25TH JEWISH CULTURAL FESTIVAL
3-12 SEPTEMBER 2023 (BUDAPEST-HUNGARY)
MORE THAN 25 PROGRAMMES, OVER 7 VENUES, NEARLY 200 PERFORMERS IN BUDAPEST, THE CAPITAL OF JEWISH CULTURE!
Unique productions, special encounters with artists, original young talents, and the chance to see and hear them. An international team of artists will present a very exciting musical world premiere, full of genuine human emotion, making its world debut right here in our city.
Join us again this year!
In the spirit of the millennial Jewish tradition, be part of the cultural and artistic wonders that await us! Let’s celebrate together the silver jubilee, a quarter of a century of Jewish Cultural Festivals with more special events and lots of love.
DOHÁNY STREET SYNAGOGUE
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SUNDAY 3 SEPTEMBER, 20:00
BUDAPEST KLEZMER BAND CONCERT, STAR GUESTS: KATICA ILLÉNYI AND SZILVESZTER SZABÓ P.
According to the legendary Ferenc ’Fegya’ Jávori, founder of the now no less legendary Budapest Klezmer Band, „klezmer is a mirror of the relationship between peoples”. Let us add: these peoples are the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe, i.e. Hungarians, Romanians, Slavs and, of course, Jews. But they are Eastern European, multilingual, Yiddish-speaking Jews who were destroyed in the Holocaust and who have left us the musical miracle we call klezmer. The Budapest Klezmer Band has been a unique character in Hungarian music for decades.
In this concert, the orchestra will perform a selection from the best of their unrivalled repertoire in what promises to be an unforgettable evening, with two star guests. One of them is Katica Illényi, who was a member of the Budapest Klezmer Band for nine years and has since gone her own artistic way. But now she returns to Fegya’s Band to dazzle the Dohány Street Synagogue community with her unique musical talent. The other star guest of the evening is Szilveszter Szabó P., with whom the orchestra has been working since their time at the Operetta Theatre. As the artist is not only an excellent actor but also a fantastic singer, the joint production promises to be an extraordinary musical experience.
MONDAY 4 SEPTEMBER, 20:00
YIDDISHE MÁME JUKEBOX – MAMA’S MUSICAL MAGIC BOX OPENS
We invite you to a world premiere of music with national and international stars, performed by the Binah Orchestra led by Leonid Gutkin. Zoltán Bereczki, Petra Gubik, two Kuna brothers, Péter Müller Sziámi, Anna Pásztor will perform, the international performers will be Netta Nimrodi and Arie Burshtein of the Israeli Amber Revival, the Russian Alex and Nikita Pozdnyakov, founders of the Rox Brothers, will also perform.
Their current production is a world premiere, as the show, based on the idea of Leonid Gutkin, will be first seen and heard by the audience of the 25th Jewish Cultural Festival in Budapest. The idea is that Leonid Gutkin, in memory of his mother – a true Yiddishe mame – has created an evening of musical treasures from his mother’s ‘magic box’. The Binah Orchestra is made up of Hungarian stars and Leonyid Gutkin’s musician friends from all over the world, who have come together for this show.
Here are a few songs from Mama’s ‘magic box’ to give you a taste: Yiddishe Mame (this well-known song will be performed in three versions, as it is the main theme of the concert); L’chayim (Fiddler on the Roof); Klezmer ensemble; Wedding March (Mendelssohn); Oh my pet (The Csárdás Princess); Summertime (George Gershwin); Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock (Elvis Presley); We Didn’t Start The Fire (Billy Joel); Knocking On Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan); Are U Gonna Go My Way (Lenny Kravitz); Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
TUESDAY 5 SEPTEMBER, 20:00
PEST, BUDA, ÓBUDA – LET’S SING BUDAPEST!
This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Pest, Buda and Óbuda, the „birthday” of Budapest, and the artists performing at this evening have put together a programme to celebrate this. The concert will present songs from the 1920s to the present day, whose composers were inspired by the magnificent Hungarian capital, as many songs, music and productions have been written out of love for Budapest over the past hundred years. On this evening, these compositions will bring to life Budapest and its many famous districts and elements, such as the City Park, Margaret Island, the Great Boulevard, Lövölde Square and Gellért Hill. The performers guarantee the unique character of this festive concert.
THURSDAY 7 SEPTEMBER, 20:00
25TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT OF THE SABBATHSONG KLEZMER BAND WITH STAR PERFORMERS
Most of the members of the band play in classical orchestras, but some of them come from jazz, folk and world music. Therefore, from the very beginning, their repertoire has included psalms inspired by the Bible, Eastern European klezmer songs, but they also play traditional and modern compositions from Mizrachi, Ladino, Yiddish, Israeli and modern music.
Their aim is not only to perform Jewish songs to a high standard, but also to return to the spiritual root and source of these songs, the reality of the Bible. Over the past quarter of a century they have performed with countless Hungarian and foreign world stars, musicians, singers and actors.
