High noteHigh note

Top pianist takes Israeli citizenship

Evgeny Kissin, a Grammy-winning Moscow native, says the only country he fully identifies with is Israel

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

Evgeny Kissin shows off his new Israeli identification card and passport (photo credit: Yontatan Sindel/Flash 90)
Evgeny Kissin shows off his new Israeli identification card and passport (photo credit: Yontatan Sindel/Flash 90)

Wine glasses were raised high at Saturday night’s reception welcoming Russian-born classical pianist Evegeny Kissin as an Israeli citizen. Minister of Immigration and Absorption Sofa Landver and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky handed the musician his very own Israel identification card and passport.

“It’s not a traditional move,” said Sharansky, commenting on the 42-year-old pianist’s decision to register as an Israeli citizen, in order to identify publicly as a Jew, and to travel the world with an Israeli passport.

The Grammy-award winning pianist began working with the Jewish Agency about a year ago, said Sharansky, planning his citizenship decision.

Kissin is a Moscow native who has lived in New York and London, and is also a British citizen. His decision to take on Israeli citizenship, however, was far more personal.

“I’ve cared about Israel my whole adult life, and I felt I couldn’t continue to enjoy my success with the growing hatred toward Israel all over the Western world,” he said at Saturday night’s ceremony. “Then I thought, ‘which country do I represent, which country do I fully identify with.’ And the only answer was Israel.”

“I now feel I have more in common with my soul, it feels more natural,” he added.

Kissin told the Times of Israel that he hasn’t made any decisions about whether he would actually be living in Israel for any period of time each year.

“We make plans and God laughs,” he said. “We’ll see what happens, I’m not saying no to anything.”

Evgeny Kissin is performing Monday, December 9 at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure:
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.