Past Performances

The Zemel Choir is proud the range of Jewish Music we sing. Below is a sample of previous concerts given and some of the music they contained. 


Zemel Choir Tour to Vienna

Thu, 18 May 2023 to Mon, 22 May 2023
 


Sha'arei Tsedek Synagogue Presents: Freedom Concert in aid of World Jewish Relief Ukraine Crisis Appeal

Sun, 26 Mar 2023
 

Spice of Life: London

Sun, 29 Jan 2023
 

Spice of Life: Brighton

Sun, 22 Jan 2023

Spice of Life  - A Celebration of Jewish Music Featuring Merlin and Polina Shepherd Duo

Brighton 

Join the Zemel Choir, the UK's Leading Mixed Voice Jewish Choir, together with Merlin & Polina Shepherd Duo for a night of Jewish Music from around the world.. These concerts promise to be exciting and engaging. With a focus of Klezmer, Yiddish and Ladino music you will hear the full bredth of the Jewish music World.
 

Ukraine Charity Concert

Sun, 11 Dec 2022

Harmony and solidarity comes to a Central London venue on 11th December as the internationally celebrated Zemel choir, in partnership with World Jewish Relief, present a concert in aid of the WJR Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

The concert will included music by Jewish Ukrainian composers, music celebrating European Jewish culture, and music celebrating the upcoming festival of Chanukah. The programme will include compositions by composers including Janowski and Finkelstein. The evening will feature video message and pre-recorded performance from the Shrtudel band, a well-known Ukrainian Jewish singing group.
Guest soloists included Cantor Robert Brody, Cantor Paul Heller, Ann Sadan, Julieta Kunik and Benjamin Seifert accompanied by Dr Franklyn Gellnick.


During the event, the British ambassador to Ukraine, H E Melinda Simmons, will make a special online appearance with an exclusive address from Ukraine. The President of the WJR and former president of the Board of Deputies, Henry Grunwald OBE KC is compering the evening.



Handel's "Judas Maccabaeus"

Sun, 13 Nov 2022
A co-production of Handel's oratorio with, The Royal Free Music Society Choir and Kensington Philharmonic Orchestra.

A performance of Handel's "Judas Maccabaeus" at the Free Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb., The Zemel Choir, Royal Free Music Society and Kensington Philharmonic Orchestra, together with soloists Maud Millar (Soprano), Helen Stanley (Mezzo Soprano), Ed Hastings (Tenor) and Benjamin Seifert (Baritone), under the musical direction of Benjamin Wolf, entertained a full church, who enjoyed the evening immensely.

 


The Zemel Choir Celebrates Dudley Cohen's 90th Birthday

Thu, 19 May 2022

A concert at Belsize Square Synagogue to celebrate the 90th birthday of Dudley Cohen, the choir’s founder.

It was a most enjoyable event, conducted by Benjamin Wolf and accompanied by Franklyn Gellnick on piano, organ and bass guitar!
We sang a wide selection of repertoire, most of which had been composed or arranged by Dudley, some of which he himself conducted last night, with his wife, former chorister Joan, joining us for some of the pieces and with one of their grandsons, Sam Scheer, also conducting one of Dudley’s pieces.

The concert’s encore was a rousing rendition of everyone singing Dudley ‘Happy Birthday’.
 


Faithful Voices: Gala Concert

Sun, 27 Mar 2022

The final concert of the interfaith festival took place at West London Synagogue, and featured performances by prominent amateur groups from different faith backgrounds alongside the professional choir of West London Synagogue. The Zemel Choir, The Professional Choir of West London Synagogue, The London International Gospel Choir & The Mixed-Up Chorus.

Conductors Richard Hills, Jeremy Haneman, Matt Bain, Benjamin Wolf



Faithful Voices: Thursday Concert

Thu, 24 Mar 2022
A concert featuring the Zemel Choir alongside professional performers from various faith backgrounds. Repertoire will include core works from the Hindu, Christian and Jewish liturgy, alongside music composed for interfaith purposes and music by Christian composers created for Jewish worship. 


