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In This Issue
Josh Jacobson's Musings
Luca Shapiro Antonucci,
Gilbert Schiffer Elected Board Chair
Spotlight on Steve Ebstein
Spring Roundup: "awePsalm" and More
Josh Jacobson to Be Honored at NAJCF 2017
Sunday, July 16, 9:00 pm:
North American Jewish Choral Foundation, Hudson Valley Resort & Spa, Kerhonkson, NY
Zamir's chamber choir will perform as part of the opening night festivities at this year's NAJCF, held from July 16-20.
Later in the week
promoting excellence," in a special ceremony.
Foundation will honor Josh Jacobson and Eleanor Epstein, director of Zemer
the Hallel V'Zimrah Award "for their dedication to Jewish choral music and for their leadership in
Both Josh and Eleanor have led NAJCF classes and performances since the festival debuted in 1990 under the direction of the New York Zamir Chorale's conductor and NAJCF director Matthew Lazar.
Past honorees include Yehezkel Braun, Elie Wiesel, Theodore Bikel, David Burger, Sam Adler, and Flory Jagoda.
For more information, visit the
Zamir Choral Foundation
Fall Concert Preview, 2017
Sunday, October 29, 4:00 pm:
Concert at Temple Ohabei Shalom, 1187 Beacon St, Brookline, Mass. Tickets: Visit Temple Ohabei Shalom.
Monday, November 6, 7:30 pm: "Masterworks of Majesty," at Temple Beth Elohim,10 Bethel Rd, Wellesley, Mass., part of the Divine Majesty Series. Free admission, preregistration required. Details available in September.
Sunday, December 3, 4:00 pm: Concert at Temple Isaiah, 55 Lincoln St, Lexington, Mass.
Sunday, December 10, 4:00 pm:
Zamir returns to the annual "A Light Through the Ages" Hanukkah concert at the Central Reform Temple Boston, 15 Newbury St, Boston. Tickets: Visit Central Reform Temple.
Sunday, December 24, 2017, 7:30 pm: "Hanukkah Happens," in concert with Safam, at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St, Newton, Mass. Tickets: Visit Temple Emanuel.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Meet Our 2017-18
We are delighted to announce our new conducting intern for the 2017-18 season, Luca Shapiro Antonucci, of Watertown, Mass. Luca earned
his Master of Music at the Hartt School in Hartford, Conn., and studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the Arnold Schoenberg Center and University of
Vienna. He has extensive experience
as a choral and instrumental conductor as well as a trumpet
layer and music educator.
Luca is the founder of the Brookline
Chamber Singers and a member of the faculty of the Rivers
Summer Music program in Weston, Mass. He has also served as Assistant Conductor of the Pioneer Valley Symphony and Conductor of the Pione
er Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra.
"As a choral singer and conductor," writes Luca, "I have always been curious about Jewish choral music. I am very pleased to have been selected and I look forward to exploring the riches of this often-neglected repertoire with the members of the Zamir Chorale." Welcome aboard!
Zamir's conducting internship was established in September 2000 to train conductors in the area of Jewish choral music. The intern studies Jewish choral repertoire and conducting techniques, sings with the Chorale, and has opportunities to conduct the group in rehearsals and concerts.
Schiffer Elected New Zamir Board Chair
Sharon resident Gilbert Schiffer was elected Chair of the Board of Directors for the 2017-18 season at Zamir's annual board meeting held in June. A member of the tenor section, Gilbert has been singing with Zamir since 1993 and formerly served as board treasurer.
Peter Finn, a
Partner at the law firm of Rubin & Rudman, LLP, was reelected Clerk. Peter has served as Chair of the Board of
Zamir and is a longtime supporter of
After a year's break, Newton resident Jeff Rosenberg, Zamir's volunteer bookkeeper, returns as Treasurer.
Zamir is delighted to welcome two new board members: Elyse Friedman and Michael Victor.
Elyse has been a dedicated fan since Zamir's first
concert, featuring the music of Salomone Rossi. She works as a manuscript editor and is an active member of Newton's Temple Emanuel, where she leads services and reads Torah. After a 53-year-long hiatus, Elyse recently resumed playing the violin.
