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Saturday, March 7, 2015, 
8:00 pm, Jordan Hall, 

30 Gainsborough St, Boston: 

Locusts, frogs, boils, the plague--suffering leads to redemption and celebration in Israel in Egypt, Handel's magnificent oratorio for double chorus, soloists, and orchestra. Don't miss this special event at Boston's favorite choral venue when Zamir joins forces with the Metropolitan Chorale of Brookline. Lisa Graham, Music Director for the Metropolitan Chorale, will conduct. The concert is presented with the generous support of the Seth Sprague Charitable Foundation and Educational Trust. Tickets will be available through Zamir after Feb. 24.

The Kings Theatre, London, in the Haymarket, where Israel in Egypt was first performed


Sunday, May 17, 7:00 pm, Temple Shalom, 175 Temple St, Newton: Zamir is slated to participate in this year's Newton Festival of the Arts Interfaith Choirs concert. Details to come in the spring issue of E-Notes.


Thursday, June 4, 7:30 pm, Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St, Newton:

Mark your calendars for our season finale, this year honoring Cantor Elias Rosemberg, and featuring Jewish music from Latin America, with guest artists, the Tucan Trio. The trio, which formed in 1998 in Tel Aviv, features three Brazilian-Israeli musicians: Joca Perpignan, percussion and vocals; Amir Milstein, flute; and Hagai Rehavia, guitar. The concert will also feature the world premiere of "Yah Ribon," composed by Jeremiah Klarman in honor of Cantor Rosemberg. Stay tuned for more details in our spring issue!

Elias Rosemberg and Zamir at HH 2011
Cantor Elias Rosemberg
Tucan Trio

Berlin Tour Program

View Zamir's performances in Berlin on YouTube.

Forty-five singers from the Zamir Chorale traveled to Berlin from December 17 to 21 to participate in the fourth annual Louis Lewandowski Festival, whose theme this year was "Stars and Stripes," recognizing the synagogue music of German composers who emigrated to the United States during the twentieth century. Zamir, the only American chorus to participate, joined choirs from Israel, London, Strasbourg (France), Rome, and Berlin for the four-day extravaganza, again presented under the auspices of Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin, and founder Nils Busch-Petersen.

The Festival's repertoire

Follow Zamir's Facebook postings for chorus members' photos and comments.

included works by Hugo Chaim Adler, Samuel Adler, Ludwig Altmann, Herman Berlinski, Julius Chajes, Herbert Fromm, Max Janowski, Heinrich Schalit, Arnold Schoenberg, Kurt Weill, Stephan Wolpe, and others. According to the Festival literature, "Some of these composers are closely connected to the legacy of Lewandowski and continue to model their work on his choral music style; others, however, consciously sought to depart from it, finding new musical expressions in synagogue music that catered to the tastes of American Jewish culture."


Check out our Berlin blog for reflections and colorful anecdotes.

Zamir was honored to perform at the Pre-Opening Concert, this year held at the beautiful St. Lukas Kirche. Zamir's Saturday-evening concert took place at the Evangelische Hoffnungskirche zu Pankow. On Sunday night, the Grand Final Concert featured performances by all the choirs, singly and together, at the stunning Rykestrasse Synagogue. Zamir's set featured works by two composers who left Berlin to come to America, "Lekhu Leranenah" and "Mizmor LeDavid" by Shlomo Carlebach, and "Sim Shalom" by Max Janowski, with the solo by Zamir alumnus, Cantor Joel Caplan. According to Managing Director Barbara Gaffin, "The walls literally shook from the thunderous, rhythmic applause. We couldn't have been prouder to participate in this renaissance of Jewish choral music, bringing Zamir to Jews and non-Jews in the Berlin community." 

Board member

Read Zamir member Michael Levin's piece in the
Huffington Post.

Frumie Burns, wife of singer David Burns, described the experience in Berlin this way: "On Pesach we 

are told that we should feel grateful, as though we personally had been freed from bondage. This Hanukkah I felt that I personally partook in the re-dedication of the temple. It's quite a miracle to celebrate Chanukah in Berlin synagogues that were so brutally desecrated in recent history and are now full of life, beauty and, of course, song. Al HaNissim!"


The Berlin experience had a profound effect on Dvora Caspi, wife of singer Abba Caspi. "My grandparents were imprisoned in Terezin and murdered in Treblinka just two weeks before I was born," she wrote in an email, "and now I was about to sing Jewish music 'davka' [especially] in Berlin, in this beautiful synagogue that had once been used as a stable for the Nazi soldiers during the war years.


