Grand piano
Grand pianoiStock

An Israeli pianist has reached the semifinals of a prestigious American piano competition.

Pianist Rafael Skorka is one of eight semifinalists in this year’s Cleveland International Piano Contest, reported the Cleveland Jewish News.

Skorka will perform pieces by Leonard Bernstein, Kenneth Leighton and Johannes Brahms in the contest’s semifinal round at the Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum in Cleveland, Ohio on July 31.

Skorka previously finished third in the first International Music Competition in Harbin China in 2018.

The thirty-three year old musician began taking piano lessons at eight years old with Svetlana Pachter at Karmiel Music Conservatory in Israel.

He later completed a Bachelor of Music degree at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, going on to receive a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Skorka has performed as a soloist with many Israeli orchestras, including the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion, the Tel-Aviv Soloists Ensemble, the Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva and the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra.

Skorka has also won or placed high in several Israeli piano competitions over the last decade, including winning first prize for the “Piano Forever” competitions in Ashdod in 2009 and the Sharon Tavor Concerto Competition in Jerusalem in 2008.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)