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Giving voice to those who had been silenced

December 16, 2011 via news@Northeastern

In 1969, Northeastern University music professor Joshua Jacobson founded the Zamir Chorale of Boston, a nonprofit chorus that has performed Jewish liturgical pieces, major classical works and songs of the Holocaust in Israel, Italy, England, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic.This week, the group will perform in Germany for the first time.

Zamir will perform in Berlin today, Dec. 16, through Sunday, Dec. 18, as United States representatives at the inaugural Louis Lewandowski Festival, which will honor the legacy of the great 19th century German composer of synagogal music. The chorus will also perform a special concert at the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

“The idea of performing this music where it was originally composed is stunning,” said Jacobson, who will conduct the 35-member touring choir. “We’re giving voice to those who had been silenced.”

He praised Germany for its educational programs in support of combating anti-Semitism. “I have been very impressed by the admission of the wrongdoings of the Holocaust and the incredible effort of the government to support the revival of Jewish life and culture in Germany,” Jacobson said.

He looks forward to exploring Berlin, which he called an “incredibly beautiful and cultured city.” As Jacobson put it, “It’s known for its buildings, museums and especially for its music and great composers.”

Zamir members won’t have much time to rest after they return from Berlin. On Dec. 22, the chorus will perform music from the Spanish (Sephardic) tradition at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Mass.

For Jacobson, the music never stops. Over the last four decades, he has served as a guest conductor for a number of ensembles, including the Boston Pops orchestra. He has conducted the Northeastern University Choral Society since 1972.

A few weeks ago, the Northeastern chorus performed a selection of Schubert, Vivaldi and Mendelssohn for a sold-out audience of family and friends at the Fenway Center.

“My students were fabulous,” Jacobson said. “They have developed such a high level of musicianship and care about the music so much.”

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