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Reviews of performances

[T]he choirs and orchestra, conveyed a convincing understanding of this powerful work. … The choir was technically fine – precise, enunciating clearly, … full of emotion …. Joshua Jacobsen’s comparison of Bloch’s “Sacred Service” to Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis became convincing rather than (as it seemed initially) far-fetched. A large musical work, it reaches beyond its liturgical origin to convey a universal meaning of gratitude, hope, and compassion, a remarkable and fitting conclusion to this music festival.

– Liane Curtis, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, March 18, 2010 <>



“I doubt that anyone who listens attentively to these performances [CD An Hour in The Garden of Eden ] could come away without some insight into the distinctive cultural flavor they represent. … Anyone who cares about this repertory, or is merely curious, will want to acquire this.”

                  Gatens, The American Record Guide, November/December, 2002 (p. 238).


“Yah Ribon Alam” by H[azzan] Robbie Solomon and performeded ever so well by the Zamir Chorale of Boston from the CD The Soul of the Sabbath  (conducted by Joshua Jacobson) … The solo as well as the ensemble singing as well as the playing are nothing but commendable and professional.

                  Morton Gold, The Jewish Post and Opinion, September 11, 2002.          


Since 1969 Joshua Jacobson and the Zamir Chorale have been exploring the Jewish musical heritage for a large and loyal public. Jacobson has a gift for programming that is instructive and entertaining, and more often than not, the Zamir Chorale performs works that music lovers would be unlikely to hear anyplace else. … Several of these were sung in deft choral arrangements by Jacobson …. It was a generous program, and … the chorale distinguished itself for versatility, buoyant tone, careful intonation, and vigor of spirit.

Richard Dyer, Boston Globe, 6/11/2002


This beautifully balanced chorale has sent three discs… [including a] collection of the music of Salamone Rossi. … All of Rossi’s interpreters have brought a special devotion to the music of their compatriot, but this must be the finest treatment yet. … All three discs are a credit to the chorale and should win a wide following.

                  J. F. Weber, Fanfare, Vol. 25, No. 5 (May/June, 2002), p. 192.


Jewish choral music does not enjoy the widespread concert exposure that other forms do. The Zamir Chorale of Boston has been addressing that imbalance since 1969. … Jacobson drew sensitive phrasing from his forces, most admirably in Alice Parker's An American Kedushah and an excerpt from Bloch's Sacred Service.

Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, April 16, 2002


 “The Zamir Chorale of Boston has become America’s foremost Jewish choral ensemble, and this collection of songs inspired by the Shabbat does nothing to diminish their enviable reputation. It’s a lovely anthology full of vastly different musical styles. …. Adding to the ethnic diversity is Maestro Jacobson’s version of the Hassidic melody “Azamer Bishvokhin” (I Will Sing with Praise); …. It’s beautiful, by the way.… A handsome booklet full of translations and engaging notes clinches the deal on a delightful release.”

Philip Greenfield, American Record Guide March/April, 2002.


“In the 32 years of its existence, Zamir has matured into a rich blend of adult male and female voices capable of producing harmonic chills on traditional tunes with no accompaniment, or of meeting the challenges of contemporary composers with major symphony orchestras and conductors.”

                  Gigi Yellen-Kohn. The Jewish Transcript  (Seattle), January 11, 2002.


“Zamir Chorale: Jewish Voices Return to Poland. … It’s an hour (originally broadcast on PBS) as full of emotion as it is of glorious sound. … And musically speaking, the Zamir Chorale is blessed with fine arrangers and an array of 42 fine and varied voices.”

                  Jeff Kaliss, Commuter Times (San Francisco), November 22, 2001


“The Zamir Chorale of Boston has long taken seriously the mission to air the unheard. … the commitment and care with which they perform is both moving and convincing. … And founding director Joshua Jacobson deserves much credit for shaping such largely untrained voices into a reasonably disciplined ensemble.”

Michael Manning, Boston Globe, June 6, 2001


 “Narrated by artistic director Joshua Jacobson, who founded Zamir in 1969, the film is an extraordinary blend of glorious musicianship … Standing cheers are due … Joshua Jacobson and the gifted musicians of Zamir …”

                  Goldie Charles, The Jewish Week (New York), August 4, 2000.


