Choral Music Groups and Organizations

Adash Women’s Choir

A women’s choir located in Republic of Czech that sings exclusively Hebrew music. The choir started as part of a Hebrew class at Ostrava University by Dr. Tomáa Novotný. Later it grew into a performance group. The Adash website has samples of music and discography. Two of their CDs are devoted to Hebrew songs, but they sing liturgical pieces and Yiddish and Russian lanugage songs on their other two CDs which include many solos for folk music as well as choral work. The CDs are Adash & Barbora Baranová, Jewish Songs II, Jewish Songs, , and Hebrew through Songs. The site also includes videos through YouTube.

Amsterdams Synagogaal Koor (ASK)

Amsterdam Synagogue Choir in Rav Aron Schuster synagogue of Amsterdam, Netherlands, under the direction of Ilia Belianko. Ilia Belianko joined the ASK as chief conductor in September 2004. The choir was founded in 1985, and today consists of sixteen voices. The website includes a history of the organization and selected excerpts of music with information about obtaining sound recordings. Formerly under the direction of Barry Mehler in the Portuguese Esnoga (Synagogue) in Amsterdam.

Arbel: Philadelphia Young Adult Jewish Choir

Arbel is an acronym for Ohavei Rinah Bo-u Lashir –Lovers of Joy, Come to Sing. Founded in 1973 to bring young Jewish men and women together to sing, Arbel was originally affiliated with University of Pennsylvania Hillel. Arbel currently has more than 20 singers, drawn from the Greater Philadelphia area, including New Jersey and Delaware, and is a musically diverse group. Now, Arbel is an independent not-for-profit organization. Arbel presents an annual Spring Concert and participates in major community programs. They performed at the North American Jewish Choral Festival, and twice toured Israel. Arbel has served as a “back-up choir” with Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman, Robbie Solomon, Sol Zim, Nate Lam and many other nationally known Jewish performers. To schedule an Arbel performance contact Enid Krasner at…

Basel Synagogue Choir

The Basel Synagogue Choir, one of the rare synagogue choirs in continuous, uninterrupted existence in Europe from before the Holocaust, has recorded several CDs, and now has a new website at The Basel Jewish community founded in 1805 Einheitsgemeinde ( United Community ) has also maintained a professional chazzan. Sound clips on the website feature the beautiful voice of Issachar Helman, a native of Israel. He and the all male Choir sing at The Great Synagogue in Basel located at Leimenstrasse 24, every week.

Collegium Tel-Aviv

Israeli ensemble established in 1997 as a professional group performing music from classical and sacred traditions. Collegium Tel-Aviv is led by Prof. Avner Itai, who is the head of the Choral activities department at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel Aviv University. The group held a successful debut in the Musica Sacra Festival in Nazareth, in an all a-capella program. “The Collegium Tel-Aviv regularly modifies their programs and sings both with soloists from within the choir and invitees from Israel and abroad. The repertoire spans liturgical music, as well as secular; Christian as well as Jewish music, and music of the different ethnicities. The Collegium Tel-Aviv has performed in important vocal festivals across Israel, including Abu Gosh, Liturgica, Musica Sacra, and others. The Choir also performed the premiere of Lidarti’s oratoria “Esther” in the Israel Festival, Jerusalem.…

Colorado Hebrew Chorale

“The Colorado Hebrew Chorale was organized in September 1993 by its Music Director, Carol Kozak Ward, to preserve, promote, perform and celebrate the richness of Hebrew choral music throughout the Rocky mountain region. Since its inception, this highly dedicated volunteer chorus, whose membership draws from all areas within greater Denver, has literally given voice to the legacy and culture of the Jewish experience through song. Now entering its fourteenth season, the Colorado Hebrew Chorale retains its commitment to communal service as its raison d’être.” Their website has very nice pictures, lists of concerts, program offerings, a calendar and contact information.

Halevi Choral Society

The Halevi Choral Society is a professional Jewish choir located in Chicago, IL under the direcction of Judith Karzen. Founded as a community chorus in 1926 by Harry Coopersmith and Hyman Reznick, the choral group, devotes its entire repertoire to Jewish music. Styles include liturgical, Israeli, Yiddish, Ladino and secular Jewish music. The Choral group presents many new works and commissions compositions. The website includes contact information, a history, a mission statement and a concert schedule.

