Crossposted from Haaretz
Twice a year, at Shavuot and Sukkot, there’s a pilgrimage to a hill overlooking the village of Abu Ghosh west of Jerusalem. On the hilltop sits the Kiryat Yearim Church — “a Protestant church in the heart of a Muslim village where Jews sing Catholic music. It is the epitome of tolerance and acknowledgment of the other,” says Hana Tzur, musician, conductor and musical director of the Abu Ghosh Vocal Music Festival.
As musical director, Tzur has arranged 30 programs, each featuring some 20 concerts, around 70 pieces and the participation of hundreds (soloists, choirs, chamber ensembles and orchestras) for audiences of thousands. It’s her 15th year and her enthusiasm, intensity and sense of humor remain as before. The festival opens with a Mendelssohn motet and Mozart’s “Great Mass in C Minor,” performed by the Israel Stage Orchestra, the Kibbutz Choir ad soloists, conducted by Ronen Borshevsky, and will close on Saturday. “I listen to Bach, Mendelssohn and Mozart and know that this how to live life, amid this beauty,” says Tzur.