Omer Arieli

Omer Arieli grew up in Florence, Italy, where he studied violin, piano, composition, and chamber music at the Cherubini Conservatory of Music. From a young age, he performed across Italy as violinist and pianist. Omer studied conducting at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (with Mandy Rodan), at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (Leopold Hager, H. Arman, Erwin Ortner, and Paul Gulda), and in masterclasses across Europe (M. Giulini, C. Davis).

Omer worked as coach and conductor in Austrian theaters and festivals, at the Mainfranken Theater in Würzburg, and the Maggio Musicale in Florence. He has conducted most Israeli orchestras, the Dortmunder Philarmoniker, the American Symphony, the Orchestra Maderna, and many student and amateur orchestras.

Omer currently serves as music director and conductor of The Jerusalem Opera and the “Hovevei Hamusica” Orchestra. He works as faculty at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and as director of their Opera Workshop. Omer joined the staff of the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir in 2021 as conductor of the Klalit Choir.

Naama Nazarathy Gordon

Ms. Nazarathy Gordon earned a double B.A and an M.A in orchestral conducting under Dr. Yevgeny Zirlin and in voice under Ms. Marina Levitt at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. During her studies, she earned a scholarship from the International Board of Governors and was able to complete further studies in choral conducting under Aharon Harlap and in composition under Slava Ganelin.

In 2002, Ms. Nazarathy Gordon founded the Thalamus Quartet, a vocal quartet specializing in varied styles of a cappella singing. She has performed with the quartet at many events and venues, including the Youth at the Center concert series, the Etnachta concert series at the Jerusalem Theatre, the Israel Festival, the Recanaty Hall at the Tel Aviv Museum, the Abu Ghosh Music Festival, the Kfar Blum Music Festival, and others. Many of the performances were broadcast on the Voice of Music radio station and on Israeli television.

As a solo singer, Ms. Nazarathy Gordon has performed many twentieth and twenty-first century pieces, such as song cycles by the composers Tsippi Fleischer, Yehezkel Braun, Osnat Netzer, Orit Gurel, and Shai Hemel, as well as a modern electro-acoustic piece by Eric Chasalow.

Her own compositions were awarded debut performances at the Israel Festival, in collaboration with the Revolution Orchestra, and at the Jerusalem Music Center. She took part as composer and actor in the play, “Her Story,” a Jerusalem Theatre Company production directed by Gabriella Lev.

Ms. Nazarathy Gordon has worked as conductor of the Hallel Choir at the Hebrew Union College, the Singale Ensemble at the External Studies Institute of the Music Academy, the Midreshet Emunah ve-Omanut Choir, the brass and woodwind Ensemble of the Jerusalem Music Academy High School, the Oratorio Singers Choir, the General “Klalit” Choir of Jerusalem Oratorio, and the Hebrew University Choir in Jerusalem.

Since 2005, Ms. Nazarathy Gordon has been a faculty member of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, and has been teaching music at the Hebrew Union College (HUC) since 2009. As of 2021, Naama serves as conductor and artistic director of the student choir of the Levinsky Institute for Education in Tel Aviv. She has served as the musical director and conductor of the Capellatte Choir of Jerusalem Oratorio since 2014.

Dor Magen

Dor Magen was born in Jerusalem. He is the musical director and conductor of the Oratorio Chamber Choir. He worked as the musical director and head conductor of the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir (2019-2021) and of the Animozi Choir of the Jerusalem Academy High School (2016-2019).

Dor studied violin with Rashi Levaot, Avi Abramovich, and Ora Shiran, as well as trombone with Eli Aharoni and Mitchell Ross. He studied conducting with Dr. Evgeny Tsirlin, and later at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance under Avner Biron and Prof. Stanley Sperber.

Dor was a member of the Meitar Ensemble’s Tedarim project and conducted the ensemble in concerts and masterclasses with conductor Pierre-André Valade. He conducted the premieres of the operas, “Pyramos and Thebes,” by Israel Sharon, and “Albert,” by Moshe Zorman, both within the IMVAJ Opera Workshop, as well as “ASD” by Sarit Shley at the Israel Music Fest. In 2017, Dor participated as conductor at the International Chamber Music Festival in Jerusalem, where he collaborated with artists such as Frans Helmerson, Nobuko Imai, Einav Yarden, and the Tel Aviv Quintet.

Talya Kirsch

Musician and choir conductor Talya Kirsch graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in 1997, where she studied choral conducting with Aharon Harlap, and from the Levinsky College of Education, Tel Aviv, in 1993, where she studied music education and specialized in choral conducting with Rachel Kochavi-Leventer. Kirsch also studied the Kodaly method with Prof. Szabó and the Valborg Werbeck-Svärdström method for uncovering the natural voice.