Hazamir Choir of Helsinki –Judiska Sangforeningen rf

The purpose of the Hazamir Helsinki Choir is to maintain and promote the Jewish musical tradition. Hazamir is a mixed voice choir, and has been since 1917. Singers come both from Helsinki’s Jewish congregation along with members of other music groups. Today, the choir s repertoire consists mainly of Hebrew and Yiddish language songs. Additionally, the choir sings songs in Finnish, Swedish, and, more recently, in Russian. A large part of the choir s Yiddish language repertoire is arranged for this choir and, therefore, unique. The Choir s long-time director, Eva Jacob, has made a number of arrangements for the choir, and also brought the Russian-Jewish tradition of choral singing into their repertoire. The Choir appears regularly and is active in a range of festivals and music events.…

Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus

Binyumen Schaechter, Musical Director

The Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus, the longest-continually-performing Jewish chorus in the world, is celebrating it¹s 80th anniversary with three concerts this Spring (details below).

For 80 years, The Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus has inspired its listeners with an astonishing musical spectrum of Yiddish song. Centuries of hope, determination, humor, loss and renewal are bound up in each note they sing. The voices of sweatshop workers, immigrants, mothers, soldiers, tumlers, and lovers speak through their music. Founded in 1923 on New York’s Lower East Side, the Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus (known then as the “Freiheit Gezang Farein”) was a vocal part of the burgeoning labor movement. When the Chorus performed Jacob Schaefer’s oratorio “Tsvey Brider” in 1926, they were the first Jewish chorus in America to perform with an orchestra.…

Kol Halev Choir

Led by Cantor Annie Rose, the Kol Halev Choir is part of Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, MI. They have released a video of their Eastern European Tour. It’s a delightful 16 minute film showing the joy of Jewish community members hearing the choir sing in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino, Bulgarian and Romanian. Kol Halev went on a tour of Romania, Bulgaria and Greece singing to very appreciative audiences. The filmmakers share a short chat, also included in the DVD. Kol Halev is also planning to release a DVD of their journey to Argentina.

Kol Rina

Jewish a cappella choral group performing in the UK. Begun in Cambridge, England in 1996, the group has performed many orgininal compositions written by members of the group, especially Miki Grahame andAlicia Ambrose. New works presented by Kol Rina draw on varied sources of inspiration – including traditional, classical, Chassidic, gospel, minimalist and popular music. They sing predominantly in Hebrew, as many of the lyrics are excerpts from the liturgy. They have 2 CDs Ashira (2003) and Keshoshanah (2007).


LA-SHIR CHOIR, (The Los Angeles Hebrew Choir), is a choir “dedicated to the preservation, propagation and enjoyment of Hebrew songs, new and old.” The repertoire consists mainly of modern secular songs of Israel, with occasional selections of traditional Jewish songs, including Yiddish and ancient Judeo-Spanish (Ladino). The website is out of date but has contact information.

London Jewish Male Choir

London group founded in 1926 and continuing to perform regularly throughout the UK. The choir has performed in the USA, Germany, Ireland, South Africa and Poland as well as Israel. There is a photo gallery and member bios. The group has a CD called “For All These Things”. The website includes an incredibly helpful list of scores the group has used. They have a database which lists the composer,name of piece, arranger, category of use, and their latest performance pieces. Unfortunately, in order to view the scores, you must load a capellasoftware into your computer.

Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale

“The Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale was founded in 1997 by Cantor Ira Bigeleisen and Rand Harris. LAZC has been invited to perform in venues throughout the world and continues its mission of bringing Jewish music, particularly music written by Southern California Jewish composers, to audiences in America and abroad.” The website includes a history of the group, a list of performances, a calendar, and a listing of recording projects. The Chorale is available for performances and travels world wide. Nick Strimple, the music director, is also a composer, scholar and author on choral music.

