Last updated September 28th 2015

Hidden away in the hills outside Jerusalem, the town of Abu Gosh brings to mind three things: an extraordinary history, mind-blowing hummus, and the Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival, which brings classical musicians from Israel and from around the world. At the heart of the festival is one of Israel’s most cherished musical traditions: the chorus, as it features in baroque, Renaissance, classical and contemporary compositions.

Church at Kiryat Yearim

Church at Kiryat Yearim

The Festival takes place twice a year, during Sukkot and Shavuot, in two separate venues: the crypt of the Benedictine church, built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 12th century, and in the Church at Kiryat Yearim, also known as Notre-Dame de l’Arche d’Alliance, which sits atop a hill overlooking the town.

Conductor Hanna Tzur is the director of the Abu Gosh Festival. Tzur will conduct the Ramat Gan Chamber Choir in a performance of Dvorák’s Stabat Mater, featuring soloists of the Israel Opera, Barrocade and other ensembles: Alla Vasilevitsky, Joseph Aridan, Sigal Haviv and Alexey Kanonikov.

A Vivaldi concert featuring the Stabat Mater and the opera “King Arthur” will be performed by a legendary cast of singers including the wonderful Revital Raviv, Hadas Faran, Reut Ventorero, Alon Harari, Guy Pelc and more.

Works by Jewish and Israeli composers will be the subject of a concert centered on Ernst Bloch’s “Sacred Service” for alto (sung by Avital Deri), choir (the Jerusalem Academy Chamber Choir) and organ (played by Boris Zobin). Stanley Sperber will conduct.

For the opera lovers among us, a large cast of singers will perform a selection of arias and scenes from operas by Puccini and Verdi, plus Pergolesi’s “Magnificat”. This concert will give us a sneak peek at this year’s new additions to the Israel Opera’s Meitar Opera Studio, which trains the promising young singers who will be the stars of future performances.

Folk music is also a large part of the Abu Gosh Festival. This year one of the guests will be the Kolan Quartet, an Israeli-Georgian folklore ensemble. Folk music can also be enjoyed free of charge in the areas around the Kiryat Yearim church.

These are only some of the events on the program this year at the Abu Gosh Festival. For more details and ticket purchases, visit the Festival’s website.

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