“The group’s versatility and polished cadences shine … .”

                  Rahel Musleah, Hadassah Magazine, May, 2000.


“There are some good CDs available for adult Hanukkah enthusiasts, including ëLights’ by the Zamir Chorale of Boston … artfully arranged and performed with an enthralling depth of musicality.”

                  Charles Davidson, The Jewish Press,  11/19/99  (78:11),  p. 13.


 “…Maestro Jacobson’s notes are terrific…Don’t hesitate. This is a joy.”

                  a review by Greenfield of the CD The Majesty of Holiness in American Record Guide, September/October, 1998, p. 297.


“The best part of the program is the large vocal ensemble, the Zamir Chorale of Boston… they sing Rossi’s polyphonic music with a fluency and fluidity…”

a review by C. Moore of the CD Salamone Rossi in American Record Guide, July/August, 1998, p. 188.


“The performance of these works is of the highest quality and Zamir’s founder and director, Dr. Joshua Jacobson is to be commended.”

a review of the CD Salamone Rossi in Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy, Volume 20 (1997-98)


“Each setting recreates the spirit and the mood of those tragic, heroic years. This CD is an excellent aid for teaching the Holocaust period, especially where music can enhance the discussion.”

a review of the CD Hear Our Voices in Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy, Volume 20 (1997-98)


“…Jacobson and his singers never lost their touch of elegance and good taste…”

                  Simon Wainrib, The Berkshire Record, November 8-14, 1996.


“The [Zamir] chorale came in gently…, providing the evening’s most introspective lovely moment.”

                  Elijah Wald, The Boston Globe, October 27, 1996.


“HEAR OUR VOICES. The 50-voice Zamir Chorale creates a haunting homage in these 29 songs from the ghettos and camps. Producer-conductor Joshua Jacobson’s narrative introductions render this CD valuable for Holocaust studies and commemorations.”

                  D. L. Sprargen, Hadassah Magazine, June/July, 1996.


“Jacobson led polished performances that emphasized clarity and balance. And the chorale’s professionalism was everywhere evident, particlularly in its unflagging attention to detail. … The group showed remarkable versatility as it moved effortlessly across a myriad of musical styles.”

                  Kevin Gabriel, The Worcester Telegram and Gazette, March 25, 1996.


“As to the performance itself, fastidious preparation was manifest in every detail.… There was nothing about the performance that was not sonorous, incisive, assured.”

                  Richard Buell, The Boston Globe, April 18, 1994.


“Over the years the [Zamir] Chorale has achieved an impressive artistic standard.”

                  Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe, April 15, 1994.


“Under the direction of the accomplished and creative musicianship of Joshua Jacobson, the Zamir Chorale delivers with accuracy and taste diverse programs which range through traditionals and folksongs to lengthy and complex pieces. The meticulous preparation and natural talent of the Chorale show in the results which uniformly please both the ear and the mind.”

                  Bernard Hyatt, The Jewish Advocate, April 8, 1994.


“N.U. Choral Society’s music director Joshua Jacobson has been doing effective work with his student singers; the performance was a pleasure.… the quality of the music making was good. The chorus produces a robust, unforced sound.… And the singing had accuracy of rhythm and pitch.… Jacobson conducted the chorus and an orchestra of local free-lancers in a shapely, solid performance.”

                  Anthony Tommasini, The Boston Globe, May 25, 1993.


"The conductor of the Zamir Chorale of Boston, Prof. Joshua Jacobson, is a man of pleasant demeanor and boundless optimism.  His conducting is polished, without excessive histrionics, but rather imbued with concentrated internalized energy, emotion and precision."

                  Levi Shaar, Chadashot HaTsafon (Israel), August 12, 1988.


"The . . . Zamir Chorale of Boston, directed by Joshua Jacobson reached a higher level, and achieved significant success with a complex repertoire."

                  Oded Asaf, Ha'Ir (Tel Aviv), August 12, 1988.


