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Chorus Reaches Half-Century Mark


Josh Jacobson, conductor

How do we celebrate such a milestone? According to a recent article in Chorus America’s journal, The Voice, “anniversary observances become most meaningful when they reinforce a chorus’s reason for being, when they inspire self-examination, and when they help to lay a foundation for the future.” For Zamir Chorale of Boston’s 50th Anniversary Concert, we will offer choral music from Jewish traditions, not just by Jewish choirs, but by all choirs across America—high school, college, conservatory, community, professional choruses, even church choirs. Most conductors know very little about our repertoire beyond a dreidel song or two. They are unaware of the significant repertoire that Zamir promotes: secular and sacred; Baroque, classical, romantic, modern, contemporary; classic compositions as well as arrangements of folksongs, popular songs, theater songs; music in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, German, English; a cappella and accompanied.

On Tuesday, June 4, at 7:30 pm, at Sanders, the ensemble will showcase some of its best repertoire and premiere commissioned works from Jeremiah Klarman, Ken Lampl, Jonathan Leshnoff, Charles Osborne, Nick Page, and Benjie Ellen Schiller.

Also to honor this milestone, the ensemble is launching a new website, which will feature a searchable data base with links to recordings, videos, sheet music, publishers; an archive of our concert programs (including such gems as Women in Jewish Music, Middle East Harmonies, Zamir Goes Baroque, Divine Majesty, Awe-Psalm, Italia, Sepharad 92, and South of the Border); recommended lists of music for specific occasions (such as Chanukah, Holocaust Memorial, Israel Independence Day); articles about Jewish Choral Music; and a series of podcasts highlighting various periods and styles. Last fall we debuted our “Halleluyoh Virtual Choir,” which features 150 voices from seven countries performing Louis Lewandowski’s masterful setting of Psalm 150, as well as historical information about the composer.

But what about the gala? For our 36th and for our 25th celebrations, we had mounted arguably the greatest piece of Jewish Music, Ernest Bloch’s magnificent Avodath Hakodesh (Sacred Service) for chorus and orchestra. For our jubilee we have taken a different tack. To add to the repertoire, we commissioned six composers to write new works. Klarman, Lampl, Osborne, Page, and Schiller are all composers with whose music we were already familiar. We also reached out to Jonathan Leshnoff, a composer with a national symphonic reputation, who has become committed to a traditional Jewish lifestyle. In addition, we surveyed the 712 men and women who have sung in the Zamir Chorale of Boston, and chose seven of our all-time favorites. We hope you will enjoy this program as much as we have enjoyed preparing it.  

By Josh Jacobson, founder and artistic director

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
7:30 – 9:30 pm
Sanders Theater, 45 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA


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