Simon Round

Interview: Sophie Solomon

By Simon Round, January 5, 2012

Sophie Solomon never wanted to be a violinist.

She may have started playing at the age of two, been selected for the National Youth Orchestra, been a classical music scholar at her public school, and even been heralded as one of the most talented violinists of her generation, but all Solomon wanted to do was learn Russian.

So instead of becoming a concert violinist, she read modern history a

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The singing star of The Da Vinci Code

By Simon Round, December 29, 2011

Israeli soprano Hila Plitmann has played with many of the world's top orchestras, won a Grammy Award and sung solo on the blockbuster Hollywood movie, The Da Vinci Code.

Despite her many accomplishments, however, there is one thing she rarely gets to do - sing in her mother tongue.

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TV review: Jerusalem on a Plate

By Simon Round, December 22, 2011

This may have been a food programme but you do not have to be long in Jerusalem before you taste the flavour of politics.

Falafel is, of course, the national dish of Israel - unless you happen to be a Palestinian vendor of the ubiquitous chickpea balls who feels he has a greater claim to the dish than Israeli upstarts.

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Perchance to dream - of old age

By Simon Round, December 9, 2011

I had a great idea for a column yesterday. Now what was it? Ah yes, it was about ageing. Not that I'm old or anything, you understand, although I am slightly more middle-aged than I used to be.

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What the Independent's Simon Kelner did next: fair reporting

By Simon Round, December 8, 2011

Former Independent editor Simon Kelner this week spoke of his new project to provide journalistic training to those involved in the Arab Spring – and took the opportunity to defend his own newspaper's Middle East coverage.

The Journalism Foundation, a charitable organisation backed by the Lebedev family, which owns the Independent and the Evening Standard, will be led by Mr Kelner, who steppe

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Interview: Miriam Elia

By Simon Round, December 8, 2011

Miriam Elia is attempting to come up with a definition of conceptual art.

Although she has made a considerable reputation for herself as a stand-up comedian and Radio 4 comedy writer, Elia defines herself as an artist and her comedy as such too.

Her latest work, an installation entitled I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… And It Was Totally Meaningless, could equally be a piece of com

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How Eden became hell for Iraq's Jews

By Simon Round, December 2, 2011

The Last Jews of Iraq
Radio 4, ★★★★✩

On The Road With An Orthodox Rabbi
BBC News Channel, ★★★✩✩

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Interview: Alice Hoffman

By Simon Round, November 30, 2011

When journalists interview novelists, they invariably ask where the idea for a story came from. Almost as invariably, this is the question that novelists dislike most.

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Star violinist's debt to his Jewish teachers

By Simon Round, November 24, 2011

If you had to work out David Garrett's occupation simply by his appearance, you would be unlikely to guess that he is one of the most gifted violinists of his generation.

With his long hair and skull ring he looks vaguely heavy metal-ish but, then again, with his Roger Federer-esque good looks he could also be a model.

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Holocaust historian defends man who broke into Auschwitz

By Simon Round, November 17, 2011

A Holocaust historian this week came to the defence of a British prisoner of war whose account of his time at Auschwitz has been called into question.

Denis Avey, 93, recorded his experiences in The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz, in which he recounted how he had swapped places with a Jewish prisoner so he could see the death camp for himself.

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Interview: Hugh Hudson

By Simon Round, November 10, 2011

If you happened, like me, to be a sports-mad Jewish teenager growing up in the early 1980s, there were very few British-Jewish sporting role models. There was, if I remember correctly, a fairly high-ranking table tennis player and one or two professional footballers slogging away in the lower leagues.

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TV review: Jamie's Great Britain

By Simon Round, November 4, 2011

Jamie Oliver divides people into two camps - those who find him admirable and inspiring, if a bit irritating, and those who find him just irritating.

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Pitching a tent for change

By Simon Round, November 4, 2011

You may have noticed that there has been a lot of protesting going on this year. Some of it is admirable (for example, the demos against Middle Eastern tyrannies), some of it less so (August's protests against the fact that you actually have to pay for trainers).

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Interview: Albie Sachs

By Simon Round, November 3, 2011

Albie Sachs has no recollection of April 7 1988 beyond the fact that he was intending to go for a run on the beach near his home in Maputo, Mozambique. He remembers leaving his apartment with some cold beers which he planned to drink as an after-run treat. He subsequently found out that as he unlocked the driver's door of his Honda there was a huge explosion.

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The other talented young Waley-Cohen

By Simon Round, October 31, 2011

It is very rare to find musician Tamsin Waley-Cohen on her own. She has a constant companion at concerts, at cafes and even on holidays. It is a long-term relationship which, although it has had its ups and downs, has enabled her to move forward with her career.

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Interview: Jason Shifrin

By Simon Round, October 31, 2011

Businessman Jason Shifrin always knew how to make money. Unfortunately, he was also an expert in how to spend it. And he spent in huge amounts - on holidays, on cars, on houses and on his friends. When there was not enough money coming in to finance his lifestyle, he borrowed to fund it. And when those debts were called in, he borrowed some more to repay the original loans.

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Hired by Lord Sugar, but ruined by debt

By Simon Round, October 27, 2011

Businessman Jason Shifrin always knew how to make money. Unfortunately, he was also an expert in how to spend it. And he spent in huge amounts - on holidays, on cars, on houses and on his friends. When there was not enough money coming in to finance his lifestyle, he borrowed to fund it. And when those debts were called in, he borrowed some more to repay the original loans.

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Interview: Yoav Factor

By Simon Round, October 19, 2011

For most film directors, making a movie is a 24/7 job. However for Yoav Factor it is more like 24/6. Despite attempting to fit the shooting of his debut feature, Reuniting The Rubins, into a "crazy" five-week schedule, come Friday evening, Factor, much to the surprise of the non-Jewish crew, would leave the set to go home for Shabbat.

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Interview: Judy Ironside

By Simon Round, October 11, 2011

Judy Ironside spends so of her much time in darkened rooms watching films, that she likes to be outside whenever she can, which is why we are sitting in a blustery Clerkenwell courtyard on what is quite a chilly October afternoon.

Ironside, the founder and executive director of the UK Jewish Film Festival, is enjoying the breeze.

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Comedy Rules: From the Cambridge Footlights to Yes, Prime Minister

By Simon Round, October 7, 2011

By Jonathan Lynn
Faber and Faber, £14.99

This book by Yes, Prime Minister co-author (and my uncle)Jonathan Lynn is as hard to pin down as is its author.

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