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March 16, 2009March 16, 2009  0 comments  Music

Deep in the heartland of Israel, in the area known as the Elah Valley, close to open fields and the JNF's Britain Forest, there is an old Turkish building which was once a Khan or way-station for travellers.

The building houses a musical family. The mother, Kochava Taragan, an accomplished flautist, arranges chamber concerts which are held on the terrace or in the large living room every Saturday at noon. Before the concert everyone is treated to a bowl of nourishing soup with home-made croutons. The chamber ensembles, often including Kochava herself, play a selection of pieces for an hour or two, often interspersed by some words of explanation. Sometimes the birds outside add their own contribution to the music. Afterwards most of the audience repairs to one of the local restaurants for lunch, though if you have not booked a table in advance you might find yourself obliged to go home. Great restaurants nearby include Pa'amon (meat) and Tavlin (Dairy). Both are located on Route 38, near Beit Shemesh.


Performances are held almost every  Saturday at 12:30 p.m., and soup begins at 12 p.m. The next performance is on March 27th.

Call 02-9915786 for reservations.




August 18, 2009August 18, 2009  0 comments  Music


The city of Nazareth just might be the selected venue for and additional Leonard Cohen's concert this September.  Ministry Director-General Noaz Bar Nir has approached Leonard Cohen (via the concert producer Marcel Abraham), asking that him to consider adding Nazareth to his schedule under the slogan "reconciliation, tolerance and peace", the same slogan he is used in marketing his September 24th 2009 concert in Ramat Gan, the final concert of his world tour. 



According to Bar Nir, it was brought to his attention that the singer wanted to play an additional concert in Ramallah, but this did not happen for a variety of reasons. After discussing the idea with Nazareth Mayor Ramiz Jaraisy, Bar Nir proposed holding a second concert in the city of Nazareth - Israel's largest Arab city and home to a 40,000 capacity outdoor amphitheater specially built for the recent visit of the Pope.





November 23, 2009November 23, 2009  0 comments  Events

The Abu Gosh winter concert series begins this Saturday night with a special concert program celebrating the music of Bob Seeger and Joan Baez. Periodically over the next few months, special Saturday night concerts will be performed at the Church of the Ark of the Covanent.

Abu Gosh is an Arab village situated in a beautiful natural setting near Jerusalem;  ten minutes away from the city, near the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv highway. It has a number of attractive features that turn it into a very special visit. The village has a fascinating history going back over 500 years, whose remains are still visible around the village. It was built over the ruins of the biblical town of Kiryat Ye'arim, which is believed to be one of the stops for the Ark of the Covenant when it was moved from Beit Shemesh to its resting place in Jerusalem. The Romans built a large fort here, above the spring, and later on the Crusaders established a monastery on the same site, which served both as a church and as a military headquarters for many years. Festival concerts are held in this church, in the middle of the village, and in the Church of the Ark of the Covenant further up the hill.

Another fascinating feature of Abu Gosh is the unique convergence of the three monotheistic faiths. The churches and monasteries stand near the mosque and in the midst of the local Muslim residents, creating a special atmosphere for the wide variety of visitors who stroll through the village during the Festival - Muslims, Jews and Christians. During the 1948 war, the city stayed out of the fighting and many believe that because of this, the village remained within the green line border that was put in place after the 1948 hour. The current population of 7,000 consists mostly of  Palestinian Arabs. Its location in the beautiful Judean Hills, combined with its reputation as a peaceful and open village has drawn approximately 40 Jewish families to live there as well.

Since 1992,  Abu Gosh Festival has been home to Israel's most celebrated festival of vocal music. The 3-5 day festival is held twice a year- in October, during the holiday of Sukkot, and in May, during the holiday of Shavuot.

Twice each year, the village of Abu Gosh turns into a paradise for lovers of vocal music. Abu Gosh offers a unique combination of a beautiful village in a wonderful setting, lovely churches with the best acoustics in Israel, rich and varied musical programs, and a special type of audience, which comes both to listen and to sing.

Today the Abu Gosh Festival is the most important and prominent vocal music festival in Israel. Festival concerts are held in churches - the 12th Century Crusader Church with its noted for its amazing Byzantine frescos and its crypt, and the Church of the Ark of the Covenant. Both venues have excellent acoustics, remarkable beauty, and a very special atmosphere. Concerts are also held outside in the lovely courtyard of the Church of the Ark of the Covenant, simultaneously at five locations. The vocal music concerts are of the highest quality, with a predominantly liturgical repertoire, and are performed by top-notch soloists  choirs, and orchestras from Israel and abroad, including rare pieces which receive their première in Israel at Abu Gosh.

