The Israeli virtuoso talks all things mandolin, image problems and purifying where the Nazis determined the Final Solution.

As a young Israeli kid, what kind of music did you grow up with in the house?

Not classical, would be my first answer. My parents are Jews from Morocco and emigrated as kids with their families in the ‘60s. They came to a young state, defining itself, and there was a big mixture of cultures. Their music was Moroccan Jewish religious music. When I was young I was going with my dad to the synagogue to hear these melodies. They liked French chansonsas well, like Edith Piaf. When I hit high school, it changed my musical taste: it was the ‘90s. Everything came from Seattle, like grunge music. High school was rock for me.

So what made you choose the mandolin?

It was a coincidence, like all great things in life. I grew up in Be’er Sheva where they have a youth orchestra of mandolin players. It was founded by my first teacher, Simcha Nathanson, who was a Russian maestro who played violin and mandolin. I went with my parents to a concert and then I asked to play also. I...

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