The Ihud Choir
The Ihud, the Kibbutz Choir was founded in 1955 by the Israeli composer and conductor Yehuda Sharett. Leading its development into one of the country's outstanding musical organizations was Prof. Avner Itai, who conducted the choir for 35 years of creative work. Since 1999, the choir's musical director and conductor has been Ronen Borshevsky.
Most of the choir's 60 singers are members of kibbutzim who travel from every corner of the country to weekly rehearsals at the central location of Ramat Efal. The choir is invited regularly to perform with Israel's leading orchestral ensembles, among them The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, The Rishon Lezion Symphony Orchestra, The Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra, and The Haifa Symphony.
Since its establishment, the Kibbutz Choir has given prominence to the performance of Israeli and Jewish music. Its members consider themselves ambassadors of the full spectrum of this genre, sharing it with audiences in Israel and abroad.
The Ihud Choir is a member of two international choral organizations, Europa Cantat and the I.F.C.M. Under the banner of the former, the choir has participated in seven festivals; at the invitation of the latter, it performed at a prestigious festival in Sydney, Australia. In July 2001, the choir took part in an international choral competition in Spittal, Austria, and brought home third prize.
In addition to its work with Israel's most renowned orchestras, the choir has a rich a-capella repertoire. In 2002, it participated in a Mozart festival in Poland, and in December 2010 (during Hanukkah), as the guest of the Jewish community of Lisbon, Portugal, it sang before an audience of prominent leaders of European Jewish communities.
The Ihud Choir has sung under the baton of several world-renowned conductors, among them Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Georg Solti, Kurt Masur, and Gary Bertini.
The Ihud Choir performs the best of the European repertoire from Palestrina to Penderecki including both a capella and accompanied works. IsraeIi and Jewish music receive special emphasis, and the choir has been honored for the performance of these works in and outside of Israel. The repertoire also includes ethnic and traditional music
as well as folksongs arranged for the choir.
The roots of Israeli choral music
Traditional Jewish music was passed on by one generation simply singing to the next. At various stages, however the traditions took
a more concrete form, and liturgical texts were set to music. The style of the music was shaped by the particular characteristics of the many host countries in which the Jewish people have lived. It was in Israel. After long years of dispersion that these many musical traditions were brought together, at once reflecting the wide variety in musical treatment of Sacred and Secular Hebrew texts.
Many Israeli musicians excited by their new acquaintance with so many musical cultures, began to adapt the music for performance, as well as adapt it for use as motifs in their own works.
These composers, also inspired by contemporary musical currents in the world, found their own voice in Israel. The common ground for all Israeli composers, however, is their use of texts in the Hebrew language