Professor Joshua Jacobson led the Zamir Chorale in a concert tour of Berlin in December. The tour was particularly meaningful for the Chorale, which specializes in Jewish Music. Jacobson explains:
We came to Berlin not to mourn the Holocaust but to celebrate the rich Jewish culture of pre-War Germany.
This was our second time participating in the annual Louis Lewandowski Festival. The festival is now in its fourth year, celebrating the beautiful music of the great nineteenth century composer and music director of the majestic Oranienburgerstrasse synagogue in Berlin. This year’s festival, subtitled, “Stars and Stripes” focused on German composers who emigrated to the United States during the twentieth century.
After the Nazi party came to power in 1933 and instituted their policies, many Jewish composers became increasingly aware of their religious and cultural heritage, and expressed it musically. Arnold Schoenberg, Stefan Wolpe and Kurt Weill were among the greatest composers of their time. After leaving Germany, all three devoted much of their energies, emotions and creative output to Jewish subjects. Other prominent refugees, including Herbert Fromm, Heinrich Schalit and Max Janowski, on arriving in America dedicated themselves to the music of the synagogue.
These were the composers we highlighted in our performances. The audiences’ reactions could not have been more enthusiastic. We had three formal concerts. We were privileged to open the festival with a performance at St. Lukas Kirche. Saturday night we shared a concert with the Amakim Choir from Israel at Pankow’s Evangelische Hoffnungskirche. And Sunday’s concert at the Rykestrasse Synagogue featured all seven choirs: Zamir, Amakim, Ensemble Vocal Hébraïca from Strasbourg, the London Jewish Male Choir, Coro Ha-Kol from Rome, the Voices of Israel Ensemble from Netanya, and Berlin’s Synagogue Ensemble.
These were the events:
December 18, 2014 — Zamir Chorale of Boston concert, St. Lukas in Kreuzberg, Berlin
December 20, 2014 — Zamir Chorale of Boston concert, Huffnungskirche, Pankow, Berlin
December 21, 2014 — Zamir Chorale of Boston concert, Rykestrasse Synagog , Berlin
December 21, 2014 — lecture “From Out of the Depths: Six German-Jewish composers who fled to the U.S. in 1933″ for the Lewandowski Festival, Crowne Plaza Hotel , Berlin