Louis Lewandowski Festival 2022

From Rossi to Rossini. The Synagogal Music of Italy from Five Centuries

The Louis Lewandowski Festival 2022 is dedicated to the diverse traditions of Italian synagogal music.

Never before the creation of the State of Israel did Jews of so many varied origins live together, and in such a stimulating (if at times threatening) environment as in the land they called in Hebrew I-Tal-Yah, “Island of Divine Dew.” A crossroad in world culture, Italy has been for over two thousand years a haven for several layers of immigration from the four comers of the Diaspora. This has made it possible for the peculiar Italian, Sephardi (or Spagnoli) and Ashkenazi (or Tedeschi) identities, rituals, and traditions to coexist. It all began at the dawn of the Modem Era, in the Renaissance ghettos, and continued during the Emancipation (19th century) and up to the present. The 2022 Festival is dedicated to these traditions.

Culture and Language

Distinct Judeo-Italian dialects, foods, customs, and melodies were created over time, showing the influence of the communities where they originated, even after Yiddish and Ladino had been abandoned as spoken languages. Italian Jews successfully navigated their way amongst tradition, diversity, religious conflicts, emancipation, cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism, all at the very heart of Christianity.

Folk tunes, as well as Italy’s most celebrated music, Opera and bel canto vocal style

Italy’s own peculiar history is indeed reflected in its Jewish melodies. Each community developed a style of synagogue song according to its origins. Some groups retained the ancient Italian minhag (ritual), which differs from the Sephardi and the Ashkenazi ones especially in the cantillation of the Torah (Hebrew Pentateuch) and in the pronunciation of Hebrew. At the same time, Jews who immigrated to Italy over time kept their original (Sephardi, Ashkenazi) rituals, but adapted them to the Jewish and non-Jewish Italian musical environments, often adopting the local pronunciation of Hebrew. In all communities, the impact of Italian art and popular music was tremendous: folk tunes, as well as Italy’s most celebrated music, Opera and bel canto vocal style, were incorporated into the liturgy. Some Jewish melodies created in Italy were disseminated throughout the Diaspora, where they may still be found.

Italian Jewish community

Due to migrations, persecutions and assimilation, many musical traditions extant until before World War II are now lost. Nevertheless, the contemporary Italian Jewish community of less than thirty thousand people, with its local differences and currents, still retains its multicultural world in its music.

Dr. Francesco Spagnolo

Festival choirs 2022

Synagogal Ensemble Berlin

The Synagogal Ensemble Berlin (SEB) was founded in 2002 by Regina Yantian as a concert ensemble. It consists of 8 - 16 professional singers, who work at international opera houses and are also active as freelance concert singers in the choir of the Pestalozzistrasse Synagogue, among others. Choir…

Adi Classical Young Choir, Israel

Adi Classical Young Choir at the New Vocal Ensemble was established in 2006 by Yishai Shteckler and Goni Bar Sela. Since 2009, it performs under the baton of its musical director, conductor Oded Shomrony. The choir performs in subscription series of Orchestras and various a cappella programs at…

Kol Zimrah Jewish Community Singers

Kol Zimrah Jewish Community Singers began in 1996 and now includes members from over a dozen Chicago-area synagogues. Kol Zimrah provides a common forum for singers from many backgrounds in the pursuit of musical excellence.


The ensemble was founded in Galilee, Israel, by Elam Rotem. It is currently based in Basel, Switzerland, where its members completed advanced studies at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.

Coro Ha-Kol

The Coro Ha-Kol (The Voice) was founded in December 1993 on the initiative of some singers of the Tempio Maggiore, the largest synagogue in Rome, and other lovers of the Jewish musical tradition.

Things to know in 2022

Magazin 2022 (Webversion 1.7 MB)

Pre Opening Konzert 2023

The pre-opening concert at the Jewish Community on December 14, 2022. The ensemble "Profeti della Quinta" performs "Joseph and his brothers". A Biblical Oratorio in three acts by Elam Rotem. The work was written especially for the ensemble and is set for five singing voices, instruments and basso…

Greetings 2022

The greetings of Dr. Gideon Joffe - Chairman of the Jewish Community of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, the Governing Mayor of Berlin and Dr. Dietmar Woidke - Minister President of the State of Brandenburg. The Louis Lewandowski Festival would like to thank all three of them in particular for their…

Opening concert 2022

Performers: Soloists: Charlotte Khuner, Soprano | Anne-Lisa Nathan, Alt | Ron Silberstein, Tenor Yiwei Mao, Bass | Gabriel Loewenheim, Bass | Harpsichord and organ: Jacobus Gladziwa Lewandowski String Ensemble Berlin | Director: Regina Yantian Synagogal Ensemble Berlin | Director: Regina Yantian |…

Final concert 2022

Joint performance of all ensembles of the Louis Lewandowski Festival 2022 in the largest synagogue in Germany. Watch the video of the entire concert. Coro Ha-Kol, Rom Adi Classical Young Choir, Tel Aviv Kol Zimrah Jewish Community Singers, Chicago Synagogal Ensemble Berlin Lewandowski String…

Final Concert