The Jerusalem Oratorio includes five choirs that work under joint management and come together for collaborations as well as an annual project that culminates in the traditional gala concert. As part of their joint and separate activities, Oratorio choirs appear in about 20 concerts a year in Israel and abroad.
The member choirs of the organization are:
Oratorio Singers conducted by Rinatya Nessim, the Oratorio Chamber Choir conducted by Assaf Bènraf, Bel Canto conducted by Darya Goloushkina, Cantabile conducted by Talia Kirsch, Capellatte conducted by Naama Nazarathy Gordon.
The Capellatte Choir was founded in 2006 by Shelly Berlinsky. The choir started with eight singers and has grown to about thirty members. From the very start it has been an eye-catching combination of performers with a love of music and song who come from a wide variety of backgrounds – some have a great deal of experience in choral singing, whereas for others this is their first experience and acquaintance with the world of music. A wide range of ages has also helped to create an unexpected potpourri with a lot of spice and joy. The choir’s repertoire consists of madrigals from the late Renaissance, arrangements of Hebrew songs and Jewish melodies, and a combination of Gospel, jazz and folksongs.
In 2008 the ensemble participated in a production of the children’s opera, “The Story of the Note Sol,” which was composed by Shaul Bustan. In 2015, the choir participated in a revival of the first Hebrew opera, “Dan HaShomer,” by Marc Lavry; this was a joint production of the music department of the National Library and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, conducted by Michael Klinghoffer. The choir took part in the Jerusalem Arts Festival during the years 2014-18. In 2018, the Capellatte Choir performed “Messiah” by G.F. Handel in the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra vocal series, conducted by Sir Nicholas McGegan from England. From 2007 to 2012, the choir performed under the aegis of the Gonenim Music Center, and in October 2012, it became a participating member of the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir. Naama Nazarathy Gordon has been the conductor of the Capellatte Choir since 2014.
The choir is accompanied by pianist Tavor Gochman .
Oratorio Chamber Choir
The 25-member Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir is one of Israel’s leading non-professional choirs. The Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir sings a varied repertoire of classical liturgical and secular music from the Renaissance to the present, as well as African-American spirituals, Israeli and Jewish music, arrangements of traditional songs from around the world, and more. The choir performs regularly in churches and concert spaces in Jerusalem and around Israel and has performed in international festivals and programs
The Chamber Choir has represented Israel abroad at the International Festival for Liturgical Music in Valencia, Spain (1999); the Maggio Musicale in Florence (2000); the project “In One Voice” (D’une seule voix);and a 3-week tour with Israeli and Palestinian musicians (France 2006). The choir participated in a several-year collaboration with the Zamir Choir of Bayreuth, Germany (2008-2014), which included performances of works by the Israeli composer Isaac Tavior (with the Nuremberg Philharmonic Orchestra German Radio Orchestra), at the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the UN Building in New York on January 27, 2010, and at the UN in Geneva in January 2011 and 2014. In July 2017, the choir represented Israel and Jerusalem at the 5th European Festival of Jewish Choirs in St. Petersburg.
In 2015, the Chamber Choir participated in a special project with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO), performing Leonard Bernstein’s “Kaddish,” narrated by American actor Richard Dreyfuss and conducted by Steven Mercurio (USA). In October 2016, the choir participated in the Israeli Music Fest with a performance of Yedidia Admon’s “Deborah’s Song,” also with the JSO, conducted by Yoav Talmi. In the 2017-18 season, the choir performed Beethoven’s 9th symphony with the JSO and the Monteverdi Choir from Hamburg, as well as in the world premiere of Israeli composer Eitan Steinberg’s “The Secret of Intention,” a piece for three mixed adult choirs, three children’s choirs, and percussion ensemble, under the direction of Maestro Andres Mustonen.
The choir’s CD of sacred Jewish and Christian music, “The Seventh Gate” (recorded in Jerusalem under maestro Ronen Borshevsky), received the “Golden Orpheus” international award of the French Academy for best vocal music CD for 2007.
Mr. Assaf Bènraf has served as musical director and conductor of the Choir since September 2023.
Comprised of about 30 non-professional singers, Bel Canto performs in churches in Jerusalem, at the Jerusalem International YMCA, at the Felicja Blumental Music Center in Tel Aviv, and more.
Bel Canto’s repertoire consists of a cappella works from the Renaissance and the Baroque, works from the Classical and Romantic periods, contemporary works, and artistic arrangements of Hebrew and international folk songs. The choir also performs works by Israeli composers, and in the last year performed the world premiere of Netta Alony’s work “Im titen li chelki,” to text by Lea Goldberg.
Previous conductors of Bel Canto include Noa Burstein, Salome Rebello, Assaf Bènraf, Leora Kohn and Alex Wasserman.
Ms. Darya Goloushkina has served as musical director and conductor of the Choir since October 2023.
Bel Canto is accompanied by pianist Rina Shechter.
A unique women’s choir comprised, combined of 15 singers, founded and conducted to this day by Flora Vinokourov. The choir’s repertoire includes works from different periods and styles, specially arranged for women’s voices, masses and liturgical music from the Renaissance to the present, the works of great composers from different periods, folk songs, Israeli songs’ and spirituals. The choir collaborates with other Oratorio choirs and choirs from abroad (such as the “Laudamus Te” choir from Stuttgart, Germany). The choir recently participated in a special evening commemorating the 100th birthday of one of the greatest composers of Israel, Alexander (Sasha) Argov.
Daniel Arad conducted Cantabile Choir from 2016 to 2019.
Talia Kirsch began her role as conductor in 2019.
The choir is accompanied by pianist Mira Gal.
The Oratorio Singers was first established in 2005.
The choir has performed in many concerts in churches in Jerusalem and at the Jerusalem Arts Festival. The choir sings a varied repertoire of music from different periods and styles: liturgical works alongside songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, folk songs, and spirituals, as well as masses and large works for choir and orchestra.
Past musical directors were Mr. Oded Shomrony, Ms. Naama Nazarathy Gordon, Mr. Dor Magen and Ms. Dana Khazma.
Since May 2022, the 35-member choir has been conducted by Ms. Rinatya Nessim.
The choir is accompanied by pianist Rina Shechter.