The Zemel Choir, established in 1955, is proud of its international reputation as one of the world's finest mixed-voice Jewish choirs. Our wide-ranging repertoire embraces all the traditional Jewish cultures, Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Yiddish and Israeli. We regularly perform in major venues throughout the U.K. and overseas and, besides singing well-known favourites, are particularly proud to present new music from contemporary composers.
The choir is committed to fostering communication between Jewish choirs and the wider world. Recent interfaith highlights include performances at Westminster Abbey to mark the anniversaries of Kristallnacht and the liberation of Auschwitz (2014, 2015 and 2018), a concert at Norwich Cathedral and a performance at the British Museum. In 2012 we hosted the first European Jewish Choral Festival, an event which subsequently took place in Vienna and Rome, before returning to London in 2015. Since then it has taken place in St Petersburg (2017), Lviv (2018) and Ferrara (2019), while next year it will take place in Vienna. We also participated in the inaugural Louis Lewandowski festival in Berlin in 2011.
In recent years we have performed at the South Bank Centre and V&A museum and twice for the Mayor of London. In 2016 we took part in Drawing Life, a work based on original poems and drawings by the children held in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. This took place at the Barbican Centre and in local schools, We also run regular Come & Sing workshops aimed at attracting new singers to Jewish music.
TV and Radio appearances have included the 1986 live television and radio broadcast of Kaddish for Terezin from Canterbury Cathedral, the Expressions of Reconciliation and Hope service in York Minster in 1990, a Holocaust Day commemoration edition of Radio 4's Sunday Worship in January 2001 and, in January 2005 an edition of BBC1's Songs of Praise, The Holocaust Remembered. In 2016 the choir was featured in a special feature on Israel's I24 News. We have travelled extensively to the U.S.A., Canada, Israel, and Eastern and Western Europe. European visits have included performances to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (Poland, 1993), a tour of Eastern Europe (2001), tours of Belgium, France and Luxembourg (2007) and Strasbourg in 2014. In 2013 we performed in various cities over a two-week visit to America and Canada.
The choir has made a number of recordings, some of which are available both as CDs and digital downloads. These include a compilation of the music of Louis Lewandowski, an album of music from the English Jewish Music Tradition, and a selection of some of the lighter items in the choir's repertoire. Zemel Goes Stateside features music that was performed as part of the choir's 2013 USA tour. Our most recent recording, Armistice, took place in late 2019 and is now available.
The choir is committed to educational and charitable activities. It regularly gives concerts in care homes and for established charities. The choir runs an annual workshop and joint concert with schoolchildren from the Goldbeaters and Orion Primary Schools in North West London through which we introduce Jewish music to mixed faith children and their families.
The choir has maintained its reputation as a result of professional musical direction and a strong commitment to rehearsals by its members. We come together not only to sing, but to be part of a warm and friendly social group. We are always happy to welcome new members. To find out more about us please see Become a member