Mike has been singing as a bass with
Zamir since 1990. He worked for 43 years on software development and integration for Raytheon. For the last 15 years, he worked on an air traffic management project for the FAA. Since his retirement in 2012, Mike has volunteered his time providing software support for nonprofits, traveled, and spent time with his grandchildren.
The following board members were elected for the 2017-18 season:
Gilbert Schiffer, Chair
Peter Finn, Clerk
Jeff Rosenberg, Treasurer
ex-officio, Managing Director
ex-officio, Artistic Director
ex-officio, Chorus President
Lawrence E. Sandberg
Spotlight on . . .
In this month's "Spotlight" feature, we meet Steve Ebstein, our tenor section leader. Steve is a physicist and inventor who lives in Newton. We asked him a few questions about his Zamir experience.
Why and when did you join Zamir?
I joined in 1980, when I came to Boston to start my PhD studies. I always enjoyed singing and had sung in some Jewish youth choirs, and this seemed like an opportunity to take things to the next level. My first season, Josh was away, finishing his PhD. Phyllis Isaacson was a wonderful guest conductor, and we sang the Bloch Sacred Service, perhaps the greatest work of Jewish choral music.
Tell us about a highlight or memorable Zamir experience.
A major highlight was when Zamir sang at the first Holocaust commemoration at the United Nations in 2006. It was incredibly moving to represent the Jewish people in front of the world, though I do not recall that many UN delegates attended. I met a famous actress, Tovah Feldshuh, a congregant of the cantor who sang the solo in the "El Male Rachamim," Hazzan Jack Mendelson. I remembered her from the 1978 television miniseries Holocaust.
What does it mean to you to be part of the Zamir community?
It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of an amazing organization, sing wonderful music, and maintain my connection to Jewish music, which has always been a big part of my life.
In the good ol' summertime, after appearing at the North American Jewish Choral Festival in July, the Zamir family will take a short breather before embarking on our 49th concert season in the fall. In this issue, you'll find a sneak preview of next season's exciting offerings and meet our tenor section leader, Steve Ebstein, and new conducting intern, Luca Antonucci. We'll also look back on this spring's programs, including our "awePsalm" concert held on June 14 at Temple Emanuel. Below, Artistic Director Joshua Jacobson offers a poignant inside look at the reasons behind some recent repertoire choices. Enjoy your summer! See you in the fall.
|JOSH JACOBSON'S MUSINGS
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.
Sometime last fall I decided that I had to add three significant songs to our repertoire for the season. Irving Berlin's
"Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor" is a setting of the 1883 poem by Emm
a Lazarus that adorns the Statue of Liberty and welcomes refugees to our shores. "Ani Ve-ata Neshaneh Et Ha-olam" ("You and I Can Change the World") is a song written in 1971 by Arik Einstein and Miki Gabrielov, and has become a gentle anthem for those seeking to make the world a more hospitable place for all. In 2009, Ahinoam Nini and Mira Awad, an Israeli Jew and an Israeli Arab, teamed up to compose "There Must Be Another Way," a song that they describe as "a simple call to respect the humanity of others."
Songs can be powerful forces for change.
Songs can be powerful forces for change. Think of the impact in the 1960s here in the United States of Pete Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "If I Had a Hammer," and "We Shall Overcome." Abel Meeropol's "Strange Fruit," written in 1937 and made famous two years later by Billie Holiday, brought to light the injustice of racism and the horror of lynching. More than 200 years ago, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle's "La Marseillaise" became the rallying call of the French Revolution and an inspiration for freedom fighters throughout Europe. And Beethoven's 1824 setting of Schiller's "Ode to Joy" served as an inspiration and a powerful symbol for anti-monarchists and partisans of democracy. In 1989, Leonard Bernstein conducted a performance of Beethoven's Ninth
Symphony as an "Ode to Freedom" to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Composer William Parker wrote, "It is the role of the artist to incite political, social, and spiritual revolution, to awaken us from our sleep and never let us forget our obligations as human beings to light the fire of compassion." Conductor Robert Shaw wrote, "In a time when religious and political institutions are so busy engraving images of marketable gods and candidates that they lose their vision of human dignity, the arts have become the custodians of those values which most worthily define
humanity, which most sensitively define Divinity."
