The Interior Ministry will grant Evgeny Kissin, one of the world’s leading classical pianists and an enthusiastic Jewish supporter of Israel, Israeli citizenship event though he does not live in the country, the Jewish Agency said Thursday
Kissin, 42, told Jewish Agency Chairman Sharansky a year ago that he was interested in acquiring Israeli citizenship in order to enable him to “fight for Israel not only as a Jew, but also as an Israeli” although he is not permanently based in Israel. Sharansky passed on the request to the government.
“There are other Jewish musicians who reach Kissin’s level of musical talent, but it isn’t every day that so acclaimed a musician joins the fight for Israel so openly and so uncompromisingly,” said Sharansky.
Upon receiving an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University in 2010, Kissin said, “Wherever we Jews live, our thoughts, hopes, and prayers are always with Israel and with our ancient and holy capital, Jerusalem. We Jews have every reason to be proud of the State of Israel.”
He will arrive in Israel this weekend in order to receive the citizenship and will perform in a one-time benefit concert at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center.
Kissin was born in Moscow and began playing and improvising on the piano at the age of two. At the age of six, he enrolled in the Gnessin State Musical College, and he had his international debut at the age of 12 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Kissin has been called “one of the great pianists of our time” and has been presented with two Grammy Awards and Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music.