Redemption song

Israel Philharmonic premiering new ‘Hatikvah’ with global choir

American friends of IPO launches ‘Global Hatikvah,’ website for recording anyone singing Israeli anthem

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Rom Shamir conducts new arrangement of Hatikvah with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and IDF band on March 5, 2024. (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)
Rom Shamir conducts new arrangement of Hatikvah with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and IDF band on March 5, 2024. (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

During nine months of government protests, followed by the Hamas attacks of October 7 and the subsequent rallies to bring home the hostages, “Hatikvah,” Israel’s anthem, became one of the consistent themes.

At the end of each gathering, large or small, Israelis stand tall, hands by their side, singing the song about hope, written by 19th-century poet Naftali Hertz Imber.

Now the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is premiering a new arrangement of “Hatikvah,” created by composer Maxwell Karmazyn, whose Jewish family left Morocco for the United States, and is known for his work on Dreamworks’ “Trolls,” and CBS’s “Bull” and “Blue Bloods,” among others.

The new arrangement will be merged with a chorus of voices from around the globe in a project initiated by The American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO), and premieres on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, which falls on May 14.

Called “Global Hatikvah,” it’s a collaboration of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra along with the AFIPO and the Canadian Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Through the Global Hatikvah website, citizens worldwide can record themselves singing in harmony with the new arrangement of “Hatikvah.”

Anyone is invited to enter the website with their name and email, sing along, and submit their voice. Participants can sing into their phones or computers and then click send.

“We had so many conversations with our colleagues in Israel and the US,” said Jennifer Hughes, AFIPO’s CEO. “We wanted to see how the AFIPO could dovetail with the incredible work IPO has been doing on the ground, performing at hospitals, for the injured, for other groups in need during this time.”

Hughs said the American arm of the Israel Philharmonic was inspired by other successful global choir initiatives to use music and the power of the IPO and digital innovation to create an opportunity for global connection.

“The arrangement had to be really singable and easy to engage in,” said Hughes.

Karmazyn said in a statement that he approached the piece in a cinematic, film music style, to tell a story. The arrangement begins sparsely, as one voice after another enters, “resulting in a massive and glorious finale with hundreds — hopefully, thousands — of singers,” he said.

Karmazyn’s arrangement was recorded by the Israel Philharmonic several weeks ago in Tel Aviv’s Charles Bronfman Auditorium, together with the IDF Band conducted by Rom Shamir.

Rom Shamir conducts a new arrangement of Hatikvah with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the IDF band on March 5, 2024. (Courtesy)

On that weekday morning, the orchestra of IPO musicians dressed in black tie dress mixed with the members of the IDF band in their olive green army uniforms, playing together in a soft sea of string instruments and horns, punctuated at the end by the horn players, drums and cymbals.

“Hatikvah was definitely the song to choose,” said Hughes. “It’s got such a history with the Israel Philharmonic and it’s a song that has become a very important piece as a musical gathering point and beacon for connection.”

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