European Association of Jewish Choirs

Zemel is a founder member of EUAJC

Meet Nicky Gluch

2018/19 Zemel Junior Conducting Fellow

Nicky Gluch is looking forward to working with the Zemel Choir as Junior Conducting Fellow after having made a big impression with us at the 2017 Lewandowsky Festival in Berlin. Nicky made her conducting debut with the Eastern Sydney Chamber Orchestra and has since gone on to conduct choral-orchestral projects of her own. Having undertaken a Masters degree, Nicky’s interests include exploring aspects of conducting in the 21st Century and this year Nicky started working on her PhD. 

Recent Yom Hashoah Concert at JW3

Tickets available now from JW3

Tickets available now from JW3

Entries in benjamin wolf (2)


World Premiere of "Armistice" to comemorate Centenary of WW1 Armistice

Press Release

World Premiere of “Armistice” composed by Dr. Benjamin Wolf, in Concert to commemorate the Centenary of the Armistice of WW1

“It’s exciting to hear a hundred voices sing aloud what I’ve had in my head all these months!  There’s still work to be done, but it’s coming together in rehearsal,’ reflects Benjamin Wolf about his new piece, ‘Armistice’, which gets its world premiere on Sunday 18th November. 
The 40-minute oratorio will be performed by the Zemel Choir and the Royal Free Music Society and accompanied by members of the Wallace Ensemble, conducted by Wolf.  He is the Musical Director of all three North London groups.  They will be joined by soloists, Charlotte-Anne Shipley (sop) and Edmund Hastings (tenor).
‘Armistice’ was composed especially for this concert to mark 100 years since the end of World War One – and to remember the millions of war dead.   
The oratorio’s text is taken from haunting First World War poems and sacred funerary texts all set to original music, combined with arrangements of World War 1 songs. 
“It’s a contemplative work and the songs and poems have been carefully arranged so they feed into each other.  It doesn’t tell a narrative story but hopefully it tells an emotional story,” says Wolf.  
He has selected the powerful words of war poets Laurence Binyon (“For the Fallen”), John McCrae, who wrote one of the most popular wartime poems “In Flanders Field” following the death of a friend in battle, and Charles Hamilton Sorley (“When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead”), who died when he was just twenty - one of the more than 80,000 Allied and German casualties at the 1915 Battle of Loos.
“The poets were responding to what they saw at the time and I’ve set the poems mainly as solo arias.  I wanted to use the First World War songs differently - as comments, or representations of the soldiers themselves singing.  I was partly inspired by the way that Tippett uses spirituals in ‘A Child of Our Time’, so the new music is interspersed with familiar melodies which have their own impact.”
The work sees new arrangements of “Keep the Home Fires Burning”, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” and “Roses of Picardy” – songs popular with both wartime soldiers and their loved ones back home, and familiar to modern-day audiences as well.
“I enjoyed arranging the First World War songs,” says Wolf.  “The songs have their own identity, and although they aren’t inherently cheerful, they are in a popular style and provide a lighter element.  Some of the poems are pretty hard – and the music is meant to be a contemplative, it’s not cheerful.  In terms of style, I would say that the whole piece is fairly accessible but within the traditions of Twentieth Century music.” 
Wolf, who is 41, lives in North London. He studied at Oxford University, Trinity College of Music, King’s College London and Royal Holloway.  He is now Senior Lecturer in Music at Regent’s University, London. This is his first long choral work.  Previous compositions include music for concert hall and theatre, including two concertos.  His main focus has been on Jewish music – and in ‘Armistice’ Wolf includes a beautiful section in Hebrew.  
“There is one movement that combines religious funeral texts - from the Book of Common Prayer and from Psalm 144 which is sung in Hebrew.  I included this partly because the Zemel Choir is performing and partly because November 18th is also AJEX (The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women) Day, which commemorates Jewish servicemen in both world wars.  So it still has that memorial element, but it is not completely located in World War 1.” 
Tickets are still available - - for the concert, which starts at 7.30pm on Sunday 18th November at the Free Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb.  It will also include the tender and haunting ‘The Spirit of England’ by Sir Edward Elgar and music by Ravel, Schubert and Finzi.



Zemel goes Stateside


Contact: Anthony Cohen

Organisation: The Zemel Choir-The UK’s Leading Jewish Choir

Subject: “Zemel goes Stateside”

Venues: 21st May Temple Kehillath Israel, Boston, MA

              22nd May Temple Emanuel, Providence, RI

              25th May Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI

              26th May The Hampton Synagogue, Westhanpton Beach, NY

              28th May Temple Israel, New Rochelle, NY

              30th May Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, Montreal

Tel: +44 (0)7770-345679



Twenty-five years on and the Zemel Choir is going stateside. Last seen by US audiences in 1987, the UK’s leading mixed-voice Jewish choir is looking forward to a whistlestop tour of the East Coast and Canada, with concerts in Boston, Rhode Island, Long Island, New Rochelle and Montreal. You remember the Spice Girls, you’ve heard Adele, you’ve listened to Mumford and Sons. Now, armed with two cantors and a tour bus, the Zemel Choir brings you its very own British invasion (but without the spangly Union Jack dresses).

The Zemel Choir is known for its wide repertoire, punchy performances and the enjoyment that its choristers bring to their audiences. It has performed at many of London’s principal concert venues, and has also participated in significant cross-community events, including recent performances for the Mayor of London and the BBC’s Songs of Praise. In recent years the choir has also become increasingly focussed on its links with Jewish organisations throughout the world, representing the UK at the inaugural Lewandowski Festival in Berlin in 2011, and hosting its own International Jewish Choral Festival in London as part of the Cultural Olympiad of 2012. It has also toured Europe, giving concerts in Paris, Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg, while in 2009 it visited Israel. A visit to our cousins in the US is long overdue, so come and listen to some of the best in British, American and international Jewish choral music.

The Zemel Choir performs a wide repertoire, including music in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and English. Some music will be familiar, featuring North American composers such as Joshua Jacobson, Sholom Secunda, Steve Cohen and David Shukiar. We will also be performing music by the great composers of British Jewish choral music, Samuel Alman, Abraham Saqui and Julius Mombach, as well as by living British composers such as Stephen Glass, Cecilia McDowell and the choir’s musical director, Benjamin Wolf. From liturgy to Leonard Cohen, Zemel’s performances promise something for everyone.

The Zemel Choir’s concerts will benefit from the participation of two cantors from the UK. Robert Brody is the regular cantorial soloist with the Zemel Choir. He has recorded for RCA, EMI and the BBC, as well as participating in services and concerts throughout England, Europe, Israel, Canada and the U.S.A. Richard Newman is a recent graduate of Trinity College of Music (London) and is now based in Jerusalem and studying to become a full-time cantor. The Zemel Choir will also perform with their musical director, Benjamin Wolf, who is known as a choral and orchestral conductor, singer, composer and academic, and by the wonderfully versatile Michael Cayton on piano and organ. The choir is also delighted to be performing with cantors Natanel Hershtik, Brian Mayer, Erik Contzius and Gideon Zelermyer. From the land of afternoon tea to the land of the free, this promises to be a tour full of fun, friendship and beautiful music.

For further information about the choir and its performances, visit