Moscow Male Jewish Choir–Hassidic Capella

A “hasidic capella” choir, the artistic director and conductor is Alexander Tsaliuk. This is the male choir of the Cantorial Art Academy, established in 1989. It is n ow called the Hassidic Cappella, and is based in Moscow. “The choir s singers are all professional musicians  students and teachers at Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory and other leading musical institutes in the capital  who have performed in the city s most acclaimed choral groups. They are united by their commitment to introducing listeners to the beauty of Jewish liturgical and cantorial music — music that has been forgotten and remains unknown to even the most educated lovers of music.” The choir sings in Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian. They perform both Jewish liturgical pieces, Russian folk music and classical repertoire.…

Nashirah: The Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia

Nashirah “is the only auditioned, community-based chorale in the Greater Philadelphia area that performs exclusively Jewish and Jewish-themed music. This unique addition to Philadelphia’s cultural scene performs the broadest possible range of Jewish repertoire.” Jonathan Coopersmith, the current Artistic Director, has been the Associate Conductor for The Philadelphia Singers since 2002 and on the Musical Studies Faculty at The Curtis Institute of Music since 2004. Coopersmith teaches harmony ounterpoint, music history, and solfege at Curtis. The Chorale usually has 3 or 4 concerts per year. Information for auditions is on the website, as is a calendar of events. Harold Evans is the past artistic director.

Shir Hama’alot

An 8-voice semiprofessional chamber choir, which performs Jewish liturgical music in Montreal (and beyond?)has recently been formed. Shir Hamaalot has been around for about a year, and gave a first concert at Montreal’s Shaare Zion Congregation in June 2003. Since then they performed at two other synagogues, and took part in a commemorative concert for September 11th at McGill’s Anglican Theological College. For info, call Jerry at 514-737-6600, or email:

SHIRAH, Community Chorus on the Palisades

Led by Matthew Lazar, Founding Director and Conductor, and Beth Robin, Pianist/Accompanist, the chorus performs sacred and secular music in Hebrew, English, Yiddish and Ladino. SHIRAH was formed in January, 1995 as a regional chorus specializing in the performance of the full spectrum of Jewish music. Its roster includes a multigenerational blend of amateur and professiional singers from the northern New Jersey/New York metropolitan area. SHIRAH performs regularly at the JCC on the Palisades and has been featured in many concerts in the United States and Israel, including Avery Fisher Hall, the New Jersey and Bergen Performing Arts Centers in Newark and Englewood and the Colden Center, featuring the World Premiere of “The Scroll” by Dov Selzer with the Queens Symphony. SHIRAH also performs annually at the North American Jewish Choral Festival and was featured in the Opening Ceremonies of the JCC Maccabi Games in East Rutherford at the Continental Airlines Arena.…


Good things are happening in the midwest…. A new young a cappella ensemble called Shircago is out there performing and recording. They have a CD called “Striking a Chord”….produced in year 2000, coming out of “the first-ever Jewish a cappella festival based in the Midwest.” A Cappella groups are very popular on college campuses today…. these exuberant young people are combining some fun with Jewish music.

Synagogenchor Zurich

Robert Braunschweig, director. Bernard San, Chazan. Language of site: German. The amazing thing about this website is that they’ve digitized their standard repertoire to make it available to their members. You can view or print from this digital music collection at their website. Website includes a schedule of their concerts and synagogue work.

The Israel Choral Organization

Hallel (ISCO) is a union of conductors and choirs in Israel. ICO was founded in June 1998 in order “to support and advance choral singing in Israel.” It promotes workshops, seminars, gatherings, pedagogy, activities, including international activities, publishes a quarterly bulletin and supports a website. The website is very out of date in terms of concert listings, but is maintained in Hebrew and English. Nevertheless contact information in provided.

The Jerusalem Cantors Choir

The Jerusalem Cantors Choir of Jerusalem, Israel, an all male choir, wishes to both preserve and modernize the music of our ancient prayers and songs. The choir s repertoire includes cantorial, liturgical, Yiddish, Chassidic and Israeli works. The Jerusalem cantors choir was established in 1972 by a group of students of the late Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Rivlin. The choir is based in the Hechal Shlomo, Jerusalem, Israel. The musical director and conductor of our choir is Binyamin Glickman. The choir s pianist is Rita Feldman-Gelfman, who studied at the Alma Ata Music Academy in Kazakhstan and received an MA in playing and teaching. She made Aliya in 1990 and has accompagnied the choir since 1991.