Faithful Voices: Workshops

Sun, 20 Mar 2022

FAITHFUL VOICES: WORKSHOPS

Workshop 1: Introduction to Vedic Chanting in the Hindu faith - Divyanand Caird
 

Workshop 2: London International Gospel Choir Workshop (Gospel Spirituals) - Matt Bain
 

Workshop 3: Niggunim (Songs without Words) - Polina Shepherd

 

Workshop 4:  Kirtan - Ananda Monet

 



A Service Of Solemn Remembrance And Hope On The 80th Anniversary Of Kristallnacht

Thu, 8 Nov 2018

 In November 2018 The Zemel Choir marked the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, (‘Night of the broken glass’) where on the 9th and 10th November 1938,  the Nazis carried out a massacre of the Jews in Germany and Austria.  To commemorate this horrific event, Westminster Abbey is holding a service of solemn remembrance and hope. How poignant is it that the world has just witnessed another massacre of Jews in Pittsburgh?

This is the third time that the choirs of Belsize Square and West London Synagogues, along with the Zemel Choir, have performed for a service of this kind. Under the direction of Dr. Benjamin Wolf,  these services have sought to provide music that is appropriate for the purpose of Holocaust commemoration, while also remaining true to elements of both Jewish and Christian liturgical practice. During the service they will perform a selection of music that spans many hundreds of years, including compositions by three living composers.

Four Rabbis will be officiating in the service including Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg and Rabbi Baroness Neuberger DBE, alongside the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr John Hall. There will also be personal testimonies of survivors. 

The service begins with organ music by Walter Arlen (born Aptowitzer). Arlen was born in Vienna in 1920 (he is now ninety-eight years old) and fled that city in 1939. He has spent most of his adult life in the USA, where he worked for many years as music critic for the Los Angeles Times. His compositions have been discovered and performed relatively recently (the first CD of his music came out only six years ago), and many of them are inspired by his direct memories of Kristallnacht, as well as the memory of his father’s removal to Buchenwald, and of his mother’s subsequent suicide. The organ music at the end of the service is by Ernest Bloch – an earlier (and more famous) Jewish √©migr√© composer who also spent most of his life in the USA, and his known for music that combines both classical and Jewish musical traditions.

The service is introduced by one of the earliest pieces of Jewish choral music. Composed by Salamone Rossi—a Jewish musician who worked for the Gonzaga court in Mantua in the sixteenth century—this is one of a collection of compositions through which Rossi brought the world of contemporary polyphony into the synagogue. The famous text of Psalm 137 is also appropriate, recalling a previous era when Jews went into exile as a result of violence. The service continues with a traditional High Holyday melody (Shema Koleinu) that is sung throughout the Anglo-Jewish communities, and with music by Louis Lewandowski, Director of Music at the Neue Synagoge in Berlin, and the most famous composer of nineteenth-century Jewish choral music. His music formed part of the liturgy that was familiar to German Jews of the 1940s, is regularly performed at Belsize Square Synagogue, and is an important part of the Anglo- Jewish repertoire. The Enosh Ke’Chatzir is probably his most famous memorial piece. The short excerpt from his Deutsche Schul-Lieder, however, has probably not been performed since the nineteenth century. This collection of songs was created for the children that he taught at a Jewish school in Berlin. It was evidently popular in its time, as it ran to five editions, but these songs for children have not achieved the same ongoing popularity as his liturgical music. The short song that will be performed seems particularly evocative as it speaks of children seeking shelter.

Aside from Arlen, living composers are represented in Malcolm Singer’s Meditation and Cecilia McDowall’s Through a Glass Darkly. Singer’s piece was composed in memory of Rabbi Hugo Gryn, a Holocaust survivor and former Rabbi of West London Synagogue who was very involved in inter-faith dialogue. This evocative piece concludes with an arrangement of Nurit Hirsch’s famous setting of the Oseh Shalom (may he who makes peace in the highest bring peace to all of us). McDowall’s composition was commissioned by the Zemel Choir and the Jewish Music Institute for Westminster Abbey’s Kristallnacht Commemoration in 2013, and will be performed again for this event.


See more at www.westminster-abbey.org/abbey-news/kristallnacht-80th-anniversary

 

Zemel Goes Stateside

Tue, 21 May 2013

In 2013 the Zemel Choir went stateside. Last seen by US audiences in 1987, the UK’s leading mixed-voice Jewish choir went on 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).

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