NEWS - News of the Lodges
London 2012 inspires International Jewish Choral Concert
The beautiful West London Synagogue was the setting for an outstanding Gala Concert of choral music on Sunday, 17th June 2012. An appreciative audience, including many members of B’nai B’rith from numerous London lodges, enjoyed the performances of the Zemel Choir from London, the Vienna Jewish Choir, the Coro Hakol from Rome and the Ensemble Vocal Zamir from Paris.
The Zemel Choir was formed in 1955 and has established an international reputation with a large repertoire of Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Yiddish songs. They travel widely and have performed for radio and television. Their youthful Musical Director, Benjamin Wolf, Master of Ceremonies for the evening, has already made a name for himself in the musical world as a conductor, pianist, composer, singer and academic.
The principal repertoire of the Ensemble Vocal Zamir of Paris consists of Israeli songs as well as Yiddish, Ladino and Jewish melodies. The choir has given concerts in some of the famous concert halls of Paris such as le Casino de Paris, the Sorbonne auditorium, le Palais des Congrès and in various other cities of France. The Musical Director, Albert Benzaquen, is a qualified teacher of piano and studied at l’Ecole normale de musique de Paris.
The Coro Ha-Kol was formed in 1993 on the initiative of singers at the Great Synagogue of Rome who recognised the need to rediscover and publicise the beauty of Jewish music to audiences both within and beyond the synagogue. At the same time they wished to preserve and conserve the musical and liturgical heritage of the Jewish community of Rome, one of the oldest in Europe, which has been present in Rome for more than 2000 years. The choir is directed by Maestro Andrea Orlando.
An offshoot of the main choir is the relatively newly formed Coro da Camera Ha-Kol, a chamber choir formed specifically to perform music by Salamone Rossi, a Jewish composer of the 16th and 17th centuries who wrote in the style of the Italian Renaissance, and whose music they wish to preserve and disseminate.
The Vienna Jewish choir has been an important contributor to Jewish music and cultural exchange in Vienna since 1989. With a growing repertoire of Yiddish, Hebrew and Ladino songs, arranged by the renowned musician and conductor Roman Grinberg, it plays a vital part in the aim to make Jewish culture an integral part of life in Vienna once again. The choir has become so significant in the cultural life of Vienna that the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) has made two documentaries about the choir and its members.
The event at the West London Synagogue was of special significance to B’nai B’rith since part of the financial proceeds of the evening will help to finance the London Young Jewish Adult Forum in November.