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The Role of Jews in Music – from 17th Century Italy to Handel and Beyond

This project is a multi-year exploration into early Jewish music of 17th century Italy and the significance of Jewish biblical heroes in Handel’s oratorios and operas.

As a highly versatile, historically-informed ensemble known for its authentic interpretations of baroque techniques and stylistic conventions of the era on period instruments, PBO is uniquely positioned to present this music. PBO’s Music Director Nicholas McGegan is considered one of the foremost experts on Handel and Philharmonia has garnered an international reputation for its beautiful interpretations of major Handel works.

The Music of the 17th Century Italian Jewish Ghetto
November 17 and 18, 2016
Harvard University and Yale’s School of Sacred Music

[vc_toggle title=”Program Description” style=”simple” size=”sm” el_id=”1474477705902-01b61fa1-86e8″]The November 2016 Rossi program at Harvard and Yale will again combine exquisite music from an exemplary Jewish composer with insightful and entertaining dialogue and a multimedia presentation to guide the audience. Vocal students from Yale’s School of Sacred Music will participate in performances at both universities. Works performed during the program will include selections from “Ha-shirim asher li-Shlomo” (The Songs of Solomon, Psalm 126 and 128) and “Hashkivenu” (Make Us Lie Down), as well as a discussion of Jewish life in Northern Italy under the Gonzagas. The program will also include music by Monteverdi (“Rimanti in pace” and Ohimè il bel viso, ohimè il soave sguardo” from his books of madrigals), as well as Benedetto Marcello, a Venetian nobleman and composer (1686-1739) who was heavily influenced by Rossi and whose compositions are an integral part of the Venetian Jewish musical tradition. This program will be equally attractive to those with deep exposure to classical music and those with no experience at all who are simply curious about Jewish history and music.[/vc_toggle]
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Handel’s Joshua
December 1-4, 2016
San Francisco, Palo Alto and Berkeley venues

[vc_toggle title=”Program Description” style=”simple” size=”sm” el_id=”1474477766423-9800a67a-967a”]In December 2016, the Orchestra will present Handel’s Joshua as part of its subscription concert series. Among Handel’s later oratorios, Joshua was one of the most successful. Handel lavishly scored the piece for a chorale and large orchestra containing pairs of flutes, trumpets and horns, and timpani besides the expected strings, oboes and bassoons, harpsichord, and organ. With dramatic incidents such as the tumbling walls of Jericho, the razing by fire of the city, Joshua stopping the sun and moon in their tracks and his rousing an army of depressed troops, not to mention the triumphal return of the warrior after battle, here was heroic material to stimulate any composer and the full utilization of the brass and timpani does not disappoint. In addition to the vocal brilliance of the Philharmonia Chorale, the concert will feature international stars Yulia Van Doren, Daniel Taylor and William Berger. These concerts will be preceded by PBO’s Pre- Concert Talks with Philharmonia Chorale Director Bruce Lamott and other scholars, in order to deepen audience appreciation for and understanding of Handel’s masterpiece and its themes.[/vc_toggle]
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PBO SESSIONS: Joshua: the Conqu’ring Hero Comes
December 6, 2016 | 8 pm
San Francisco Jewish Community Center

[vc_toggle title=”Program Description” style=”simple” size=”sm” el_id=”1474477789934-aa046b9e-9198″]PBO SESSIONS is our alternative concert series designed to offer all audiences an accessible and informative experience. Led by Bruce Lamott, Philharmonia’s Chorale Director and professor of Music History at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, in conversation with KDFC’s Hoyt Smith, the 90 minute program will explore the context and history behind Handel’s beloved oratorio complete with multimedia enhancements. The concert will include performances by the Chorale and high-profile guest artists who will also be featured in the concert set. After the concert, audience members are always invited to ask questions and meet with the musicians at a complimentary wine reception. In partnering with the SFJCC, Philharmonia is able to reach members of the Jewish community interested in learning about the historical background and themes of Handel’s work.[/vc_toggle]
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Ticket sales only cover 30% of our costs. You can preserve and support the study of Jewish influence in early music with your donation today. Help us reach new audiences with unique insights and historically-informed performances. Please contact Noelle R. Moss for information about becoming a supporting underwriter of our Jewish Music Initiative. 

Email Noelle at or call (415) 252-1288 x314.