HAZAMIR TEEN CHOIR CELEBRATES 20 YEARS IN GALA CONCERTS AT JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ON MARCH 17
300 SINGERS FROM ACROSS U.S. AND ISRAEL TO PERFORM. NEW KINOR DAVID AWARD TO BE INAUGURATED
300 singers from 22 cities across the U.S. and Israel take part in the 20th anniversary concerts of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Sunday March 17. The back-to-back concerts, at 3pm and at 6:30pm, are the annual culmination of a year-long teen program sponsored by the Zamir Choral Foundation in New York. Zamir is the only organization of its kind to use Jewish choral singing as a vehicle to foster Jewish identity, community and continuity.
The concerts span a wide range of classical and contemporary musical selections, with mostly Hebrew texts. Adina Avery-Grossman and Harman Grossman, both active supporters of HaZamir, will receive the Zamir Foundation’s first Kinor David Award. Two world premieres by composers Steve Cohen and Natasha Hirschhorn, commissioned for the occasion, will be featured. Special tribute will be paid to composer and cantor Lawrence Avery. Matthew Lazar, founder and director of the Zamir Choral Foundation, will share the stage with conductors of HaZamir’s local chapters, who have all worked on the same repertoire in their respective cities throughout the year.
“This 20th anniversary milestone signals HaZamir’s continuing growth, and sets a tone for our future,” says Maestro Lazar, who is a leading force in Jewish choral movement. “HaZamir’s mission to cultivate dynamic engagement between young Jews of different backgrounds resonates, resulting in a growing demand for new chapters. Not only do we strive to build understanding and respect across denominational lines, but we find that our message of pluralistic Judaism is especially meaningful for our Israeli counterparts and for those of us here who believe strongly in the values of Zionism.”
Throughout the week leading up to the concerts, the singers from HaZamir Israel, hosted by American HaZamir families, perform in schools throughout the Greater New York area, serving as ambassadors for Israel. All 300 HaZamir singers come together for a three-day rehearsal and retreat in preparation for the concerts. “This whirlwind series of events is about more than music,” notes Vivian Lazar, director of HaZamir. “It builds bonds through our shared experience and provides an opportunity for HaZamir to honor dedicated leaders and pay special tribute to Cantor Lawrence Avery, grandfather of a HaZamir alumna and father of honoree Adina… three generations of Jewish musical engagement.”
Chapters are from nearby communities in Bergen County, New Brunswick, Caldwell, and Cherry Hill in New Jersey; Long Island and Westchester, as well as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and far away as Dallas, Cleveland, and Los Angeles.
For concert tickets, which range from $40 to $180, and other information, visit www.celebratehazamir20.org, or call 212/870-3333. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall is at Broadway and 60th Street, in the Time Warner Center.
Through its extensive programming, education, and outreach, the Zamir Choral Foundation is at the center of a growing network of Jewish choirs, creating a new world of Jewish music, musicians and pluralistic Judaism. Zamir, the brainchild of founder and director Matthew Lazar, was established in 1990. At that time Lazar brought the renowned Zamir Chorale (an adult choir established in 1960) under the umbrella of the Zamir Choral Foundation, and he created the North American Jewish Choral Festival. In 1993 he established HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir in order to give Jewish teenagers the opportunity to sing first-rate Jewish choral music at the highest performance level.
The Zamir Chorale presents a concert celebrating 65 years of Israeli independence and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on Sunday May 12 at 3pm at Merkin Concert Hall.
From July 21 to July 25, Zamir hosts the 24th Annual North American Jewish Choral Festival. The Festival’s 10th annual Hallel V’Zimrah Award will be presented to the legendary Israeli performer Yehoram Gaon. (Past honorees have included Theodore Bikel, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Elie Wiesel.)