indian Folk Ensemble, World Music Ensemble, and most recently has been invited to join the Neo-Soul Ensemble. Beyond the school ensembles, Ben-Ozer has constructed a jazz quartet – Nadav Ben-Ozer’s Quartet – of talented musicians who play both traditional and modern jazz music.
Ben-Ozer has performed at multiple school events, private events, and several notable events, such as being part of an orchestra at Boston Symphony Hall. He also had the opportunity to produce, perform, and lead the band at the 2016 Menorah Lighting at Copley Square for Hanukkah.
Ben-Ozer plays both tenor and alto saxophone, as well as dabbling in the flute and the clarinet. With so much accomplished in such a short time, it seems that there’s no limit to what Ben-Ozer can do. While his love of teaching and composing music remains, his ultimate goal is to tour the world and perform his music.
If you want to check out Nadav Ben Ozer, his next show, performing with his jazz quartet, is coming up at Berklee College of Music (1140 Boylston Street) at Colvin Hall on October 13 at 4PM. Admission is free and it’s sure to be a great afternoon of music!
Post by Karen Shalev
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