Ron Shulamit Conservatory’s activity among the Orthodox public has led to a growing interest in classical music, a demand for music education, and a search for professional artistic performance groups. The most notable of these groups is the chamber orchestra “Zmora”, opened in 2002 by the Ron Shulamit Conservatory, in Har Nof. The purpose behind opening the orchestra was to provide artistic music in the Orthodox community and meet a growing demand among Orthodox women for musical culture and education. The community has revealed itself to be fertile ground for both.
The further rationale behind establishing the orchestra was to create a dialogue between the Orthodox community and world civilization. The orchestra’s repertoire includes music written by the best Israeli composers on the basis of Jewish music – Western, Eastern and Hasidic – as part of “the revival of Jewish musical traditions project”, managed by Ron Shulamit with support from the Culture Administration. These works were premiered by the orchestra. As part of the project, Zmora recorded the CD “As the musician plays”, a collection of Jewish classical music, which has received positive acclaim and was even broadcast on the radio station “Voice of Music “. Along with Jewish music, Zmora performs classical music from baroque to modern compositions.
In its full form, Zmora is composed of 26 musicians: 6 first violin, 5 second violin, 3 viola, 3 cello, a K – Bass, 2 flute, 2 oboe, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoon. Of these, 13 are students and graduates, and 13 are veteran musicians with rich orchestral experience.
Zmora performs concerts for a wide range of women – at the International Convention Center, Bet Mazia, Mishkenot Shanenim and other venues in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Beit Shemesh, Modi’in Illit Gush Etzion, and Netivot. It also performs explained concerts in schools, bringing classical music knowledge to the next generation.
Orthodox musicians now have a professional orchestra, a framework for artistic growth, and work appropriate to their religious way of life. Apart from the regular players, world-renown guest soloists join for the joy of playing with a good orchestra.
“Zmora” is an orchestra of and for women, the product of female empowerment and the realization of their capabilities. It is a model of an artistic practice integrated with women’s lives, their world, their roles as wives and mothers, and their creative personalities.
The “Zmora” orchestra is the only professional artistic body performing for the Haredi public today. In 2004 it was recognized by the Music Track within the Department of Culture, as a professional body worthy of state support. Its suggested repertoire for schools was accepted by the Department of Culture and its 2011 concerts in the periphery were subsidized by the “Culture for Israel” project.
“Zmora” is a fascinating professional addition to the Haredi community, and it opens it up to new horizons and avenues. Yet despite the uniqueness and importance of the orchestra, it has not yet won the financial support that will enable it to function independently. We therefore turn to funders to help this important group continue.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s);