Jerusalem Oratorio
Ronen Borshevsky, Music Director
 ABOUT ORATORIO Updated 23 February 2005

About Jerusalem Oratorio
Music Director
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Jerusalem Oratorio Choir

The Jerusalem Oratorio Choir performing at the
Florence "Maggio Musicale" festival, May 2002
Click to enlarge

Jerusalem Oratorio is the largest choral enterprise in Israel, with some 200 singers - children, students, professionals and retirees. The choir was founded in 1987 as an initiative of Mr. Yehuda Fikler and with the support of the Jerusalem Foundation and the Culture Department of the Jerusalem Municipality.

The choir is divided into small and medium-sized groups who rehearse weekly, preparing for chamber concerts as well as large choral and orchestral projects performed by the entire choir. While the large choir participates in municipal events and in large projects, the small choirs also contribute to local cultural and social life by performing in community centers. The musical direction and conducting of the small choirs is done by several conductors, both native-born Israelis and new immigrants.

The choir has performed in important festivals in Israel, on television and radio programs, and has had successful tours in England and Wales (1997), Italy (2000) nad Romania (2002).

Since its inception, the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir has performed a wide range of works - from early to contemporary music (including works by: Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Rossini, Puccini, Faure Bloch and Braun). The choir's repertoire also includes songs from the Yiddish and Ladino traditions, as well as old and new Hebrew and Israeli songs.

The Jerusalem Oratorio Choir has to date recorded three CDs, and recorded concerts have been aired on Israel television and radio.

The Jerusalem Oratorio Chmaber Choir is the representative body of Oratorio. The Chamber Choir, with 25 singers, has performed in concerts in Israel and abroad, and in 1999 represented Israel in a prestigious liturgical music festival in Valencia, Spain.

Haggai Goren

Haggai Goren has served for many years as a musical producer and director. In Jerusalem, he directed the series of musical meetings "Molto Cantabile", founded and directed the "Opus" music studio, established the Opus Singers Choir, was the first musical director of the renewed Abu Ghosh Vocal Music Festival, and since 1995 has served as the director general of the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir. Goren has produced dozens of concert series in Jerusalem, throughout Israel and in Europe.

The Jerusalem Oratorio Children's Choirs

The boys choir "Na'arei Jerusalem" has been in existence for the past 10 years under the auspices of the Jerusalem Oratorio. Its music director, Jonathan Lesser, is a conductor, composer and teacher. The choir includes about 25 boys, aged 8 to 16. The choir frequently appears in concerts, at ceremonies and public functions.

"Every Child Sings" is a children's choir comprising about 20 members, mostly girls. Flora Vinokorov is the conductor and musical director, and Svetlana Hafun, pianist and teacher. It is one of the leading children's choirs in Israel, appears at many official functions and in concerts in Jerusalem and throughout Israel.

The Elijah Project 2006

Israelis and Germans, Jews and Christians together performed “Elijah” by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.

The Jerusalem Oratorio Choir, together with the choir and orchestra of the Christliche Musik- und Kunstakademie (Christian Academy of Music and Fine Arts) of Stuttgart, Germany, and soloists from Germany, performed the oratorio "Elijah" in a series of concerts in Israel (Sept 2006), and Germany (Nov 2006).
The concerts were conducted by Ronen Borshevsky and Monica Meira Vasques.

What the Israeli critics wrote

Felix Mendelssohn ascends to the heavens - Ynet (Sept 8, 2006)
by Yon Feder

The performance by the Israeli-German choir of Mendelssohn's oratorio "Elijah" provided a moving and dramatic evening of music at the Jerusalem Theater.
The choir last night was the main element of this unique evening. On the stage of the Henry Crown Theater stood over 150 singers - a huge choir by any standard. The product of Jewish-Christian, Israeli-German collaboration, the singers came from two amateur but highly talented choirs: that of the Christian Academy of Music and Fine Arts from Stuttgart, Germany, and the Jerusalem Oratorio. The orchestra, too, brought together musicians from the Stuttgart Academy and from Israel. Together they presented a complete performance of Mendelssohn's "Elijah" - a rare event in itself.
The conductor last night was the German maestra (of Brazilian origin) Monica Meira Vasques, who inspired the huge choir with flowing energy and musical sensitivity. Even if the choir did not perform every note to perfection, the vocal sound was full and expressive. While there are choirs which may surpass it in pureness of tone and precision, the combined choir of the Jerusalem Oratorio and the Christian Academy demonstrated how the very joy of singing can produce a truly memorable musical event.

Concert Review - Jerusalem Post (Sept 14, 2006)
by Uri Epstein
Mendelssohn's 'Elijah' - Jerusalem Theater - September 7

Among the Romantics' most outstanding oratorios and also arguably the work in which the composer identifies most closely with his Jewish origins, Mendelssohn's "Elijah" was performed by the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir with the Stuttgart Christian Academy Choir and Orchestra, in a concert conducted by Monica Meira Vasquez.
It was a splendid performance. The combined choirs and orchestra were well-rehearsed and produced a cohesive sound. They performed with liveliness, energy and discernible commitment, and with unusually solid enunciation.
As Elijah, bass-baritone Siegfried Laukner combined forceful expression with tender lyricism in the profoundly moving lament, "It is enough." Soprano Annemarie Kiuntke sounded bright, innocent and lovely as Youth.
Alto Sonia Maria Hoeflerhe's Queen was frighteningly evil, while "The Angels' Trio," performed by Kiuntke, Lydia Zborscht and Brigitte Schweizer, offered some of the performance's most enchanting moments. The overwhelming final chorus suggestively brought to life the "fiery chariot going up in a whirlwind to heaven."