Since 1992, Kirsch has founded and conducted a number of choirs, including:

Shiri Li, a women’s choir that performed Rachel and Naomi in Songs, an original work produced by Kirsch for the 2014 Jerusalem Arts Festival.

Judaica Italiana, a choir that sings the music of the Jews of Italy and performed in the Dante Alighieri Society’s Lombardia Project in 2019 and in the international Limud Project in 2018.

The Ginot Ha’Ir choir and the children’s choir of the Maale Adumim Music School.

Kirsch directs musical productions and projects with choirs in Jerusalem and beyond and takes part in musical community projects such as music therapy and groups with special needs.

Talya Kirsch has served as the conductor of the Cantabile Choir since September 2019.

Rinatya Nessim

Rinatya Nessim, b. 1990, Israel.

Choral conductor, singer and vocal trainer, residing in Jerusalem, Israel.

A graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (JAMD) during the years 2012-2018, in the faculties of Vocal Performance (BA & MA) and Choral Conducting (BA). Graduated in singing in the classes of Mrs. Marina Levitt and Dr. Ido Ariel; and in choral conducting, in the class of Prof. Aharon Harlap, under the supervision of Prof. Stanley Sperber and Mr. Oded Shomrony.

Choir Master of the Oratorio Singers choir, the first choir of Oratorio Jerusalem (2022 – now), previously led by many well-known choral conductors in the professional musical scene in Israel; and of the Ramot Tsion Conservative Synagogue Choir in Jerusalem (2018 – now), previously led by Mrs. Penina Schwartz.

Vocal Trainer in the External Studies Unit of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (2019 – now), as well as the main vocal trainer of children and youth with outstanding talent in the Jerusalem Choir Center (“Mami” – ממ”י) in Beit HaKerem, under the management of Mrs. Zina Gladun. There, Rinatya accompanies the youth in their professional endeavors as young performers, as well as teaches group studies in music theory.

As a soloist Soprano, Rinatya won 1st place in the ‘Ada Brodsky’ Lieder context (2016); participated in the finals of the Concerto Context in the singing category (2018).

A recipient of the Keren Sharet scholarship in Classical Song (2014-2016) and Baroque Song (2018-2020). Performed the role of Mutter (mother) in Humperdinck’s “Hänsel und Gretel” in the JAMD production (2018).

Occasionally, Rinatya is invited to perform as soloist with the Oratorio choirs – Jomelli’s Requiem, performed by Oratorio’s ‘Bel Canto’ Choir, under the baton of Mr. Assaf Benraf (2018); and Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, performed in a joint concert of the ‘Capellatte’ choir (of the Jerusalem Oratorio Choirs) and the ‘Adi’ choir, led by Ms. Naama Nazarathy-Gordon and Mr. Oded Shomrony, respectively.

For a short period of half a year, Rinatya also served as Producer in Oratorio Jerusalem (2021).

Assaf Bènraf

Assaf Bènraf is the musical director and conductor of the Oratorio Chamber Choir, beginning in this position in September 2023.

Assaf is a multidisciplinary musician and translator. He began his life as a musician playing the violin and the viola. He has continued as a solo and choral singer (Israel Opera, Gary Bertini Choir, choirs of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music) and has sung under the direction of renowned conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Andrew Parrott, and others. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and a Master’s in conducting from Penn State University in the United States. Conducting is currently Assaf’s primary occupation, working as conductor of Bel Canto and the Dorot Choir, as well as serving as guest and assistant conductor of various orchestras and choirs.

Assaf has received grants from the America Israel Cultural Foundation, the “Tsfunot Tarbut” non-profit, the Gary Bertini Foundation, and Penn State University, and has attended many masterclasses in Israel and abroad. Noteworthy among the special musical projects in which he has taken part are the Calace Ensemble for Neapolitan Music (which he founded in 2009 and in which he served as a soloist, musical director, and arranger), the recording, “Hail, Cremonus!” which is dedicated to works by Scott Slapin, and the performance of the work, “Beethoven’s Slippers,” by Judith Cloud. Assaf was a finalist in the Luigi Mancinelli International Competition for Opera Conductors in Orvieto, Italy (2016).

In addition to music, Assaf works as a translator of poetry. His translations have been published in “Nifl’ata, an Anthology of LGBT Poetry,” and in the poetry journal “Ho!, Literary Magazine”. These publications include translations of the works of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Corrado Govoni, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Giulio Cesare Cortese, Kadia Molodowsky, and Leib Naidus.