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In This Issue
Jacobson Muses on Jewish Music
Zamir to Premiere Arab-Jewish Choral Symphony
Alumni to Honor Pernick and Ehrmann
Upcoming Concerts
Summer Roundup
Meet the 2010-11 Mary Wolfman Epstein Conducting Fellows
Zamir welcomes soprano Betty Bauman and bass Devin Lawrence as the 2010-11 Mary Wolfman Epstein Conducting Fellows.

Betty Bauman
Betty Bauman

Betty received her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and Music Education at Ithaca College and currently works as an elementary vocal music specialist and middle school chorus teacher in the Stoughton Public Schools. Formerly assistant chorus/band director for the Prozdor High School at Hebrew College, Betty conducts Arbah Kanfote, a Jewish women's chorus in Sharon. Betty studied voice and Italian at the Florence Voice Seminar and served as conducting intern and accompanist for the Ithaca Children's Choir. About the Fellowship, Betty says, "I am looking forward to learning more about Jewish music and working with the talented singers of Zamir!"

Devin Lawrence
Devin Lawrence

Devin teaches music in Lexington, offering private piano lessons to primary school children and directing a choir of senior citizens. He received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education with vocal music emphasis from the University of Redlands, in California. A former K-12 music teacher, Devin has conducted vocal and instrumental ensembles, including youth and adult choirs, and college a cappella groups. He is currently pursuing a Certificate of Jewish Sacred Music and a Master of Jewish Studies and Music at Hebrew College. As an MWE Fellow, Devin looks forward to working with an "an amazing Jewish choral ensemble (Zamir!), improving my conducting skills, and learning from the best, while immersing myself in the rich and varied choral heritage of the Jewish people."

The Mary Wolfman Epstein Conducting Fellowship was established in September 2000 by Scott Offen to train conductors in the area of Jewish choral music.

Baruch Dayan Ha-Emet:
Donna Levy 
Donna Levy z"l
(shown here in 1991)
Donna Levy
The Zamir family was deeply saddened by the loss of Donna Levy, who died on August 1, of cancer, after surviving an earlier cancer. Donna was a beloved member of the soprano section in the late 1980s and again in the '90s, serving as president and board member during her Zamir tenure. She was blessed with a beautiful voice, an optimistic nature, and an indomitable spirit, which shone even as she faced the end of her life. At Donna's request, a group of current and past members of the Chorale sang the Ladino lullaby, "Durme, Durme," and "Yihyu L'Ratzon," from Bloch's Sacred Service at her funeral service, held at the Levine Chapel in Brookline on August 3. We extend our profound condolences to Donna's daughter, Helaine Alon, and the rest of her family. She will be greatly missed.

Quick Links
 FALL 2010
Dear Friends of Zamir,

Shanah tovah to you and your families! Our 42nd season features a terrific slate of concerts and special collaborations, so get out your calendars and save the dates! And enjoy the first installment of  "Musings on Jewish Music," a column by Joshua Jacobson that will appear regularly on the Zamir website. May 5771 be a year filled with happiness, health, and sweet harmony.

In each issue of E-Notes, Artistic Director Joshua
Joshua Jacobson
(Photo by
Larry Sandberg)
Josh Jacobson 12/5/09
Jacobson will share his unique insights and experiences as a world-renowned scholar, composer, conductor, and influential teacher of Jewish music. Here, Josh describes his trip to Berlin this summer, where he spoke at an international conference.

I had been invited to give a paper for a conference on Jewish music at the University of Potsdam, just outside of Berlin. My talk focused on the early Zionists' retrojection of their political program onto the story of the Maccabees, and how that was reflected in popular Jewish songs from the late nineteenth century on.

Ronda and I decided to stay a week in Berlin and see the sights. I was particularly interested in the music created for
Oranienburgerstrasse Synagogue
Oranienburgerstrasse Synagogue
the great Oranienburgerstrasse Synagogue in the late 19th century by the composer/choir director, Louis Lewandowski. This magnificent synagogue held over 3,000 worshippers and boasted one of the finest pipe organs in the city.

The Oranienburgerstrasse Synagogue today is a museum; the building was reconstructed after the fall of the Berlin Wall. While it no longer serves as a working synagogue, the majesty of the building can be seen from its fašade. But we were able to attend a beautiful service Friday night at the Pezalozzistrasse Synagogue, where they have preserved Lewandowski's musical traditions.

