Performing on concert stages throughout North America, Europe, and Israel, the award-winning Zamir Chorale of Boston awakens audiences to the exotic rhythms of the Middle East to the majestic anthems of 19th-century European synagogues, from the romances of Spain to the chants of Yemen, and from contemporary American jazz to the much-loved Yiddish tunes of Jewish musical theater.
Founded in 1969, the Zamir Chorale of Boston’s mission is to awaken audiences to the breadth and beauty of Jewish culture. Zamir educates, inspires and entertains through performances, symposia, recordings, publications and the commissioning of new musical works.
Led by Founder and Artistic Director Dr. Joshua Jacobson, the fifty member chorus performs music spanning hundreds of years, four continents, and nearly every musical style. Zamir’s repertoire includes Jewish liturgical pieces, major classical works, music of the Holocaust, new compositions, as well as Israeli, Yiddish, and Ladino folksongs. Concerts are designed to entertain, educate and inspire, which is why Zamir’s music is enjoyed by people of all ages, religions and races.
Zamir’s devoted local following is exemplified by its special recognition by and support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, Zamir has a far-reaching fan base through its 25 recordings and tours throughout the US, as well as in Israel and Europe. Zamir’s documentary film, Jewish Voices Return to Poland, has been shown on public television stations across the US. In 2006, Zamir was honored to perform at the UN General Assembly for the first International Day to Commemorate Victims of the Holocaust.
Zamir’s community involvement includes mentoring future leaders in Jewish choral music and collaborating with other choruses through joint performances.
Joshua Jacobson, a world authority on choral music, served 45 years as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northeastern University, including nine years as Music Department Chairman and six years as the Bernard Stotsky Professor of Jewish Cultural Studies. He is also Visiting Professor and Senior Consultant in the School of Jewish Music at Hebrew College, where he received an honorary doctorate degree. Dr. Jacobson is a sought-after scholar and lecturer. His many musical arrangements and compositions are performed worldwide. His book, Chanting the Hebrew Bible: The Art of Cantillation (Jewish Publication Society, 2002), is considered the definitive source in the field. Dr. Jacobson’s colorful programming and illuminating commentary make every Zamir performance a masterwork.
Zamir Chorale of Boston is Choir-in-Residence at Temple Reyim in Newton and a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium. Zamir is funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the generous support of its loyal supporters.
Letters from Composers to the Zamir Chorale of Boston
It isn’t often that I am moved to tears in the middle of the day during a convention performance, but Zamir did just that with its passionate, committed singing. Josh Jacobson, an outstanding scholar, gifted conductor and advocate for Jewish music, presented a fascinatingly diverse program illustrating some of the many facets of Jewish musics. The quality and musicianship of the group is unmatched; the repertoire and presentation, mind-opening.”
Your concert was in the first rank of choral experiences that have enthralled me for beauty of tone, expression, accuracy of pitch, diction and spiritual significance. Your performance of ‘The Peaceable Kingdom’ was second to none.”
Above all, I want to congratulate you on the wonderful singing. The Zamir Chorale is a really first-rate group, as I’ve always known, but still I was in awe of the marvelous phrasing and high musicality throughout.”
I was so pleased and impressed with the reading of my piece. The choral sound was so fine, and the way you shaped the lines was eminently satisfying.”
As I reflect on the ways the Zamir Chorale of Boston has been formative in my professional and personal life, I realize that I attempt to embody in my own life and work many of the values Zamir represents for all of us:
~ artistic integrity, bringing respect to the interpretation of music of any given tradition, and honoring the inherent cultural and stylistic idiom from which that tradition emanates;
~ community, the value of welcoming each and every voice, of listening to one another and making harmony within diversity;
~ heritage and devotion to our people; bringing the richness of our tradition, in all its color and vibrancy, to the larger world.”