"Easily the most refined choral singing I have heard on behalf of Jewish music was part of the recent American Choral Directors convention . . .  Joshua Jacobson lectured with wit and erudition. . . . remarkable sensitivity to basic musical needs--dynamic control, intelligent phrasing, effective articulation of the text."

                  Monroe Levin, The [Philadelphia] Jewish Exponent, Feb. 26, 1988.


"It is clear that Joshua Jacobson, the conductor of this choir, . . . is concerned with tackling challenging  repertoire, and pays special attention . . . to the musical riches of the language and compliance with the musical dynamics of the composition.  The Zamir Chorale of Boston's performance was stylish, disciplined and visually elegant, giving their singing a dramatic polish which was lacking in the other groups, and thus captured first place with a choral performance that was a comprehensive artistic-musical experience.

Chagit Gal-ed, HaDo'ar (New York), Feb. 12, 1988.


"The Zamir Chorale of Boston made a good impression under the excellent direction of Joshua Jacobson.  They performed works of Matityahu Shelem, arranged by Gil Aldema, and [Robert] Starer's Psalms, a powerful work.  The choir is well disciplined, and makes the music come alive with its conductor."

                  Hannah Levi, HaDo'ar (New York), March 6, 1987.


"The Zamir Chorale of Boston attained that height . . . and performed with excellence. . . . the ensemble attacked with vigor and spark. . . . the capacity audience loved it all."

                  Arthur Hepner, The Boston Globe, June 3, 1986.


"Zamir's inspired, crisp performance provides a well-deserved tribute to a much-neglected body of work along with a celebration of music that is truly glorious."

                  Ed Symkus, The Brookline Tab, December 3, 1985.


"Joshua Jacobson, a choral conductor of fine technique and warm sensibilities, got a lot out of his forces . . . .  The Northeastern University Choral Society . . . came forth with transparently blended sonorities and moreover were induced to phrase gracefully."

                  Richard Buell, The Boston Globe, March 12, 1985.


"Jacobson's 39-voice chorus and 33-piece orchestra demonstrated a high level of commitment and competence. . . ."

                  Derrick Henry, The Boston Globe, December 11, 1984.


"Other distinguished musical achievements so far this season have been . . . the League ISCM at Northeastern's all-Stephan Wolpe concert performed by Collage and the Zamir Chorale . . . ."

                  Paul Driver, The Boston Globe, December 25, 1983.


"Last night's admirable and acutely pleasurable presentation . . . ."

                  Paul Driver, The Boston Globe, November 8, 1983.


". . . the Zamir Chorale of Boston's acute presentation of Ben Haim's challenging settings under Joshua Jacobson's direction."

                  Edward Rothstein, The New York Times, May 31,     1983.


"As for Joshua Jacobson, he performed in the manner to which his audiences have become accustomed: with confidence, precision, and complete musicality."

                  Stephen Freedman, The Jewish Advocate, May 15, 1982.


"The Zamir Chorale has flourished under the direction of Joshua Jacobson. . . . a program of consistently good quality . . . performed with precision of ensemble and good dynamic control."

                  Ralph Blauvelt, The Rockland (N. Y.) Journal News, March 6, 1978.


"Under Joshua Jacobson's leadership the chorale has become one of the best singing groups in this area.  Jacobson has a clear beat and communicates authority in a reassuring yet unobtrusive way."

                  Herbert Fromm, The Jewish Advocate, May 6, 1976.


"Jacobson and his singers delivered all of this . . . with a secure sense of the various styles required. . . . a virtuoso outfit."

                  Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe, May 4, 1976.


"It is clear by now that Joshua Jacobson has created a unique organization completely under the control of his intense and vibrant personality."

     Minuetta Kessler, The Jewish Advocate, June 7, 1973.


"Their leader, Joshua Jacobson, is remarkably talented."

     Dan Aronovicz, L'information D'Israel (Tel Aviv), July 13, 1973.


". . . a superb professional chorus conducted by Joshua Jacobson."

     Eleanor Roberts, The Boston Herald American, October 22, 1972.

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