The Jewish Museum is the most visited museum in Berlin. The building designed by Daniel Libeskind
Jewish Museum, Berlin
Jewish Museum, Berlin
immediately disorients the visitor with its sharp angles. The exhibits are a wonderful testament to the extraordinarily rich cultural legacy of German Jewry. At the end of the week, we took a train to the outlying town of Oranienburg, where the Nazis had erected a camp that would serve as a model for all subsequent concentration camps. The Sachsenhausen camp held special interest for me, as I had done some research into and resurrected the "Jewish Death Song," "Tsen Brider." This composition was written by Martin Rosenberg, a musician who was imprisoned in the camp in the early 1940s, and who organized a secret chorus of a few dozen Jewish inmates. I visited the barracks where the choir rehearsed their swan song, shortly before they were all transported to Auschwitz.

Berlin is a magnificent city, rich with culture. Its Jewish community is small, but growing. And the people of Berlin are intent on preserving and proudly displaying the rich Jewish cultural heritage of that city.

Zamir Commissions Choral Symphony Blending Arabic and Jewish Musical Traditions

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, the Zamir Chorale will present the world premiere of a large-scale choral symphony, "Poems and Prayers," by Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz, a work that promotes dialogue between Arabic and Jewish musical traditions and cultural trends.
Mohammed Fairouz
Mohammed Fairouz
Fairouz's third symphony is an artistic and administrative collaboration with Northeastern University's Middle East Center for Peace, Culture, and Development, under the direction of Professor Denis Sullivan. The work is scored for large chorus, orchestra, children's choir, and two soloists (mezzo soprano and baritone). Other performers include the Northeastern University Chamber Chorus, also conducted by Jacobson, and renowned soloists Lynn Torgove and Dana Whiteside.

This unique collaboration draws on the sacred and secular texts of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Middle East and weaves together a narrative drama
Fadwa Tuqan
Fadwa Tuqan
that seeks to illuminate the counterpoint between the poetics, music, languages, and peoples in the region. It also includes the poetry of modern Arab poets, Mahmoud Darwish and Fadwa Tuqan, and Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai.

"As a composer dealing with these ancient and contemporary texts that illuminate the poetic tradition of this part of the world, it strikes me as incredibly poignant that this symphony is actually about these remarkable people who are in a state of seemingly endless conflict. This collaboration represents the musical hope of creative dialogue
Yehuda Amichai
Yehuda Amichai
between Arabs and Israelis and is an acknowledgment of our shared histories, traditions, and suffering," says Fairouz. "Jacobson and the Zamir Chorale of Boston are distinctively situated to bring this vision to life through their singular profile and individual understanding of the choral music of the Middle East."

The music of Mohammed Fairouz straddles multiple worlds, from the Sanskrit invocations of the Bhagavad Gita, to the Latin Mass and Arabic music, minimalism, indie rock, romantic tonality, jazz, thorny modernism, musical theater, the avant-garde, and other idioms. His work has been extensively performed throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia, and in venues such as New York's Carnegie Hall and Boston's Symphony Hall. In 2008, he was honored with a national citation from the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington D.C., for outstanding achievement in artistry and scholarship.

For more on this exciting new composition, read this interview with Fairouz in Opera Today.

Join the Zamir Alumni Relations Committee (ZARC) to honor alumna Ruth Birnbaum Pernick and veteran Zamir member Johanna Ehrmann on Sunday, December 5, at Temple Reyim in Newton. A festive luncheon will be served from 12:30 to 2:00 pm, followed by our Open Sing at 3:00 pm. (See details below.)

"Ruthie and Johanna have been integral to Zamir's success and I'm thrilled that we will recognize their contributions over the years," said Alan Teperow, ZARC Chair and former chairman of the Zamir board.

Ruth Birnbaum Pernick
Ruth Birnbaum Pernick
Ruth Birnbaum Pernick sang in Zamir from 1973 to 1985. She then moved to Nanuet, NY, with her husband, Dan. Ruth's love of music has been passed down to all four of their children: Sarah, Ben, Josh, and David. 

Since 1986, Ruth has been teaching Hebrew School at Beth Am Temple in Pearl River, NY, where her husband is the rabbi. She also teaches at Temple Beth El in Spring Valley, NY.  Ruth was a prime mover in the formation of Shirah Community Chorus on the Palisades and continues to sing with them. She has also sung with New York Zamir, Jewish People's Philharmonic Chorus, Rockland County Choral Society, the Beth Am Temple Choir, and Zachor. Along with her brother, Herb, Ruth serves on the Zamir Alumni Relations Committee, where she helps to represent the NY/NJ region.