"I did not think I would ever want to come to Berlin, where the 'final solution' was decided upon, and yet here I was feeling uplifted by the beautiful music and human connections I was creating."


As always, visit our website for photos and more!
Zamir: Jewish Voices Return to Poland, the PBS documentary film about Zamir's historic Eastern European tour in 1999, was featured last August as part of the "Inferno in the Promised Land" project in Lodz, Poland. The film was screened in conjunction with a series of cultural and educational events that commemorated the liquidation of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto in Lodz in August 1944, when the last transports departed for Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Marek Edelman Dialogue Center, together with city authorities and the Jewish community of Lodz, sponsored the three-day anniversary event.

According to Center representative Tamara Skalska, "Reception of the movie was really lively and a lot of people have asked us if it would be possible to show this film again." Zamir is proud to contribute the film to the Center's archives as part of its mission to raise awareness in Europe about the Holocaust. You may view the catalogue 

here, including a summary of the film on page 37. 


Purchase Zamir: Jewish Voices Return to Poland.


WINTER 2015 

Dear Friends of Zamir,


New Year's greetings to you! At Zamir Central, we're barely catching our breath after an exciting fall season, including our return trip to the Louis Lewandowski Festival in Berlin, Germany. What an opportunity to participate in the rebirth of Jewish culture in Berlin as well as to share the richness of Jewish choral music with choirs from around the world. Read all about it in the left sidebar and enjoy our photo gallery and video clips. And stay tuned for two big spring concerts, including a performance of Handel's Israel in Egypt at Jordan Hall in March. May you and your loved ones be blessed in 2015 with good health, much happiness, and wonderful music.

In each issue of E-Notes, Artistic Director Joshua Jacobson offers his unique insights and experiences as a world-renowned scholar, composer, conductor, and influential teacher of Jewish music.


We came to Berlin not to mourn the Josh Jacobson Holocaust but to celebrate the rich Jewish culture of pre-war Germany. This was our second time participating in the annual Louis Lewandowski Festival. The Festival is now in its fourth year,

celebrating the beautiful music of the great nineteenth-century composer and music director of the majestic Oranienburgerstrasse Synagogue in Berlin. This year's festival, subtitled, "Stars and Stripes," focused on German composers who emigrated to the United States during the twentieth century.


Sharon Brown Goldstein lights Hanukkah candles at 
St. Lukas Kirche in Berlin.

After the Nazi party came to power in 1933 and instituted their policies, many Jewish composers became increasingly aware of their religious and cultural heritage and expressed it musically. Arnold Schoenberg, Stefan Wolpe, and Kurt Weill were among the greatest composers of their time. After leaving Germany, all three devoted much of their energies, emotions, and creative output to Jewish subjects. Other prominent refugees, including Herbert Fromm, Heinrich Schalit and Max Janowski, on arriving in America dedicated themselves to the music of the synagogue.


These were the composers we highlighted in our performances. The 

Pankow's Evangelische Hoffnungskirche

audiences' reactions could not have been more enthusiastic. We had three formal concerts. We were privileged to open the festival with a performance at St. Lukas Kirche. Saturday night we shared a concert with the Amakim Choir from Israel at Pankow's Evangelische Hoffnungskirche. And Sunday's concert at the Rykestrasse Synagogue featured all seven choirs: Zamir, Amakim, Ensemble Vocal Hébraïca from Strasbourg, the London Jewish Male Choir, Coro Ha-Kol from Rome, the Voices of Israel Ensemble from Netanya, and Berlin's Synagogue Ensemble.


This wasn't just a concert tour; it was a mission.
This festival is supported by a consortium of non-Jewish businessmen in Berlin. The founder and driving force is Nils Busch-Petersen, a lawyer and politician and chief executive of The Retail Associates of Berlin. Years ago, he fell in love with the music of Lewandowski as it is sung each Shabbat at the Pestalozzistrasse Synagogue in Berlin, and was one of the founders of the "Friends and Supporters of the Berlin Synagogue Ensemble."
Josh Jacobson interviewed by Berlin radio
In 2011, he founded the Lewandowski Festival, which is now in its fourth successful year. While Busch-Petersen is the overall director of the Festival, the musical direction is led by Regina Yantian, with the help of an advisory board that includes Sam Adler, Tina Freuhauf, Avner Itai, Eli Schleifer, and myself.


