Committed to Opera

Tal First, Assistant Principal Viola

Tal First began his violin studies in Israel at the age of 6 with Mr. Geri Ferber. First continued his studies with Ms. Svetlana Simannovsky at the Thelma-Yellin School of Arts and later on at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School as a student of Li Lin and Itzhak Perlman. He is a member of the West Eastern Divan Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, with which he performed in venues including Salzburg Festival, Lucernce Festival, BBC Proms, Berlin Philhamonie, Paris Philharmonie. Between 2018-2022 First served as a Teaching Fellow for the Ear Training Department of Juilliard. In this position, he was mentored by Dr. Kyle Blaha. Since 2011, he has received support from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, and from the Ronen Foundation since 2016.

First serves as a returning musician for the Musethica Program, where he was first introduced to viola playing. As a part of this program, he has worked with members of the Jerusalem Quartet and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He also served as a principal player for the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, AXIOM orchestra of The Juilliard School and the Thelma Yellin Symphony Orchestra. First is a graduate of the Perlman Music Program, David Goldman program in the Jerusalem Music Center, Keshet Eilon mastercourses, Polyphony seminars, and Miriam Fried’s program in the Jerusalem Music Center.

First has also played for musicians including Ivry Gitlis, Hsin-Yun Huang, Leonidas Kavakos, Kim Kashkashian, Paul Neubauer, Julian Rachlin, Roger Tapping, and Christian Tetzlaff. He played as a soloist with the Thelma Yellin Symphony Orchestra, the Galilee Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand’s Sinfonia for Hope.

First is on the roster of the NYC based CiM, “Concerts in Motion”, which gives him the opportunity to play for audiences that cannot attend the standard concert halls.