Artistic Directors: Omer Avital & Yair Harel
Arrangements, compositions and conducting: Omer Avital
Research, editing and choir conducting: Yair Harel
Many years of musical and spiritual exploration, which finally culminated in Jerusalem in 2010, led to the premiere performance of The New Jerusalem Orchestra—an Israeli-international orchestra founded with the goal of creating a new local sound, contemporary and multi-cultural, that draws on the musical roots of Jewish communities around the world, as well as of the cultural spaces that surround them.
The goal of the orchestra is to perpetuate the traditional sound with its stylistic and aesthetic components, while aspiring to inventive and inspired artistic arrangements. At its first performance AHAVAT OLAMIM (Everlasting Love), is an original production based on a performance held in the framework of the Israel Festival in 2010, represents a modern journey into the depths of the Andalusian Jewish musical tradition of Morocco and Algeria. This tradition, shared by Jews and Muslims, is rooted in the experience of Jewish life in the cities of Morocco: in prayer, in life-cycle rituals, and in non-liturgical religious songs for the early morning vigils, called Shirat ha-bakkashot (songs of seeking, as in the piyyut by Salomon Ibn Gabirol, “Early will I seek you”). the orchestra hosted Rabbi Haim Louk, one of the greatest North African paytanim of our time—rabbi, musician, and exceptional individual.
With Musical Director & Arranger Omer Avital, the orchestra brings together leading musicians from Israel and abroad, from the musical fields of classical Western, classical Eastern, and jazz, joining together into an organic musical body that unites players from varied traditions. In this manner, we hope that the orchestra will encourage meetings between artists and audiences from a broad spectrum of society, both within the State of Israel and beyond.
The city of Jerusalem is the orchestra’s natural home. More than any other city, Jerusalem expresses the complex and intense visage of Israeli culture. Jerusalem is home to a tense, conflictive but potentially productive daily encounter between ancient and modern, East and West. In Jerusalem
2011 you find religious, traditional, and secular expressions; an infinite variety of Jewish, Islamic, and Christian prayers; and diverse voices woven into a polyphonic texture that embraces multiple forms along the axis of time.
In formulating the orchestra’s concept, we attempt to weave threads above the abyss of oblivion, connecting past and future, tradition and contemporary creation, the Middle East and North Africa (the Maghreb, the West), Eastern Europe and Western. In the act of composition, we attempt to gather together the exiles of the Jewish soul—exiled, ironically, in the Land of Israel—to develop the wisdom of generations past, and to move toward polyphony as a tiqqun, a repairing of the crisis caused by immigration and detachment.