Jewish Sacred Choral Music project





Of particular interest were joint performances of Hebrew works written and arranged by Stephen Glass, one of the most innovative and dynamic figures in the contemporary world of Jewish cantorial and choral music. The men of the Choir of London also performed rarely-heard settings by Antoine Brumel (c.1460 – c.1515) and Kenneth Leighton (1929 – 1988).


This performance was staged in collaboration with the Central Synagogue Music Society and the Jewish Music Institute, SOAS (University of London). It was the first in a series of Choir of London performances focusing on Jewish sacred choral music.


June 2006

The next performance in the Choir’s Jewish Sacred Choral Music series took place under the auspices of the Jewish Music Institute at SOAS (University of London) in the shape of a major collaborative performance at the South Bank Centre in London. ‘Cantors in Concert’ was staged at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as the inaugural event of the first European Cantors Convention, which brought some of the world’s leading exponents of Jewish cantorial singing to London for a series of workshops, discussions and masterclasses. The concert itself brought the gentlemen of the Choir of London together with no fewer than twelve cantors: international guest artists Alberto Mizrahi (Chicago), Arie L Subar (Montreal), and Shmuel Barzilai (Vienna); as well as a number of London-based cantors, including Robert Brody, Moshe Haschel, and Steven Leas. The performance was conducted by Stephen Glass, the Montreal-based choir trainer, accompanist and composer.


The concert programme blended a wide selection of liturgical music for choir and/or solo voices, with particular highlights including Stephen Glass’ arrangement of the traditional Kol Nidrei prayer; a setting of the Kiddush prayer by Kurt Weill; and an unaccompanied arrangement of the devotional text Ani Ma’amin based on a melody transmitted by Elie Wiesel.


The concert featured as one of Gramophone magazine’s ‘highlights of the year’ (December 2006 edition).


October 2006

October 2006 saw the gentlemen of the Choir perform in Brighton as part of the city’s annual Festival of World Sacred Music. Staged at St John’s Church in Palmeira Square, the performance featured cantor Steven Leas and guest conductor Michael Etherton.


January 2007

The gentlemen of the Choir were reunited with Steven Leas (cantor) and Michael Etherton (conductor) for a unique concert staged under the auspices of a major academic conference on the function of music in the three Abrahamic traditions, held at Windsor Castle. Performing a selection of orthodox Jewish cantorial music, they featured alongside the Choir of St George’s Chapel, and the Badakhshan Ensemble of Ismaili musicians from Tajikstan. The concert was held in partnership with St George’s House, the Ismaili Institute, the Jewish Music Institute (SOAS) and the Three Faiths Forum.


September 2010

The culmination of the Jewish Music Project was a performance in September 2010 in the Maribor Synagogue, Slovenia, one of the oldest synagogues in Europe, under the auspices of Festival Maribor.



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Copyright © 2012 Choir of London. All rights reserved.

The Choir of London Trust is a UK Registered Charity no. 1112757.

The Choir of London’s Jewish Sacred Choral Music project, through four concerts in the UK and one in Maribor, Slovenia, supported the work of a number of organisations and institutions dedicated to the revival of the European Jewish liturgical music, which was all but destroyed by the catastrophic events of the mid-twentieth century.


December 2005

The Choir of London was first given the opportunity to perform Jewish choral music in December 2005, when it accepted an invitation from the choir of the London Central Synagogue and its cantor, Steven Leas, to take part in a joint performance of choral repertoire inspired by Jewish texts. The eclectic programme of choral music was linked by a common Judaic thread, and included a broad variety of settings of prayers and psalms, from Renaissance polyphony to modern arrangements. 

December 2005

June 2006

October 2006

January 2007

September 2010

London Central Synagogue

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

St John’s Church, Palmeira Square, Brighton

Windsor Castle

Maribor Festival, Slovenia