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Tis the season for music

Noa to perform Bach interpretation at Nazareth Liturgical Festival

Annual holiday season festival is a celebration of classical music and of musical education for Arab and Jewish youth from the region

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Achinoam Nini and her musical partner Gil Dor will perform at the 4th Liturgical Festival in Nazareth, December 16, 2022 (Courtesy PR)
Achinoam Nini and her musical partner Gil Dor will perform at the 4th Liturgical Festival in Nazareth, December 16, 2022 (Courtesy PR)

Singer Achinoam Nini, also known as Noa, will join Nazareth’s fourth Liturgical Festival with a performance on December 16, joined by the Polyphony Quartet, offering an interpretation of Bach’s liturgical music created by Nini and her musical partner.

Nini’s concert will end with Bach’s Ave Maria performed by her and Collegium Vocalle Hannover, part of the international guest list for the city’s fourth annual festival.

The German choir comprises 36 singers who will also perform an acapella concert at the festival’s opening night, with a blend of German liturgical romantic music and the motet “Friede auf Erden” (or “Peace on Earth”) by Arnold Schönberg, reflecting the festival’s motto this year.

The holiday season festival will take place December 15-18 with more than 100 musicians from around the world performing six concerts representing various cultures and traditions, in churches and auditoriums around Nazareth.

Violinist Nabil Abboud Ashkar founded the festival in 2019 and the Polyphony conservatory in 2006 after moving back to his hometown of Nazareth from Germany. At the time, he wanted to bring world-standard musical training to Arab children in Nazareth, and to integrate classical music into the local educational system.

The conservatory has trained teachers, held concerts throughout Israel, and created youth ensembles of Arab and Jewish teens playing chamber music together.

Beyond the musical training for the teens, the young musicians worked together over a period of two years, participating in dialogue sessions through music with a Tel Aviv University program.

The now annual Liturgical Festival in Nazareth includes pre-holiday season concerts in the churches and auditoriums of the city (Courtesy Yoel Levy)

Other performances in this year’s Liturgical Festival include a musical journey into the world of Sufism with the Al-Darwish Ensemble, composed of Sufi clerics and artists living in the Galilee.

The Galilee Chamber Orchestra of 90 musicians will perform a full-scale production of Mendelssohn’s oratory of Elijah, based on the biblical story of the prophet.

Pianist Dana Hreish, a graduate of the Polyphony Conservatory who recently completed her studies at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin, will perform her debut at the festival with a program that includes Dvorak’s “Biblical Songs,” joined by baritone Yair Polishuk, an Israel Opera soloist.

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