Thelma Yellin Big Band

The Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts was founded 45 years ago in memory of the Israeli cellist, Thelma Bentwich Yellin, who immigrated to Israel in the 1920s from England. It was her dream to establish a high school that would nurture the very special needs of artistically gifted students during their high school years. After her death a number of prominent Israeli musicians and teachers established the school in her memory.
Thelma Yellin is a national high school; its students come from all over the country to learn in an open, supportive atmosphere whose professional staff is committed to the ideal of helping artistically gifted young people develop skills in their chosen field of specialization, while at the same time furthering their academic education. Our program offers courses in six majors: dance (ballet and modern dance), classical music, jazz, drama, film and visual arts. In these the students are offered a wide variety of practical as well as theoretical courses at the highest level. Our academic program is equally rich and challenging and all of our students matriculate at the end of the 12th grade and are qualified for entrance into all universities, both here and abroad.
We hold an annual arts festival during the month of February. We have a 90-piece symphony orchestra (which also travels abroad every other year for a series of concerts in European capitals), 25-member big band which has been invited back to the States for the second time this year as the guests of the Berklee College of music in Boston, chamber ensembles, jazz ensembles, an annual dance performance, theatrical productions (this year we will be doing ‘Guys and Dolls’), and art exhibitions.
Many of our students go on to successful professional careers in their fields. To name just a few: the cellist Zvi Pressler, the clarinetist Sharon Kam, the saxophonist Eli d’Jibry, and the budding Hollywood starlet, Mili Avital.
Our students represent an interesting cross-section of Isreali life; we have students from kibbutzim, moshavim, development towns and large cities. We also have many immigrants (both teachers and students). In that sense, Thelma Yellin is truly a melting pot of the various elements that comprise Israeli society.
We are a four-year high school; students are accepted on the basis of an audition in their chosen field and a personal interview with the principal or vice-principal of the school.