A lifelong choral singer and gifted writer and editor, Johanna Ehrmann joined Zamir in 1979. She has spent most of her time in the alto section,
Johanna Ehrmann
Johanna Ehrmann
but did sing soprano for a couple of years and even pitched in (very briefly) as a tenor. She was chorus librarian for two years in the 1980s and is embarking on her 25th season as alto section leader. In that role, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the alto section, taking notes for absent members during rehearsals, acting as a conduit between singers and staff, and making sure that all is well with her altos.
In fact, Johanna embodies the musicality and sensitivity that distinguishes Zamir's alto section. 

Johanna coordinated alumni singers for Zamir's 36th and she was delighted to help honor Sue Carp-Nesson last year. Deep connections with other singers and musical highs--especially tackling new works in rehearsal and performing in concerts that lift audiences out of themselves--keep her coming back year after year.

Watch your email for ticket and sponsorship information.
Halleluyah/Alleluia: Psalms of Praise

Sunday, October 17, 2010, 4:00-6:00 pm, Emmanuel Church,
15 Newbury St, Boston. Don't miss this celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church and the fifth anniversary of Boston Jewish Spirit. Emmanuel Center"Halleluyah/Alleluia" presents Jewish and Christian musical interpretations of psalms of praise from ancient to modern times, including works by Salamone Rossi, Louis Lewandowski, and Leonard Bernstein. Zamir joins with the Orpheus Singers, directed by James Olesen; and the Spectrum Singers, directed by John Ehrlich. Reverend Pamela Werntz and Rabbi Howard Berman will offer historical commentary. Tickets: $20; $10 for students with ID.

Tickets are available at the door or online, please go to bostonjewishspirit.org and follow the Psalms of Praise link.

Connecticut Concertizing

Sunday, October 24, 3:00 pm. Zamir will perform what Zamirniks lovingly call a "synagig" at the Charter Oak Cultural Center of Beth El Temple at 2626 Albany Ave, West Hartford, CT. A "synagig" encompasses the very best of Zamir--a taste of the traditional mixed with jazz, folk, Yiddish, and liturgical favorites. We'd love to see our Connecticut friends there! For ticket information, call Beth El Temple directly at 860-233-9696.

"Upward" with the Mystic Chorale
Saturday, November 20, 8:00 pm, and Sunday, Mystic - Zamir CollaborationNovember 21, 3:30 pm. Zamir is delighted to perform as special guests of Nick Page's 200-voice Mystic Chorale for "Upward," a musical extravaganza at Converse Hall, Tremont Temple, 88 Tremont St, Boston. The weekend concerts will showcase the best of Jewish choral music as well as songs from diverse traditions. Tickets: $28; $15 for seniors and students. For more information, visit www.mysticchorale.org, or call 781-316-2500.

Fifth Annual Open Sing: Handel and Bloch

Sunday, December 5, 3:00 pm, at Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington St, Newton.You've sung Messiah, Open Sing 09now sing Handel's other great oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus, and the first three movements of the most sublime setting of the synagogue liturgy, Ernest Bloch's Sacred Service. Open to all interested singers and listeners. Tickets: $10; $8 for seniors and students and GBCC members; available at the door only. Free admission for conductors and conducting students. Musical scores will be provided. Zamir is grateful to Phyllis and Michael z"l Hammer and the Newton Cultural Council for underwriting the Open Sing.

Hanukkah Happens XXI:
Tribute to Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

Thursday, December 23, 7:30 pm, Temple Emanuel, 385
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Ward St, Newton. Although the holiday itself will have passed, let the celebrating continue at our 21st "Hanukkah Happens" concert at Temple Emanuel, marking the 20th anniversary of Bernstein's death. The program will feature the composer's Hebrew music (including Chichester Psalms), and highlights from three of his stage works: West Side Story, On the Town, and Candide. Ticket information will be available in November.

Save the Dates for 2011 Concerts
Sunday, March 13, 2011, 2:00 pm, Sanders Theatre, Cambridge. Zamir offers an all-Bernstein program in collaboration with the Brookline Chorus, directed by Lisa Graham, and the Boston Jewish Music Festival. Ticket information will be available in January.
Sunday, April 10, 2011, 2:00 pm, Sanders Theatre, Cambridge. Premiere of Mohammed Fairouz's Symphony #3, "Poems and Prayers." (See article above about this exciting commission.) Ticket information will be available in February.
Chorus in the Catskills
Zamir brought its signature sound and repertoire to the 400+ participants kicking off the 21st annual North American Jewish Choral Festival in Kerhonkson, NY, on July 25. Highlights included favorites from last season's "JaZZamir" performances and the New York premiere of "Hallel Shir V'Or," by 17-year-old Jeremiah Klarman, with the composer at the piano.

As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far.
Wishing you all a Chag Sameach--a Happy and Healthy Sukkot Holiday!
Barbara Gaffin              
Managing Director 
Deborah Sosin
Editor, E-Notes