In the 1950s, Dr. Felix Zolman, a pharmacist and avid music lover, discovered the remarkable acoustics of the Crusader-period church at the crest of the hill overlooking Abu Ghosh. Following this, he would come regularly to the church with pianist and conduct Ziggy Shtaderman to play music together. From their music-making was born the Abu Ghosh Festival, which became an annual event, taking place every spring until 1971. In 1992, Gershon Cohen, a producer and lover of music, together with choral conductor Hannah Tzur revived and expanded the festival, adding an autumn session to the original one in the spring. In the ensuing 28 years and 56 festivals, the Abu Ghosh Festival became renowned in Israel and around the world.
The Abu Ghosh Festival aspires to create a multi-sensory cultural experience with music at its core, providing the community of listeners the widest possible variety of the finest music in diverse styles: Western, local, ethnic, folk, jazz, classical Israeli.
The Abu Ghosh Festival is a widely respected venue for musicians from Israel and around the world to come together and create special musical programs. The preparations, rehearsals and concerts all encourage a sense of belonging, solidarity and pride amongst the musicians, all of which is transmitted to the audience, eliciting much joy and uniting the festival organizers, attendees and artists alike. The elation of the festival experience continues to reverberate even after the event’s conclusion thanks to the unique relationships that develop between the various participants, the inspiration provided to young musicians and the carefully selected programs. Nothing in Israel compares to the scope and accessibility of the Abu Ghosh festival in the areas of Classical music, Christian liturgical music, music from Islamic countries and Israeli works.
Artistic Participation and Cooperation with Poliphony Education
The Abu Ghosh Festival hosts Israeli musicians and choirs together with ensembles from around the world and places special emphasis on musical cooperation between artists from the Jewish and Arab communities in the country.
This year we are specially proud of the cooperation with Poliphony Education
“Let us begin by creating positive shared musical experiences for Arab and Jewish youth. And let us discover what we can build together.” Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar, Co-founder of Polyphony
Abu Gosh Festival Management Team
The team that manages the Abu Ghosh Festival is made up of some of Israel’s leading musicians, instrumentalists and singers, who have themselves performed at the festival for many years, benefiting from the opportunities the festival has offered and at the same time contributing to its success. They in turn have decided to take up the challenge of sustaining the festival so that it can continue to play its unique and vital role in Israeli cultural life. The team members have together accumulated a great deal of experience in the management and production of concert series and musical events both in Israel and abroad, and have also recorded and produced CDs as well as a wide variety of music programming for media such as television and radio.
Amit Tiefenbrunn – Music Director
Amit is an outstanding member of Israel’s Baroque music scene, a virtuoso of the viola da gamba and multi-disciplinarian. One of the founders of “Barrocade”, the Israeli Baroque Collective, which is a leading ensemble of Baroque music in the country, Amit also builds historic string instruments for which he has earned international renown.
Alon Harari – Head of production
Alon, a countertenor with a solo career at the international level, has been invited regularly to perform with the finest orchestras and opera companies around the world. He is also a highly regarded, much-in-demand teacher of voice production and development. Most recently he helped to establish the “Singers for Singers” Organization to help musicians who have been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 crisis.
Tessa Harari – Management and Production
Tessa moved to Israel from South Africa and has a B.A. in artistic singing from the University of Cape Town together with a Master’s degree from the Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. She has directed and produced events numbering thousands of spectators all over the world, including Turkey, Japan, China and Israel.
Yeela Avital – Director of Participation and Fundraising
One of Israel’s finest Baroque sopranos, Yeela has appeared as a soloist together with the finest orchestras from Israel and abroad and has won prizes in International Early Music competitions. Yeela is also a lecturer at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the Levinsky College of Education.