Composer, pianist, singer and arranger, Yoni Rechter has made a major contribution to Israeli music in a career spanning more than 30 years, and is considered among Israel’s most important musicians. In the dozens of songs that Yoni composed, he created a wide variety of styles, incorporating numerous influences, from Sixties pop (mostly Beatles) to Jazz, Israeli to classical, east and west, into a fascinating personal statement. Rechter always composes with originality, great sensitivity to text, and for the best performers. He is considered the mark of quality and integrity in Israeli music. Yoni’s music is sophisticated and ever unexpected, constantly shifts tones and beats, and his classical piano training is evident. Many of his compositions have become staples of Israeli music, and one has on several occasions been voted the most popular Israeli song of all times.
Yoni has worked closely with many of Israel’s top artists, including Arik Einstein, Gidi Gov, and Yehudit Ravitz. Perhaps his two most well-known collaborations are the legendary Kaveret group (a.k.a. Poogy), and Hakeves Ha-16 (The 16th Sheep), released in 1978 and still Israel’s most-popular album of children’s songs. A sought-after musical director, producer and arranger, Yoni has worked on numerous musicals, films, dance and albums. Rechter has also written classical music, and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performed a concert dedicated to his songs and compositions.
Born in Tel Aviv, Yoni started playing piano at the age of 7, and decided to be a musician at age 12 when he discovered the Beatles. He studied classical music, played Jazz and composed songs to the lyrics of his classmate. After high school he started studying at the Music Academy, fulfilled his military service as part of a musical group performing for the troops, and continued studying at the Academy, still debating whether to follow his famous architect father’s footsteps, or choose a musical career. When Danny Sanderson offered him to join Kaveret (a.k.a. Poogy) in 1972, Yoni said he would only join for six months and then get back to school, but of course he stayed with the legendary group until its breakup in 1976. Shortly after, Yoni was asked by Arik Einstein, The then top Israeli performer, to collaborate with him, a collaboration that produced some of Israel’s most beautiful songs, many of which became classics. In 1978 Rechter musically directed, wrote most of the songs and participated in Hakeves Ha-16, which broke ground as a new standard for children’s music in Israel, and in the almost 30 years since, is still the Israel’s most all-time popular children’s album.
Yoni’s musical career continued to flourish; over the years he came out with several solo albums, and collaborated with many of Israel’s top performers. A sought-after musical director, producer and arranger, Yoni has worked on numerous musicals, films, dance and albums. His impact and influence on Israeli music is immeasurable. Today, Yoni is as productive and creative as ever. His compositions and arrangements have rare musical depth, yet are beautiful and communicative.
Yoni Rechter was awarded the 2008 EMET Prize, an annual prize given for excellence in professional achievements that have far reaching influence and significant contribution to society. The Prizes are sponsored by the A.M.N. Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Art and Culture in Israel, under the auspices of and in cooperation with the Prime Minister of Israel.
In recognition of Yoni Rechter’s unique and quality contribution to the shaping of Israeli musical culture, in 2009 the Hebrew University of Jerusalem honored him with the title of Doctor of the Hebrew University, Honoris causa.