The 56th Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival will take place October 18th to 21st, 2019. The festival takes place twice a year in and around Abu Gosh, a town located 16 kilometres west of Jerusalem on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. It will offer a program of 16 concerts suited to many musical tastes and performed in two churches – the spacious Kiryat Ye’arim Church, sitting high up on the hill, and the Crypt – a small, 12th century Crusader Benedictine church set in a magical, exotic garden in the lower part of the town of Abu Gosh. The Abu Gosh Festival has existed in its present form since 1992. People come from far and wide to attend concerts, picnic in the open, sit in on open-air events, buy trinkets, textiles, jewellery and food products at the outdoor stalls set up near the Kiryat Ye’arim Church and relax in the tranquil surroundings of the Jerusalem Hills. The festival features many Israeli groups and soloists, also hosting some overseas artists. For several years, the festival’s promotion and production have been administered by Gershon Cohen. As of 1995, Hannah Tzur has been musical director of the festival. Ms. Tzur, a contralto who has soloed with major orchestras and conductors in Israel, has been directing the Ramat Gan Chamber Choir for 20 years.
Festival-goers with a taste for large choral works will enjoy several concerts at the Kiryat Ye’arim Church, with a number of programs featuring settings of the Stabat Mater text - that of Rossini, with soloists, the Kibbutz Artzi Choir and conducted by Yuval Benozer (Concert No.2), that of Haydn, with soloists with the Ramat Gan Chamber Choir, conducted by Hannah Tzur (Concert No.3) and that of Schubert with soloists, the Ichud Choir, the Orpheus Instrumental Ensemble (director: Guy Figer) conducted by Ronen Borshevsky (Concert No.6). The Batumi Women’s Choir from Georgia, conducted by Zaira Vadachkoria and Gala Vadachkoria, will make its Abu Gosh Festival debut (Concert No.10) and the Stuttgart Chamber Choir, under Frieder Bernius, will be back again with a new program (Concert Nos.1, 4). A unique event for early music aficionados will be Ensemble PHOENIX’ performance of 17th century Neapolitan composer Francesco Rossi's sublime oratorio “La Caduta dell'Angeli” (Fall of the Angels), sung by students of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music’s Vocal Department (director: Sharon Rostorf Zamir); instruments of the period will be played by members of Ensemble PHOENIX, joined by guest violone player Gio Sthel (Brazil/Germany), all conducted by PHOENIX founder and director Myrna Herzog (Concert No.8).
Concerts in the Crypt of the Benedictine Church are bound to appeal to many tastes. With music from their native Bulgaria, the women singers of the Armena Quartet will be accompanied by bagpipes and guitar (Concert No.15). Offering a program of Georgian and Russian music, the Crypt will be alive with the substantial voices of the all-male Kolan Quintet (Concert No.12). To sunnier shores, Eran Zehavi will accompany singers Shira Ben David and Michal Doron in opera favourites and Neapolitan songs in “Viva Italia” (Concert No.13). Zehavi will be joined by opera singers Yael Levita and Maya Bakstansky in works of Bernstein, Kurt Weil and Gershwin and a selection of movie hits in “An American in Berlin” (Concert No.14). Directed by Ari Erev, nostalgic American evergreens will be the focus of singer Tami Gerassi and friends in “Immortal Hits - Broadway, New York” (Concert No.11). As to Concert No.14, “Electric Guitar Called Love”, here is an event inviting the more curious of us to hear soprano Tal Ganor in a pot-pourri of works by Dowland, Purcell, Queen, Fauré, Elvis Presley and Israeli songwriters as arranged by Yuval Vilner and accompanied by him on the electric guitar!
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Photo: Armena Quartet (not Ermena quatet)