Micha and Shelly Davis
Micha and Shelly Davis share a love for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra—and for each other. The Orchestra is lucky to have the world-class trombone and clarinet musicians, and the wonderful couple feels lucky to have found each other.
Micha plays bass trombone in the Orchestra. He regularly takes part in KeyNote (the Israel Phil’s classical music education and community-building programs) as a presenter and performer. Shelly is a clarinetist and the Charlotte and Maurice Lawson Chair. She performs with many chamber groups in Israel and abroad and has appeared as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic.
Micha and Shelly sat down with AFIPO to talk about their first date in the Sinai Peninsula, touring the world together, and a shared passion for classical music.
AFIPO: It is always special to see a married couple working together in the Israel Phil. Can you tell us how the two of you started dating?
Micha: It was a sunny morning when Shelly entered the practice room of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Band. She was a new recruit, and I was in my last year of service. When I saw her, I told the trombonist next to me; “You see her? That’s my future wife.”
Shelly: I was a new soldier in the IDF Band, playing violin and clarinet. One day, I heard Micha playing the solo of “Autumn Leaves” by J. Kosma with the band. I immediately fell in love with him and with his sweet, heart-melting sound.
Our first dates were sitting together on the long bus rides to the Sinai Peninsula. We traveled there for the historic ceremonies of returning land to Egypt as part of the peace agreement in 1979.
I’m sure there are many different experiences to navigate when working with your spouse. Can you tell us about working with your significant other?
Although both of us play wind instruments—Shelly plays clarinet and Micha plays bass trombone—we play in different sections. In our opinion, this is ideal to maintain married life: Though we share a lot, we still have our own space. If one of us was the section leader of the other, it might be disastrous when we come back home!
On top of that, when we go on tours—despite the difficulties of leaving our 4 children at home and away from us—the benefit for our relationship is significant. We have a lot of opportunities for mutual new experiences.
How long ago did your relationship begin, and how has your passion for music and love for the Israel Philharmonic bonded the two of you?
We have now been married for 40 years. We both grew up in classical-music-loving families. In Israel, the classical music shrine is the Israel Phil, so it was only natural that our paths would cross there. And of course, this wasn’t the only thing. We both share a life dedication for music and for our instruments. We passed this dedication onto all our children, and we still are very passionate about music.
Since both of us love our Orchestra so much, whenever it is needed, we are happy to do other activities for the benefit of the Israel Phil. One example is playing in small groups all over the world. For Micha, that means in Japan, Uruguay, and Arab cities in the West Bank. For Shelly, that is at the Taj Mahal in India, the palace of King Hussain in Jordan, the U.S., and in Arab cities as well.
Micha: I also write arrangements that are played by the Orchestra and different groups, such as the Passover Medley you all may have heard (it went viral!). I give Masterclasses during tours, playing with our Brass Quartet in schools and nursing homes, all free of charge.
Shelly, what do you enjoy the most about working with Micha?
Having a lot of great mutual experiences that are all about music and travel. At this point, we have traveled the world together.
When I am not sure whether my playing is accurate or musical enough (and I am embarrassed to ask my clarinet colleagues), I like to ask Micha. I can always count on him to give me an encouraging comment.
Micha, what do you enjoy the most about working with Shelly?
The fact that we have so much in common: Music, the Orchestra, friends, and touring the world.
Shelly joined the orchestra six years after me. Before that, I mostly used to sit in my hotel room during tours. As Shelly is a wonderful traveler and adventurer, she took me with her to see the world outside the hotel when she joined the Israel Phil.
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