Most of the programs played during the Festival are from the Baroque and Renaissance periods, and are performed by top level ensembles. The Festival also serves as a highly respected and attractive venue for many artists and choirs from all over the world. Every year a large audience attends the events, comprised of music lovers of all ages; their presence turns the musical events in and around the churches, as well as the entire area, into colourful and lively spectacle. Many festival goers attend the concerts in the churches, and enjoy the wide range of musical events in the groves and gardens of the monastery, in a pleasant atmosphere.

The tradition of communal singing by audience and choirs at Abu Gosh has become very popular. The Festival administration encourages and nurtures this tradition. Sitting in the shade of tall pine trees, the audiences joins in singing chorales and madrigals, and even arranged folk-songs, under the baton of well known conductors.


May 18, 2011May 18, 2011  0 comments  Events

The historical churches of Jerusalem will become the venues for a cultural sampling of Israel’s classical music scene.
As part of the 2011 Israeli Opera Festival, Jerusalem churches will host classical concerts in an appetizer of sorts to the city’s main events: a gala opera concert with the Arena di Verona Orchestra on June 2 and a performance of Verdi’s Jerusalem, conducted by David Stern, in the shadow of the Old City on June 6, both at Sultan’s Pool.
Michael Ajzenstadt, artistic administrator of the Israel Opera Tel Aviv-Yafo, said that every year the  opera directors discuss which operas to perform for the festival. This year, the choice was easy, he told Travelujah.

“We thought, if we are doing this festival in Jerusalem, what would be better than an opera written by the greatest opera writer about Jerusalem?” Ajzenstadt said.

Giuseppi Verdi wrote Jerusalem in March 1847 for the Paris Opera. It was loosely based on I Lombardi all Prima Crociata. The four-act opera is about a crusade to Jerusalem and takes place partly in the crusader staging areas in Ramla.

At Masada’s outdoor theater, Verdi's Aida will be performed on June 4, 5, 9 and 12, conducted by Maestro Daniel Oren and on June 3, Verdi’s Requiem with the Arena di Verona Orchestra conducted by Giuliano Carella.

The Jerusalem concert series will take place on June 3 at 10 different churches and other Christian sites. Click here for a complete list.

This first Jerusalem opera is part of the Israeli Opera Festival, which featured open-air performances at Masada of Verdi’s Nabucco. Israel joins the international community hosting summer operas at historic archeological sites in Italy, France, Austria, Turkey, Greece, Spain and England among others.

The Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, the Austrian Hospice and the Church of the Redeemer are some of the venues in the Old City. St. Andrew’s Scottish Church,

Last year, the first Masada Opera Festival drew more than 41,000 opera lovers from Israel and around the world came to the Dead Sea.

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

Schedule of performances:

(Photos by Ron Peled)
st. andrew's scottish churchSt. Andrew's Church
The Art of the Concerto: Concerti by Handel, Bach, Vivaldi and Corelli
The Israel Camerata Jerusalem - Avner Biron, conductor
Muki Zohar, oboe
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 11:00, 13:00

The Lutheran (Redeemer) Church
Misa Criolla and other Latin American Liturgical Works
Yotam Cohen, tenor
The kibbutz Artzi Choir
South American Ensemble
Yuval Ben Ozer, conductor
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00, 16:00

Augusta Victoria Church, Mt. Of Olives
Hear My Prayer: Choral works by Raminsh, Poulsen, Carter, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Busto
The Ankor Choir (Dafna Ben Yohanan, conductor)
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 11:00, 13:00

Dormition Abbey
Ave Maria - Choral Works for Girls Choir
The Young Bat Kol Choir - Anat Morag, conductor
David Feldman, Countertenor
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00, 16:00

david citadelTower of David Museum
Opera Sancta: Sacred songs by 19th century Italian opera composers (Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini)
Mima Millo, soprano
Alaa Vasilevitsky, soprano
Yifat Weisskopf, mezzo soprano
Julia Rovinsky, harp
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00, 16:00

The Austrian Hospice - The Chapel
Meeting Cleopatra - Arias by Handel, Mattheson and Hasse
Hila Baggio, soprano
Shira Raz, mezzo soprano
Baroque Trio directed by Eithan Schmeisser
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00 16:00

The Austrian Hospice - Auditorium
English Baroque - works by Dowland, Purcell and Handel
Yael Levita, soprano
Na'ama Goldman, mezzo soprano
Baroque ensemble directed by Eithan Schmeisser
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 11:30, 14:00

The Sisters of Zion Church, Ein Karem
From Monteverdi to Bach
The New Israeli Vocal Ensemble
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 13:00, 16:00
st. vincent de paul
Vincent de Paul Church
Bach Barndenburg Concerti - No. 3, 4, 5, 6
The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra
David Shemer, conductor
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: 10:00, 11:30

Henry Crown Symphony Hall
Mahler - Das Lied von Der Erde (chamber version)
Gil Shohat, conductor
Ayala Zimbler, mezzo soprano
Gabriel Sadeh, tenor
Date: June 3rd, 2011
Hours: One performance only at 13:30


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