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The Zemel Choir: Zemel Goes Stateside

 

The Zemel Choir: Celebrate With Song

Sacred Days of Strasbourg

Click on the flyer to find out about this multi-faith event we are performing in

Drawing Life

 

The Zemel Choir 

The Zemel Choir, established by Dudley Cohen in 1955, is proud of its international reputation as one of the world’s finest mixed-voice Jewish choirs. Our wide-ranging repertoire embraces all the traditional Jewish cultures, Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Yiddish and Israeli. We regularly perform in major venues throughout the U.K. and overseas, and, besides singing well-known favourites, are particularly proud to present new music from contemporary composers. Recent highlights include two performances at Westminster Abbey: a service to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau (February 2015) and a ‘Service of Solemn Remembrance and Hope on the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht ‘(2013).

 

In 2012 we hosted the first European Jewish Choral Festival, an event which subsequently took place in Vienna and Rome, before returning to London in 2015. As one of the founder members of the European Association of Jewish Choirs (EUAJC) we attended the next festival in Israel in 2016 and the most recent one in St Petersburg in 2017. This year we are travelling to Lviv in the Ukraine for the 2018 Festival. Our Celebrate with Song events (now called Come & Sing), which aim to raise the profile of Jewish choral music through workshops and performances, have now been running for ten years. Recent installments have taken place in collaboration with West London Synagogue and London’s Jewish cultural hub, JW3, while a regular series of workshops in 2016 and 2017 culminated in a concert in June 2017. In recent years we have also performed at London venues including the South Bank Centre and V&A museum, and have performed twice for the Mayor of London.

 

In 2005 the Choir celebrated its Golden Anniversary with a concert at St John’s, Smith Square, while its 60th anniversary event took place in November 2015. TV and Radio appearances have included the 1986 live television and radio broadcast of Kaddish for Terezin from Canterbury Cathedral, the Expressions of Reconciliation and Hope service in York Minster in 1990, a Holocaust Day commemoration edition of Radio 4’s Sunday Worship in January 2001, and, in January 2005, an edition of BBC1’s Songs of Praise, The Holocaust Remembered. In 2016 the choir was featured in a special feature on I24 News (an Israeli news channel).

 

We have travelled extensively to the U.S.A., Canada, Israel, and Eastern and Western Europe. European visits have included performances to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (Poland, 1993), a tour of Eastern Europe (2001), tours of Belgium, France and Luxembourg (2007), and a number of collaborations with the Polyphonies Hébraïques de Strasbourg (in both Strasbourg and London). In 2014 we performed at the Sacrées Journées de Strasbourg, while in 2011 we performed at the inagural Louis Lewandowski Festival in Berlin. In 2013 we made a two-week visit to America and Canada. Visits to Israel have included a 1996 trip to the Zimriyah Festival, at which the choir sang live on Israel Radio, and tours in 2009 and 2016. The choir returning again to Berlin in December 2017.

 

The choir has made a number of recordings, some of which are available both as CDs and digital downloads. These include a compilation of the music of Louis Lewandowski, an album of music from the English Jewish music tradition, and a selection of some of the lighter items in the choir’s repertoire. Its most recent recording – Zemel Goes Stateside – features music that was performed as part of the choir’s 2013 USA tour.


The Choir is committed to educational and charitable activities. It regularly gives concerts in care homes and for established charities, most recently for MQ (a mental health charity), Tzedek (a charity which is involved in educational projects in Africa) and the Alzheimer’s Society. The choir runs an annual workshop and joint concert with school children from the Goldbeaters and Orion Primary Schools in North West London. Through this work we introduce Jewish music to mixed faith children and their families, which encourages the development and love of music with a religious or spiritual theme in young people.

 

The choir has maintained its reputation as a result of professional musical direction, and a strong commitment to rehearsals by its members. We come together not only to sing, but to be part of a warm and friendly social group. We are always happy to welcome new members. To find out more about us, visit our website at www.zemelchoir.org, engage with us on Facebook and Twitter and Youtube, or phone our membership secretary, Doreen Havardi on 020-8868 8423