Clockwise from far left: Zvi Plesser, Hillel Zori, The Jerusalem String Quartet, Michal Tal, Nitai Zori, Nagai Shaham(Photocollage: Margarita Korol/Tablet Magazine; photos, clockwise from far left: Concertante.org, HillelZori.com, JerusalemStringQuartet.com, YouTube.com, YouTube, HagaiShaham.com)

Israel may be a small country, but when it comes to classical music, it’s a powerhouse. From his position on the board of New York’s Mannes School of Music, David P. Goldman has had the chance to witness Israeli prominence in the field firsthand. In an effort to get a better handle on the phenomenon, Goldman, a political commentator and music theorist, recently traveled to Israel to investigate the secret to Israel’s classical music success. He wrote an essay for Tablet Magazine based on his trip, and he also played some pieces for Tablet’s Gabriel Sanders while discussing how Russian immigrants have changed the study of music in Israel and how interpreting a piece of music is akin to the study of Talmud.