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First Salamone Rossi Festival Promotes Jewish Culture
and Identity Through a Common Chord: Music

by Dr. Marsha Bryan Edelman for Vocal Area Network
Posted October 25, 2002

For the first time, a celebration of the music of Italian Renaissance Composer Salamone Rossi (1570-1628) will be presented as a two-day festival in New York City, November 10-11, 2002. The Festival is designed to create an in-depth musical experience of the genius of Salamone Rossi, the prominent Jewish composer who introduced the choral singing of sacred Hebrew texts, among other innovations. The Salamone Rossi Festival was conceived by Matthew Lazar (photo left), founder and director of the Zamir Choral Foundation to foster Jewish culture and identity through music. Mr. Lazar is considered the leading force of the Jewish choral movement in the US. He has worked with maestros Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, Daniel Barenboim and others.

“The Zamir Choral Foundation aims to promote Jewish commitment through choral singing by building a strong sense of community among professional and amateur singers who are multi-generational and inter-denominational,” says Mr. Lazar. By broadening the Jewish cultural experience, Zamir aims to bring age-old Jewish tradition into modern focus.”

The Salamone Rossi Festival is highlighted by a performance of Rossi's Italian and Hebrew masterpieces and includes presentations by leading international scholars, which consist of musical demonstrations and lectures. The combination provides an enriching experience the musician and composer who was the spiritual inspiration and architect for Italian synagogue choral music.

Salamone Rossi, a well-know court musician of Mantua (Italy), whose music has remained unique for hundreds of years, was the first composer to use Western musical techniques that illuminate Jewish texts. Rossi departed from Jewish tradition by gaining rabbinic endorsement to begin a modern choral tradition in synagogues and establish an archetype by which subsequent composers and their work may be measured.

Leading Internationally-renowned scholars from Columbia University, Hebrew University, Northeastern University and University of Pennsylvania will join Mr. Lazar for this unprecedented musical experience.

The Festival opens with lectures and musical demonstrations on Sunday, November 10 from 1 PM to 5 PM at the Kaplan Playhouse, Lincoln Center. That evening at 8 PM, the Festival's concert at the Merkin Concert Hall features The Western Wind vocal ensemble and The Mantua Singers directed by Mr. Lazar (see www.van.org/vancal.htm#2685 for details). The lectures and demonstrations continue on Monday, November 11 from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Ann Goodman Recital Hall. The cost for the entire two-day Festival is $195; all Sunday events are $135; and Monday events are $75. Concert tickets are $25, $36, and $50. For more information, contact the Zamir Choral Foundation at (212) 362-3335 or visit www.zamirfdn.org.

Dr. Marsha Bryan Edelman has served as President of the Zamir Choral Foundation since 1996. A singer and choral conductor who has been associated with the Foundation's flagship ensemble, the Zamir Chorale, since 1971, Dr. Edelman is also Professor of Music and Education at Gratz College in Melrose Park, PA. Among her varied activities on behalf of Zamir, Dr. Edelman works with Foundation Founder and Director Matthew Lazar to coordinate the annual North American Jewish Choral Festival, and she serves as administrative director of Hazamir: The National Jewish High School Choir.

Content Contact: Marsha Bryan Edelman
Revision Date: January 11, 2011.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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