The Melbourne Jewish Male Voice Choir

The Melbourne (Australia) Jewish Male Voice Choir has been in existence for over a year, has performed with the Johannesburg Jewish Male Choir at the Melbourne Concert Hall in June ’99, and had it’s own concert in December ’99 at St. Kilda Synagogue. The Choir’s conductor is Brett Kaye, a young South African who moved to Australia. The Choir’s resident soloist is Rabbi Heilbrunn. Jack Sweetman is Secretary and may be contacted by email.

The Shira Center of London All Girls’ Choirs

The Shira Center attracts girls from all over NorthWest London. Formed just two years ago, the center responds to the growing London interest from religious women and girls in choral training and singing. It has provided Jewish musical opportunities and entertainment for girls and women from all over London. The center is made up of five different choirs, and classes for singers of all ages and abilities. They have released a CD called “Silver Lining” which is gaining huge popularity. Their website has more information about attending some of the classes and concerts. Dena Cohen appears to be a resident composer attached to the groups.

The Zamir Chorale

The Zamir Chorale, founded in 1960 by Stanley Sperber, has been directed by Matthew Lazar since 1972. It has become the leading voice of the Jewish choral movement. The choir has won international acclaim for its superior performances, encompassing the full spectrum of four centuries and more of Jewish choral repertoire. Zamir has been a major spark in creating a new generation of Jewish choral music, commissioning and premiering works by contemporary North American and Israeli composers. The Chorale has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim and others in the choral/orchestral. The Chorale has also appeared with a diverse array of artists including Elie Wiesel, Naomi Shemer, Richie Havens, Danny Kaye, Theodore Bikel, Hershel Bernardi and Shoshana Damari. During its more than 40 years of creating Jewish harmony, Zamir’s musical leadership has thrilled tens of thousands in audiences across generational and denominational lines, and has set the standard for Jewish choral music in North America.…

The Zemel Choir

The Zemel Choir, founded in 1955 and located in London, UK, is a mixed voice choir that performs extensively in the UK, Israel and elsewhere. The repertoire is inclusive of Jewish liturgical, Israeli, madgrigals, modern and classical music. The choir has performed internationally at festivals, concerts, on the BBC and other media venues. The choir prides itself on its high musical standards.

Zamir Choral Foundation (New York)

“The Zamir Choral Foundation, created by Matthew Lazar, promotes Jewish choral music as a vehicle to inspire Jewish life, culture and continuity. Building on the success of the Zamir Chorale, the first modern Hebrew-singing chorus in North America, Mr. Lazar sought an expansive vision that went beyond the activities of any single choir – one that fostered Jewish identity across generational and denominational lines. Today, through extensive programming, education, sponsorships and special events, the Zamir Choral Foundation is at the core of an ever-growing network of Jewish choirs, singers and music which has helped create the only Foundation of its kind devoted to Jewish choral music. The Zamir Choral Foundation is creating a new world of Jewish music, musicians and culture for today and the future.”

Zamir Chorale of Boston

Founded in 1969, the Zamir Chorale of Boston, a choir of over 45 singers that has performed internationally, supports a website containing a history, concert schedule, tour information, and excerpts from recordings. This site also contains links to Jewish music resources and a newsletter. Joshua Jacobson is the founder and has served as the Director of the Boston Zamir Chorale for over 20 years. Zamir is the choir-in-residence at Hebrew College located in Newton, MA.

Zemer Chai

Jewish community chorus of Washington, D.C., founded in 1976 and under the direction of Eleanor Epstein. Zemer Chai sings “the full range of Jewish choral repertoire, including liturgical and classical pieces, Jewish folk music from around the world, and new works composed especially for the choir.” Admission is by audition. Website has contact information, schedules and news about the chorus.