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On a different note

After composing for top artists, conductor finds his own voice

Tomer Adaddi has written music for Harel Skaat, Shiri Maimon and Avraham Fried, and is now singing duets of his own music, for a new album

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Composer and conductor Tomer Adaddi with singer Shlomit Aharon during their duet for 'Singing with the Composer,' Addadi's 2022 program that puts him at the front of the stage (Courtesy Tomer Addadi)
Composer and conductor Tomer Adaddi with singer Shlomit Aharon during their duet for 'Singing with the Composer,' Addadi's 2022 program that puts him at the front of the stage (Courtesy Tomer Addadi)

Tomer Adaddi has spent most of his 39 years studying and playing classical music, but the sounds he loves most are a combination of classic, Disney and pop, his ultimate crossover style.

“What I love has no real definition,” said Adaddi. “Everything for me begins with a melody.” Now this conductor and composer is coming to the front of the stage with a new project, “Duet with the Composer.”

Adaddi is singing his own songs with special guests, a list of well-known Israeli vocalists, backed by his own piano work and a string quartet, and recorded in a classical music auditorium without synthesizers or other sound equipment in order to create a pure, clear sound.

The plan is to record more of his music in the next six months, and then perform it on stage.

The first song of the project is “K’mo Nahar,” “Like a River,” in which Adaddi hosts singer Shlomit Aharon.

It’s been a very different experience for Adaddi, a composer who has created songs for everyone from Harel Skaat, Shiri Maimon and Omer Adam to Gali Atari, Shlomi Shabat, David D’Or and Avraham Fried.

Getting the opportunity to be the frontman is a new experience, said Adaddi.

“I’ve had years of standing behind singers and marketing people, and it’s comfortable to be the mastermind of something but not get the fire if it’s good or bad,” he said. “Putting your voice out there like this, it’s scarier than usual but also rewarding.”

Adaddi’s voice is deep and smooth, with the sound of an experienced vocalist finding his way along the dips and curves of his music, and with more than a little hint of a Disney-styled soundtrack.

“I hear ‘Frozen’ ten times a day,” laughed Adaddi, who was juggling his three young kids at home on the day of this interview. “If the performer is a great singer with a wonderful voice, I don’t care what genre he comes from.”

Composer and conductor Tomer Adaddi (Courtesy Lorena Alcaraz Minor)

This young composer holds Leonard Bernstein — the famed conductor who conducted the New York Philharmonic and composed the music for musicals such as “West Side Story” — as his example of someone who consistently worked on music across genres, and always hit the right note.

That’s Adaddi’s goal, to create the kind of music that is bigger than life, working with major orchestras that have tremendous power and strength, while finding his own musical tone.

Adaddi currently lives in Florida, dividing his time between the US and Israel and working regularly with Israeli artists.

His usual composing projects tend to begin with lyrics already written that are then sent to Adaddi for the musical composition.

“Every song has a different story,” he said. “Lots of times I write a song and then send it to the singer and then we start going back and forth.”

The idea to sing and perform his own songs came directly from several of the singers Adaddi worked with, who would often ask who was singing the music demos that he composed for them.

“I love singing but I also conduct and I can’t do everything,” he said. “How could I just go and sing? But that’s what led to the project.”

There’s something more authentic at hand when a singer performs the song the way he imagined it, said Adaddi.

“It’s more about how you listen to Matti Caspi or Yoni Rechter or Idan Raichel,” he said. “It’s not that they’re better singers, but there’s something in singing the songs the way that I imagined them. Singing with these singers in a classical setting is something very intimate for me.”

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