Miri Ben-Ari. 'Symphony of Brotherhood'
Photo: AFP

Miri Ben-Ari performs at White House

Grammy-winning Israeli violinist attends women's mentoring event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. 'It was a dream come true,' she tells Ynet

WASHINGTON – Israeli hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari has been receiving impressive international recognition for quite a while now. She won a Grammy award and has performed with famous singers like Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.


On Wednesday she was invited to the White House for a special women's mentoring event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.


"It was amazing. I didn't expected it," an excited Ben-Ari told Ynet later. "I've performed at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and everywhere else. I thought I had done everything and fulfilled all my dreams, but it turned out I hadn't."


Ben-Ari's White House performance was part of an event held by Michelle Obama in honor of Women's History Month. The First Lady invited 22 "remarkable women" from the world of business, entertainment, politics and sports to inspire and mentor young students.


Obama later hosted the guest mentors and 120 students for a dinner event in the White House East Room.

First Lady enjoys Miri Ben-Ari's music (Photo: Reuters)


"Success is you following your dream," said actress Hilary Swank, who told a bewildered audience of three dozen African American high school students in a disadvantaged neighborhood that she had grown up in a trailer park before becoming a two-time Academy Award winner.


She shared her role as mentor at Eastern High School, in northeastern Washington, with Olympic Gold medalist and former WNBA professional basketball player Lisa Leslie, and comedian Anna Deveare Smith.


Among the other participating mentors were award-winning US figure skater Michelle Kwan, ex-astronaut and engineer Ellen Ochoa, Brigadier General Dana Born – dean of the faculty at the US Air Force Academy – former US ambassador to Hungary Nancy Brinker and A&E Television Networks president and CEO Abbe Raven.


Ben-Ari dedicated her performance at the event to the war on racism. She played "Symphony of Brotherhood,' which features Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.


"I concluded with the American anthem, which I performed with my own interpretation," she told Ynet upon leaving the White House.


'Michelle knew I was Israeli'

Ben-Ari told Ynet that the US president's wife told her she liked her music. "Michelle Obama is a very warm and direct person. She told us she was 'just Michelle', spoke about her difficulties in life and said she was moved by the choices each and every one of us made."


When she told Obama she was Israeli, the First Lady said she had already known that. "I told her, 'I wish we could celebrate women's achievements in the Middle East for an entire month.' Michelle replied that she is thinking of holding this program in Africa too, and I may take part in it there as well."


On Wednesday night, Ben-Ari made her way from Washington back to New York, for an interview in a local television channel. On Sunday, she will play the American national anthem at the start of the New Jersey Nets vs. Miami Heat NBA match.


AFP contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 03.31.11, 14:39
 new comment
This will delete your current comment