And noted author Salman Rush
wrote, "The fictions of literature declare themselves as fictions--they are lies which admit they are lies and are therefore able, at their best, to tell profound truths. The fictions of politics declare themselves
as truths and are therefore, often, just lies."
This is the time for us all to be singing "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor" and "Ani
Ve-ata Neshaneh Et Ha-olam" and "There Must Be Another Way."
On June 14, Temple Emanuel in Newton was packed for our season finale, "awePsalm," a diverse and exciting program of psalm settings from the Renaissance to the present. Honoree Robert Snyder, Zamir's outgoing board chair, received special recognition for his dedicated service, followed by a turn at the piano for the premiere of his jazzy setting of Psalm 1, entitled "Happy Is the Man." The orchestra and gathered voices performed works by Rossi, Schiller, and Debussy and many more, with accompanist Edwin Swanborn.
Other highlights included
||Josh Jacobson thanks the audience after a standing ovation.
excerpts from Jeremiah Klarman's "Hallel Shir V'Or," with the composer at the piano; a moving setting of Psalm 90 by Charles Ives; Simon Sargon's stirring "Hallel 2000"; and Karl Jenkins's percussive "Tehillim," a setting of Psalm 150.
|Zamir singers and alums gather at the post-concert reception. (L-R) Leila Joy Rosenthal; Barbara Wild, alumna; Deborah Melkin; Johanna Ehrmann; Debbie Sosin, alumna and E-Notes editor
But the climax of the evening was Bernstein's
with a group of Zamir alumni lending their voices to the performance; and the able soloist, Sam Higgins, offering a beautiful rendition of the "Adonai Ro'i." Afterward, many in the enthusiastic audience exclaimed that this might have been the "best Zamir concert ever. Simply awesome!" Thanks to all who contributed to this wonderful tribute to Robert Snyder.
If you missed "awePsalm" and would like to learn more about the music behind the Psalms, watch these informative videos, created by Josh Jacobson:
Community Spirit at Boston's Vilna Shul
On April 9, Zamir performed at the historic Vilna Shul on Beacon Hill in downtown Boston as part of "
Voices of Freedom Chorale Concert," a multicultural event featuring Voices 21C, directed by Andre de Quadros, a diverse choir dedicated to positive interactions, social justice, and global understanding; and the Boston Community Gospel Choir, directed by Dennis Slaughter.
The three choirs performed individual sets representing Jewish, Muslim, and Christian cultures respectively, then a joint set. Zamir's solo set included Israeli, classical, and Yiddish tunes, including "Uri Tsafon," "
Samachti," "Dona Dona," and "Lift Thine Eyes" from Mendelssohn's Elijah. The rousing joint set included renditions of "Would You Harbor Me?" (de Quadros conducting); "Total Praise," (Slaughter conducting); and "Akanadmada" ("We Have the Power"), conducted by Zamir's assistant conductor, Andrew Mattfeld, who ably led the group in Josh Jacobson's stead.
|AUDITIONS COMING IN SEPTEMBER
If you are an experienced singer with a strong choral background, consider joining the Zamir Chorale of Boston. All voice parts welcome!
Auditions for the 2017-18 season will be held:
Sun., Sept. 24
7:30 - 9:00 pm
160 Herrick Rd. Newton, Mass.
Auditions are by appointment only and must be scheduled in advance by emailing
In addition to the audition, candidates are required to attend open rehearsals at Hebrew College on Tuesday, September 12, and Tuesday, September 19, 7:15-10:00 pm.
Candidates must have excellent vocal quality, the ability to sightread music, and previous choral experience. Visit our website for further details.
|SAVE THE DATE FOR "MASTERWORKS OF MAJESTY"
The Zamir Chorale of Boston presents
Masterworks of Majesty
part of the Divine Majesty Series*
Mon., November 6, 2017, 7:30 pm
at Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley
Joshua R. Jacobson, Artistic Director
What makes music great? What makes music sacred? What makes music popular? We will be investigating these issues through performance of some of the greatest and most popular synagogue music of the 19th century, music that is still being sung after more than 150 years.
Tickets available in September.
*The Divine Majesty Series is made possible by an anonymous underwriter in memory of Mary Wolfman Epstein and
Cantor Barney Mould.
|KEEP IN TOUCH!
As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. Have a happy, healthy, and relaxing summer!
Managing Director Editor, E-Notes