Maya Shavit - Founder and Honorary Chairman
Maya Shavit was born and raised in Kibbutz Ma'abarot, where she lived for many years, absorbing deep and diverse layers of culture. She studied at the Tel Aviv College for Music Educators' and at the faculty of Musicology at Tel Aviv University. She continued to study conducting with famous conductors as Gary Barthini and John Oldis at the Guildhall School Of Music in London. She was singing with Barthini's as conductor in the "Rinat" choir and later conducted the national Kibbutz Choirs and Emek Hefer Choir. In 1981, she founded the Efroni Choir and served as its artistic and conducting director for over 30 years. In working with the choir, Maya focused on the educational aspects, and in doing so, developed unique teaching methods, which she teaches both in Israel and overseas. Maya taught conducting and musical methodology for children's choirs at the Jerusalem Academy of Music – Oranim, as well as the Music School at the Levinsky College of Education.
In 1982, she initiated the program "Composers Writing for Children's Choirs", which is considered to be a turning point in raising the level of children's choirs in Israel and their status in the world. Maya puts a particular emphasis on preserving Israel's traditions and cultures, especially with Arab culture. In that vain, Maya has been collaborating Arab, Israeli and Palestinian choirs for many years. From 2003 to 2009, she headed "Hallel" - the Israeli over-arching choir organization, also serving as its representative to the World Choir Federation, the IFCM. In December 2002 Maya was awarded the prestigious Frank Peleg Prize (by the Ministry for Culture and Sports of Israel) for her multi-year work in promoting the arts. In 2012, along with the choir, she was awarded the Landau Memorial Performing Arts Award, by the Council of the Arts at the Israeli Lottery Association.