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Dear Friends of Zamir, 

Happy 2020! As winter settles in to the Northeast, we're catching our breath from a busy, exciting (and for some of us, international) fall. In this issue, Artistic Director Josh Jacobson reflects on Zamir's December performance tour to the Louis Lewandowski Festival in Berlin, along with a photo album for your viewing pleasure. And we offer our fall roundup and look ahead to a new year and new decade, including our June season finale featuring works by women composers. Stay warm and healthy. See you in the spring!
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.
(Photo by Andy Weigl)
Last month 37 singers from the Zamir Chorale of Boston traveled to Berlin, Germany, to participate in the ninth annual  Louis Lewandowski Festival. Named for Louis Lewandowski (1821-1894), the great composer of choral music for Berlin's Oranienburgerstrasse Synagogue, the festival is led by its indefatigable founder, Nils Busch-Petersen, and its talented musical director, Regina Yantian.
Zamir is the only choir to have been invited to the festival  three times and the only choir to represent the United States.
Zamir is the only choir to have been invited to the festival three times and the only choir to represent the United States. The theme this year was music from the great synagogues of southern Germany-- music of Israel Mayer Japhet (1818-1892) in Frankfurt am Main; Max George L ö wenstamm (1814-1881), Emanuel Kirschner (1857-1938), and Heinrich Schalit (1886-1976) in Munich; and Hugo Adler (1894-1955) in Mannheim.

Josh with Sam Adler, son of composer Hugo Adler
Five excellent choirs participated in this year's festival: The Jerusalem Academy Chamber Choir, Stanley Sperber, conductor; the Berlin Synagogue Ensemble, Regina Yantian, conductor; the Baruch Brothers Choir from Belgrade, Stefan Zekic, conductor; the Moran Youth Choir from Israel, Naomi Faran, conductor; and Zamir.

Thursday night was the grand opening.
For the Jews of Germany...the cantata's
message of the transformation of a curse into a blessing was especially meaningful.
Three choirs, together with three soloists, narrator, and orchestra, all under the expert conducting of Dr. Emily Freeman Brown, performed the cantata
Balak und Bilam by Hugo Adler. Adler composed this work in 1934 for the Jü dische Kulturbund in Mannheim, and it continued to be performed in 30 other venues until 1938, when the situation for the Jews in Germany had become totally unbearable. For the Jews of Germany in those years, the cantata's message of the transformation of a curse into a blessing was especially meaningful. And that message reverberated strongly for those of us who revived it more than 80 years later.

On Friday we went to the Pestalozzistrasse Synagogue, where we participated in a concert of Lewandowski's music, followed by an all-Lewandowski Kabbalat Shabbat service, with many of the participating choirs joining the synagogue's excellent choir and cantor. 

The festive final concert,
Conductors Regina Yantian, Josh Jacobson, and
Emily Brown
in which e
ach choir performed several pieces by the South German composers, was held Sunday evening at the magnificent Rykestrasse Synagogue. Ably accompanied on the organ by our longtime keyboard collaborator, Edwin  Swanborn, Zamir performed Japhet's  "Hallelujah" and "Uvnucho Yomar" and Kohn's "Se'u Zimroh." For the brilliant finale, the five choirs, well over 100 voices, came together to perform Kirschner's "Hallelujah."
The festival was an extraordinary experience on many levels. We brought Jewish music back to Berlin. We revived a neglected body of beautiful repertoire that deserves to be heard again. We had a cultural exchange, socializing and singing (formally and spontaneously) with choral singers from around the world. We performed for sold-out houses (over 3,500 attendees!), and we participated in programs that were on the highest musical level. What a privilege!

Photos from Berlin Tour (visit zamir.org for more):
Performing at the Reinbeckhallen district Berlin 2019
Zamir performs at the Rykestrasse Synagogue with the Jerusalem Academy Chamber Choir, Berlin Synagogue Ensemble, the Baruch Brothers Choir from Belgrade, and the Moran Youth Choir from Israel
Zamir at the Rykestrasse Synagogue 2019
Zamir at the  Rykestrasse Synagogue  
Louis Lab Reinbeck Halls
Performing at Reinbeckhallen
As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. May 2020 bring you and yours peace, blessings, and harmony!   

Barbara Gaffin           Deborah Sosin        
Managing Director       Editor, E-Notes

Watch Our Halleluyoh Virtual Choir!
Virtual choir
Two performances:
Wednesday, June 10, and 
Thursday, June 11
7:30 pm
Slosberg Recital Hall,
Brandeis University, Waltham

In our season-ending concert, "Kolot Nashim: Jewish Music by Women Composers," we are delighted to offer music exclusively by women  composers, songwriters, and lyricists. Our performance will celebrate the many women who have created and are now creating songs and compositions based on Jewish texts and themes. The program includes works by Achinoam Nini, Benjie Ellen Schiller, Elena Kats-Chernin, Judith Shatin, Kirsten Lampl, Meira Warshauer, and Naomi Shemer, among others.

ALSO: We dnesday, May 20, 7:30 pm, Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington St, Auburndale, for a prelude to the concert: a symposium on Jewish Music by Women Conductors. C o-sponsored by Temple Reyim and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, the symposium  will feature a discussion on topics such as "Why have women been excluded from the canon for centuries?" and "What role did Jewish women play in promoting musical culture in early 19th-century Europe?" 

Ticket information for the concert and symposium will be available in February on  zamir.org.