Israeli Impresario Shmuel Zemach Dies

Israel-born promoter legend Shmuel Zemach, who brought stars like Frank Sinatra, Elton John and Leonard Cohen to Israel for the first time, died Oct. 15 at the age of 85. 

Shmuel Zemach
– Shmuel Zemach
Israeli concert promoter Shmuel Zemach with Luciano Pavarotti

Zemach spent most of his life organizing shows, planning his first events at the age of 12. He honed his promoter skills during a stay abroad in America.

Upon his return, he was responsible for bringing major international superstars to Israel for the first time, including Frank Sinatra, Simon and Garfunkel, Julio Iglesias, the Scorpions, Elton John, Leonard Cohen, Cliff Richard and many more.

He founded Zemach Productions together with his son Yoav, and brought his wife, Dr. Bracha Zemach, on board as consultant. He also served as chairman of Israel’s promoters association for many years and was eventually named honorary life president.

The awards Zemach received during his career include the Israel Theater Prize, the EMI Prize, the Variety Prize and the ACUM Life Achievement Award.

His close friend, German concert promoter Marek Lieberberg, CEO of Live Nation GSA, said he was “so incredibly sad to learn that the dear friend of the whole Lieberberg family and partner of so many memorable events has passed away.

“Shmuel was a unique, charismatic, caring and loving person, an outstanding promoter and a one of a kind ambassador of Israel. He shaped the culture of the country and brought so many local talents to the world. 

“With his fascinating personality and his overwhelming achievements he will always remain the impresario per se!”

Another close friend and promoter legend, Harvey Goldsmith, said the following: “I first met Shmuel Zemach in 1979 when I persuaded him to promote a concert with Elton John in Tel Aviv. This was one of the first rock concerts in Israel and paved the way for many of the world’s great artists to take their music to Israel.

“This started a working relationship but above all a close friendship with Zemach and his family that has lasted. Zemach was a pioneer and loved by everyone. He was a charismatic teacher and was joined in the business by both his son and daughter who will continue his legacy. He will be sorely missed.”

Zemach is survived by his wife Bracha, their three children Tali, Hila and Yoav and 10 grandchildren.