The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra
Music director: David Shemer
The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, a pioneer of authentic performance of early music in Israel, is a leader in the development of historic performance in the country today. The JBO was founded in 1989 by conductor and harpsichordist Dr. David Shemer, who serves as its music director since then. Since 2006, Maestro Andrew Parrott serves as the orchestra’s honorary conductor.
The JBO plays Baroque music on period instruments in its contemporary performance style, presenting concert-going audiences with many of the finest works of Baroque- and early Classical repertoire.
Among the Orchestra’s guest artists are some of today’s most prominent performers of early music, among them, Andrew Parrott, Joshua Rifkin, Roberto Gini, Peter Harvey, Kati Debretzeni, Walter Reiter, Lina Tur-Bonet, Alfredo Bernadini and Enrico Onofri, as well as the finest performers of Baroque music in Israel.
The JBO plays throughout Israel, with its subscription concert series taking place in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. It appears in important festivals, such as the Israel Festival, frequently recording for The Voice of Music, Israeli radio.
“The Orchestral works were performed with enthusiastic liveliness. Violinist Noam Schuss and cellist Orit Messer-Jacobi excelled in their solo parts” Ury Eppstein, Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2017
The JBO receives high acclaim from critics and audiences alike. A distinctive milestone in the JBO’s history was the Israeli premiere of Elam Rotem’s moving “Joseph and His Brethren”, a biblical drama written in the spirit of early opera, in which the splendor of early Italian Baroque music is brought back to life, and in Hebrew. The orchestra’s most recent recording is Scarlatti’s Oratorio “Hagar and Ishmael”.
The JBO holds two annual festivals:
Bach in Jerusalem Festival, taking place annually around the dates of JS Bach’s birthday and presenting his music, as well as that of his predecessors and followers and hosting some of the leading baroque musicians from Israel and all over the world. Festival events include international collaboration with the Bach House in Leipzig, producing every year a new exhibition related to the festival’s central themes. The festival presents also learning experiences such as an international Bach conference, lectures, master-classes, workshops and a music students’ concert.
Vocal Fantasy Festival The JBO brought back to the Jerusalem stages the Jerusalem tradition of a vocal and choral music festival. This summer festival offers a long weekend of various concerts and events hosting choirs and singers from Israel and abroad. The festival also offers outdoor concerts free of charge, an arts & crafts fair and other related activities. In 2017 the central production of the festival is Handel’s Messiah featuring NFM Choir from Wroclaw, Poland. The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Jerusalem Municipality. Other sources of support include: The Jerusalem Developmental Authority, The Israel Lottery Council of culture and art, The Jewish Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Polish Cultural Institute, and private donors. Collaborators include the Jerusalem YMCA, The Israel Organ Association, The Israeli Voice of Music Radio Channel, The Jerusalem First Station, The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and others.