Marsha Bryan Edelman
Educational Director, Zamir Choral Foundation; Conductor, HaZamir Philadelphia
By the mid-point of the 20th century, American Jews were ready for a new kind of synagogue music: reverent melodies that effectively represented their texts, but that bore a contemporary stamp that would move modern worshipers. Max Janowski (1912-1991) was a Chicago-based composer who was uniquely able to create new liturgical settings in which cantor, choir and congregation could all participate.
His heartfelt setting of “Avinu Malkeinu,” from the High Holy Day liturgy, has become an iconic symbol of the best of Jewish music, equally at home in the synagogue and on the concert stage. HaZamir has sung many of these “classic” synagogue works, helping a new generation of singers, and their audiences, to understand the evolution of Jewish musical tradition.
Alumna, HaZamir Manhattan
Knowing that Barbra Streisand made this composition famous, I was so honored to have a solo at Carnegie Hall in Max Janowski’s beautiful arrangement of “Avinu Malkeinu.” I remember the voices of hundreds of my peers behind me echoing out into the grand space. It was a powerful moment for me.
Alumnus, HaZamir Long Island
It was no surprise that the video of “Avinu Malkeinu” was HaZamir’s biggest hit on social media. The song originally went mainstream when it was performed by Barbra Streisand at Israeli President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday celebration. As it turned out, HaZamir released our version just one day before President Peres passed away. With over 1,000 shares and 60,000 views on Facebook, we were able to highlight this hauntingly beautiful melody and the harmony of 400 Jewish teen singers standing proudly at Carnegie Hall to a worldwide audience.
Alumnus, HaZamir HaSharon (Israel)
I was part of the first group from Israel that ever participated in the HaZamir Festival, 2006.I did not know what to expect. It turned out that I never experienced such an amazing experience as HaZamir Festival. HaZamir definitely contributed to my development in my music career and my passion for it. I’ve studied two years in Rimon College of Music in Israel and just recently graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Alumna, HaZamir Baltimore
This is what HaZamir has done for me – connected me to the Jewish consciousness. Through music, I’ve gained new perspectives on Jewish observance, a new understanding of the value and beauty of tradition, new connections to Eretz Ysrael, and to something much greater than myself.
Alumna, HaZamir Bergen County
Learning the melodies led me to want to understand the words, so I looked at translations and connected with the prayers and poems on a whole new level.