This wasn't just a concert tour; it was a mission. The Jewish community in Berlin today is growing. But most are recent Israeli or Russian immigrants who know nothing of the great pre-war German-Jewish traditions. And many (perhaps most) of the people in our audiences were non-Jews. So we had great sense of accomplishment in reviving German Jewish culture! 


For an expanded version of this essay, click here.


Listen to Zamir perform at Pankow's Evangelische Hoffnungskirche.

Chorus members, staff, and co-travelers

Hanukkah Happened!

On a rainy but mild December 24, Zamir joined Cantor Elias Rosemberg at Temple Emanuel in Newton for our special 25th "Hanukkah Happens" concert, "Seasons of Our Joy," featuring festive music for the Jewish holidays around the year. The always-enthusiastic audience enjoyed selections from the liturgical, folk, and classical repertoire. Lively narration and slides with translations framed the story of a year in Jewish holidays, revealing the significance of each celebration.


Highlights included two movements from Jeremiah Klarman's stunning Hallel, Shir V'Or, a Zamir commission,
 with the composer at the piano; a medley of Passover tunes, including "Mah Nishtana," "Betset Yisrael," and "Adir Hu," with Cantor Louise Treitman; Joshua Jacobson's stirring "Shavuot"; and solos by Cantor Rosemberg, including "V'Liyrusholayim Irkho" and "Untaneh Tokef." The band, including Ben Cooke on piano, Taki Masuko on percussion, Ryan Yure on clarinet, and John Shiu on bass, teamed up with the choir for a rousing encore and sing-along, "Lekha Dodi," with Gilbert Schiffer, solo. 


Thanks to Temple Emanuel and concert co-chairs Joyce Bohnen and Adam Weitzman and the entire music committee, as well as Rabbis Wesley Gardenswartz and Michelle Robinson, for hosting us once again. We look forward to the next quarter-century of Hanukkah Happens!


Listen to "Adonai Ori" and "Halleluyah," from Jeremiah Klarman's Hallel, Shir V'Or, a Zamir commission, with the composer at the piano. 
Hanukkah Happens 2014

A Light Through the Ages 

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh; photo by Elisif Andrews Brandon


On December 14, Zamir participated in the

annual Hanukkah celebration at the Central Reform Temple, a Classical Reform synagogue, at Emmanuel Church in Boston. "A Light Through the Ages," an original text by the event's creator, Rabbi Howard A. Berman, tells the tale of Hanukkah throughout Jewish history and is interwoven with musical selections. Newly elected Boston Mayor Marty Walsh attended the event, which ended with a beautiful candle-lighting ceremony to welcome in the holiday season. 

Josh Jacobson conducts Zamir at the Central Reform Temple. Photo by Elisif Andrews Brandon


An Afternoon at Temple Israel of Sharon

Larry and Jill Sandberg
Larry and Jill Sandberg sing "Aval Ahava." Photo by Mickey Goldin


On November 23, Zamir was hosted by Temple Israel of Sharon, in Sharon, Mass., for a full-spectrum concert featuring music from Zamir's wide-ranging repertoire, including works by Rossi, Secunda, Lewandowski, and Weill, as well as contemporary composers and Zamir friends Benjie-Ellen Schiller and Nick Page. Selections from the Berlin programs included "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt," with Anne Levy, soloist. The Temple's own Jill and Larry Sandberg entertained the packed and enthusiastic house with their rendition of Ahinoam Nini's "Aval Ahava." And, as has become tradition in recent years, the chorus surrounded the audience for John Rutter's prayerful and moving "The Lord Bless You" to end the afternoon's festivities.

Andrew Mattfeld sings Friedrich Holländer. 
 Photo by Larry Sandberg


Cabaret Night at the Goethe Institute


On November 10, members of the

Zamir Chamber Chorus performed a cabaret-style concert at Boston's historic Goethe Institute as a prelude to the Lewandowski Festival in Berlin. The concert included cabaret songs and music by Lewandowski and German-American-Jewish composers, including Hugo Adler, Max Janowski, Friedrich Holländer, and Hans Eisler. The audience enjoyed remarks by German Consul General Rolf Schütte and a solo performance by Zamir conducting intern Andrew Mattfeld of "Ich weiss nicht zu wem Ich gehöre," by Friedrich Holländer. We are grateful to the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, which partially sponsored the Berlin tour


As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends from around the world.  Stay warm, stay dry, and be well this winter, wherever you are. See you in the spring!



Barbara Gaffin             Deborah Sosin

Managing Director         Editor, E-Notes