Liturgical Music Festival in Nazareth – December 2019

The Hannover Collegium Vocale Choir/Photo courtesy of the Polyphony Foundation

The Polyphony Foundation, headed by violinist Nabil Abboud Ashkar, connecting the Arab and Jewish communities through music, announces first Liturgical Music Festival.  to take place in Nazareth, from December 12 – 14, 2019. Concerts will take place in several venues, including the Salesian Church, the Maronite Church and the Industrial Park Auditorium. The festival will feature The Hannover Collegium Vocale Choir, the Galilee Orchestra, the Tel Aviv Collegium Singers, the Israeli Brass Quintet, the Latin-American Folk Ensemble, and leading Israeli soloists Noach Briger, Claire Magnaji, Eitan Drori, Daniela Skorka, Sarah Even Haim, and Yonit Shaked-Golan. Tickets and information on weekend packages are available on the Eventim website.

The Festival Program*

The festival will open with an acapella concert by the Hannover Choir performing vocal compositions by Tallis, Britten, Brahms, Kaminsky, Reger, Whittaker, and others.

Thursday, 12 December, 8:30 pm, the Don Bosco Salesian Church, Nazareth

A South American Christmas Holiday Concert featuring the Tel Aviv Collegium Singers conducted by Yishai Stekler, soloist Yonit Golan Shaked, and the Latin-American Folklore Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Natan Furmansky will take place on Friday morning.  The program will include instrumental and vocal South American folklore compositions such as:

  • Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramirez
  • Navidad Nuestra by Ariel Ramirez/Felix Luna
  • Three instrumental folk music pieces of the Andes
  • El Borrachito – The Drunkard – a set of Bailasitos (dances)
  • Canción con Todos – A Song with Everyone (Argentina)
  • Se Equivocó la Paloma – The Dove was Confused (Bolivia)

Friday, 13 December, 2019, 11:00 am, Auditorium, Nazareth Industrial Park

Claire Magnaji/Photo: Ofer Amir

One of the high points of the festival will take place on Friday evening when Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor K 427 will be performed by 85 singers and musicians from the Hannover Collegium Vocale Choir conducted by Florian Lohmann, the Galilee Orchestra conducted by Salim Abboud Ashkar, and soloists from the Israel Opera Company: Claire Magnaji, soprano, Daniela Skorka, soprano, Eitan Drori, tenor, and Noach Briger, baritone. 

Friday, December 13th, 8:30 pm, Don Bosco Salesian Church, Nazareth

A concert entitled “On Life and Death” will take place on Saturday featuring the Tel Aviv Collegium Singers ensemble conducted by Yishai Stekler, with soloist Sarah Even-Haim, organist Aviad Shatir, and the Israeli Brass Quintet with Guy Sarig and Yuval Shapira (trumpets), Barak Yeivin (French horn), Tal Ben Rei (trombone), Anton Luchki (tuba), and Itai Berkovitz (percussion).

The program will include the following works:

  • Fantasia in A Minor for Organ by William Byrd
  • 3 motets Opus 2 by Edward Elgar
  • Contrapunct No. 9 by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Mass for Women’s Choir by Gabriel Faure
  • Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Faure
  • Lamenatzeach Al Hagittit by Salamone Rossi
  • Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary by Henry Purcell
  • and other compositions

Saturday, 14 December, 2019, 11:30 am, the Salesian Church, Nazareth

The festival will conclude on Saturday evening with Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols performed by the Hannover Collegium Vocale Choir and soloists with organ accompaniment.  This is one his most popular compositions, and is performed frequently during the Christmas Holiday season. This masterpiece was originally written for a women’s choir and was then revised and published as a composition for choir and harp.   Britten wrote the piece during a 5-week voyage from New York to England during the Second World War.  During the voyage the ship anchored in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Britten purchased a book of poems from the Renaissance. Poems from this book and others written in England during the 14th-16th century inspired the composition which also includes the Christmas story and commemoration of the rebirth of spring.  When it was first performed, the composition was considered extremely innovative, and the use of the harp as the sole instrument for accompanying such a large choir composition was unique. The concert will also include other traditional Christmas pieces such as O Holy Night and Stille Nacht.

Saturday, 14 December, 8:00 pm, the Maronite Church, Nazareth

Tickets and information on weekend packages are available on the Eventim website, or call: *9066. Ticket prices range from 80 NIS – 200 NIS.


*program information and texts provided by the festival.


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