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North Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Hebrew Celebration
September 24, 2022 @ 7:30 pm
The North Sydney Symphony Orchestra will be performing a special, one-off concert titled A Hebrew Celebration, which will focus on Jewish and Hebrew themed orchestral and choral music. The orchestra will be joined by the exceptional vocal ensemble Bel a Cappella.
As well as performing the music of well-known composers including Mendelssohn and Prokofiev, the Conductor and Artistic Director of the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Steven Hillinger, also wants to introduce the audience to the music of lesser-known composers. Discovering the music of Jewish composers suppressed by the Nazis is one of Dr. Hillinger’s passions. Following research into the area, he uncovered some hidden jems, many of which have been lost or forgotten.
One work receiving its Australian premiere in this concert is by Erich Zeisl. An Austrian Jewish composer who escaped Nazism and fled to the US, Zeisl worked as a composer, writing music for Hollywood films. He composed his inspirational Requiem Ebraico (Hebrew Requiem) in 1944 in memory of his father, who had been murdered in the Treblinka concentration camp. Although composed on tragic subject matter, the work is inspiring, stirring and incredibly moving.
Hebrew Poem, by the Bulgarian Jewish composer Pancho Vladigerov, also receiving its Australian premiere, is another artist whose music is greatly under-represented on the concert platform. Hebrew Poem stands out as one of his most dramatic and emotionally impactful works. Its main melody derives from the ancient Jewish melody of the Kaddish prayer, which was often sung by the composer’s grandfather – the melody of which he wished to pass down to future generations by incorporating it into this emotive composition.
The timing of this concert, the day before Erev Rosh Hashanah, will give this performance even more significance, as we look forward to the year ahead, after a very challenging time for so many people.