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.
When life gives you lemons . . .
Well, here we are in the middle of the pandemic. Choir rehearsals can be deadly. Literally. That’s quite a bitter lemon. But choral conductors are learning to think outside the box. Instead of thinking of what we can’t do, we envision new ways of accomplishing our mission.
In Zamir, rehearsals have been restructured. We continue to meet weekly on Zoom. But since simultaneous singing on Zoom is impossible with current technology, we’ve devised other strategies, such as a master-class format and learning from guest conductors and scholars from all across the country.
Since we can’t perform concerts, we’ve been issuing weekly videos from our concert archive. And to create new performances, we’ve discovered the magic of virtual choirs.
For me, one of the great joys in this difficult time has been interviewing composers for our weekly messages. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking (virtually) with Zvi Sherf, Zvi Avni, Benjie Ellen Schiller, Dan Freelander & Jeff Klepper, and Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory. And there are more to come.
Last spring we were to have presented a concert and symposium on Women in Jewish Music (Kolot Nashim). Now we’ve reconfigured that program as a series of streaming presentations of performances and interviews.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Alice Parker (pictured above), award-winning composer, arranger, teacher, and collaborator with Robert Shaw, who will celebrate her 95th birthday in a few months. We spoke about the circumstances that led her to compose An American Kedushah, which we performed in 2001. I love the irony that this a cappella setting of the Jewish liturgy was commissioned by the American Guild of Organists, an organization of church musicians. At our November 17 event, you’ll be able to see a stunning performance plus the interview, along with other stimulating discussions and performances.
When life gives you lemons . . . make lemon meringue pie!
For centuries, kol ishah—the voice of a woman—was suppressed. Now we will hear from kolotnashim, the voices of many women, restoring them to their deserved position.
Join us for Part 1 of two live-streamed events, free and open to a worldwide audience. Each program will be co-hosted by Artistic Director Joshua Jacobson and conductor and Zamir alumna Lidiya Yankovskaya.
Our November 17 program will feature conversations with composers Nurit Hirsh, Alice Parker, and Meira Warshauer, as well as performances of their music.
The date for the second event is TBA.
We dedicate Kolot Nashim to the memory of Linda Plaut, z"l, (pictured right), Newton’s longtime Director of Cultural Affairs and founder of the Newton Festival of the Arts. We also will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment and to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, z"l. Register here.