About Jewish Choral Music

Jewish Choral Music is a resource center for anyone interested in discovering a repertoire that is rich, but relatively unknown. You will find a variety of styles: folkloristic, popular, and classical. Chronology spanning ancient chant, baroque motets and cantatas and oratorios, classic/romantic majestic synagogue music, twentieth-and twenty-first-century secular and sacred music. Geography spanning the great capitals of Europe, the United States and the Middle East, as well as North Africa, Latin America and Australia. Music for special occasions such as Chanukah or a Holocaust Memorial, or just a generic concert. Unaccompanied music, or music with piano, organ, chamber ensemble, jazz band or full orchestra. Music for the beginning choir or the advanced professional chorus, for mixed chorus, treble singers, or all-male ensemble. Our list does not strive to be comprehensive; it reflects works that have been proven popular with singers and effective in concerts and that is readily available in legal and user-friendly editions.

We’ve organized and indexed this site so you can search by title, composer, arranger, year, geography, voicing, language, lyrics, level of difficulty, or even by holiday or theme. Most selections have a dedicated page with a recording and links to sheet music. In addition, you will find lists of recommended pieces for various occasions and for various performing forces, articles about the music, a bibliography, links to helpful websites, and educational podcasts.

This is not about choral music for Jews only. This is music for all choruses – music that happens to have some relation to Jewish culture or religion. Music that could adorn any program, not just a special multicultural or interfaith concert. By and large, this repertoire cannot be found in textbooks or anthologies of choral literature. This website aims to fill that gap.

About the Zamir Chorale of Boston

Founded in 1969, the Zamir Chorale of Boston is a musical and educational organization with a mission to raise awareness of the breadth and beauty of Jewish culture through performances, recordings, symposia, publications, and musical commissions.

Led by Founder and Artistic Director Dr. Joshua Jacobson, the fifty member chorus performs music spanning hundreds of years, four continents, and nearly every musical style. Zamir’s repertoire includes Jewish liturgical pieces, major classical works, music of the Holocaust, new compositions, as well as Israeli, Yiddish, and Ladino folksongs. Concerts are designed to entertain, educate and inspire, which is why Zamir’s music is enjoyed by people of all ages, religions and races.

Zamir’s devoted local following is exemplified by its special recognition by and support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, Zamir has a far-reaching fan base through its 25 recordings and tours throughout the US, as well as in Israel and Europe. Zamir’s documentary film, Jewish Voices Return to Poland, has been shown on public television stations across the US. In 2006, Zamir was honored to perform at the UN General Assembly for the first International Day to Commemorate Victims of the Holocaust.

Zamir’s community involvement includes mentoring future leaders in Jewish choral music and collaborating with other choruses through joint performances.

Joshua Jacobson, a world authority on choral music, served 45 years as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northeastern University, including nine years as Music Department Chairman and six years as the Bernard Stotsky Professor of Jewish Cultural Studies. He is also Visiting Professor and Senior Consultant in the School of Jewish Music at Hebrew College, where he received an honorary doctorate degree. Dr. Jacobson is a sought-after scholar and lecturer. His many musical arrangements and compositions are performed worldwide. His book, Chanting the Hebrew Bible: The Art of Cantillation (Jewish Publication Society, 2002), is considered the definitive source in the field. Dr. Jacobson’s colorful programming and illuminating commentary make every Zamir performance a masterwork.

Zamir Chorale of Boston is Choir-in-Residence at Temple Reyim in Newton and a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium. Zamir is funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the generous support of its loyal supporters.