Roni Porat was born in Kibbutz Kedma in 1958. As a child and young adult he had no formal music training. In 1982 at the outbreak of the war in Lebanon, Roni was studying agriculture and was mobilized. He took with him an old guitar. One evening, sitting in his tent, he began to play – melodies that he'd picked up from a Segovia record his sister had bought him for his 22nd birthday. Another mobilized soldier heard and approached him. He asked where he had studied guitar and was astounded to learn that Roni was playing by ear. He himself was a professional musician – a cellist with the IPO. On their discharge, this new-found friend set up an audition for Roni at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. Roni played a Bach prelude and a few original compositions. He was accepted as a music student and studied guitar and conducting.
With a guitar in his hands, a bass drum on his back, juggling balls in his pocket and a few magic tricks up his sleeve he set out for Europe on his summer vacation tomoney to cover his tuition. This routine continued for eight years. His skills as a street performer were honed to a fine art, his love of performing grew and he developed his own unique way of communicating with his audience.
All this together with a personal charisma and a huge music talent made Roni the ideal co-founder of the Yad Harif Chamber Orchestra ("The Israel Stage Orchestra" since 1999) on November 1992. For 12 years Roni has acted as Musical Director, Principal Conductor and Resident Composer with the orchestra.
During that period he has conducted and presented more than 1,000 concerts. He has composed original works for the orchestra as well as for theatre and dance companies. He has conducted all Israeli leading orchestras including The Israel Philharmonic on a regular basis. His most recent concerts with the Israel Philharmonic were a performance of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" – a theatre concert production, and a concert dedicated to Leonard Bernstein including Bernstein's interpretation of Beethoven's 5th. He has written scripts, collaborated with tens of artists and has brought music into the hearts of some 500,000 people, young and old.
Roni is developing his independent career and at the same time continues working with the musicians who have accompanied him on his musical voyage, devoting his time to music education, to young people and to a never-ending search for excellence and new vehicles of expression. Roni's music is an integral part of his life and of life in Israel.
Roni lives with his wife Na'ama and their four sons in the village of Nataf on the outskirts of Jerusalem, between the Arab villages of Abu Gosh and Katanna.