HOUSE OF MUSIC HUNGARY
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THURSDAY 7 SEPTEMBER, 19.45
VOICES OF YEMEN (ISR/YEM) – ANCIENT YEMENI SONGS WITH HEARTFELT JOY
Voices of Yemen was founded by Ravid Kahalani, known from the Yemen Blues supergroup, in partnership with the Cultural Association led by Dr. Yigal Ben Shalom, with the main goal of preserving the mystical songs of Yemenite Jews.
The new band, Voices of Yemen, formed just two years ago, draws its compositions from the mystical songs of Yemen’s Jews: their concert will feature catchy melodies, powerful Middle Eastern rhythms, transcendent, ancient soundscapes and joyful music.
And don’t be surprised to hear that the rhythm section will be reinforced by real metal oil canisters alongside the drums and bass guitars. Indeed, oil canisters have an amazingly good sound, especially in the hands of highly skilled Israeli singer-musicians playing Yemeni traditional music with incredible energy, creating an experience that elevates this ancient art form to an adventure of jamming and trance-inducing musical performance.
RUMBACH STREET SYNAGOGUE
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TUESDAY 5 SEPTEMBER, 19:00
OMRI MOR TRIO: CLASSICAL JAZZ WORLD MUSIC FROM ISRAEL
Born in 1983, the virtuoso Israeli pianist and composer Omri Mor’s musical roots go back to the Arab-Andalusian world, from European classics to jazz. His name is well known to fans of the world-famous double bassist Avishai Cohen, as Omri Mor is a member of Cohen’s orchestra. His first album of original compositions was released in 2018 under the title It’s About Time!
Omri Mor studied classical music and jazz as a child and as a teenager, but soon met Moroccan-born singer and organist Nino Bitton, who introduced him to Arab-Andalusian musical motifs. In addition to Avishai Cohen’s orchestra, he plays in several other ensembles and is a regular performer as a pianist at classical music concerts.
In this concert, Omri Mor’s trio will perform a unique musical language, bringing together the musical melodies of several different cultures in a truly soul-warming and poignant composition. The trio is composed of Omri Mor – piano, Oren Hardy – double bass, Amir Breser – drums
WEDNESDAY 6 SEPTEMBER, 19:00
KÁLMÁN BALOGH & GIPSY CIMBALOM BAND feat. BRANKA
A special musical experience is in store for us this evening, as cymbalist Kálmán Balogh and his musician friends are preparing a new musical composition for this year’s Jewish Cultural Festival, combining Hungarian, Gypsy, Jewish and Balkan music. For them, the rules of musical genres are not limits, but opportunities, allowing free passage between different cultures and traditions. It is no coincidence that one of the mottos of Kálmán Balogh’s art could be one of his own expressions: ‘Music is about the soul, it tells a story about the soul’.
The members of the Gipsy Cimbalom Band, led by Kálmán Balogh, are musicians in their own right and virtuoso masters of improvisation. The band will be joined in by accordionist Zorán Barity, leader of the ZanthoWerkli ensemble, and singer Branka Básits.
THURSDAY 7 SEPTEMBER, 19:00
ROMANTIC REVERIE WITH MENDELSSOHN
PERFORMED BY ORSOLYA KORCSOLÁN AND THE ANIMA MUSICAE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
This evening, the concert will begin – as has become a tradition – with Max Bruch’s Kol Nidre, a composition that will get us in the mood for the great Jewish autumn holidays. Then internationally renowned violinist Orsolya Korcsolán, accompanied by the Anima Musicae chamber orchestra, will take the audience into the world of the most secret dreams of composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. The programme includes an orchestral version of the String Quartet in A minor and the rarely performed Violin Concerto in D minor.
Why these? Because these works are the forerunners of a new era, Romanticism.
Mendelssohn, still only a teenager, dreams the dawn of the musical era with a genius that belies his age. While still bowing to his great predecessors Bach and Beethoven, he builds on and draws from their compositions, but in his own early works he surpasses them to rise to the heights of the classics as one of the most important composers of Romanticism.
MONDAY 11 SEPTEMBER, 19:00
PERCUSSION KLEZMER DUO
PERCUSSION CONCERT BY ALEX JACOBOWITZ AND MÁRTON SZIVES. FEATURING: THE SZEGED PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE
After many years, we welcome back to Budapest marimba and xylophone artist Alex Jacobowitz, an exceptional figure in the klezmer and Jewish musical tradition, who has toured the world with his unique instruments. His main goal is to bring people, cultures and religions closer together through his music.
This evening Alex Jacobowitz will perform with Márton Szives, Pro Arte gold medal-winning percussionist. Márton Szives, who has built his own unique style with his new piano style marimba technique and audience-friendly musical performances, brings his unique playing to a whole new and original sound spectrum in percussion performance.
HEGEDŰS GYULA STREET SYNAGOGUE
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WEDNESDAY 6 SEPTEMBER, 19:00
THE „YIDDIS-DIXIE” IS HERE AGAIN – DEBRECEN DIXIELAND JAZZ BAND CONCERT
In addition to New Orleans compositions, the Debrecen Dixieland Jazz Band’s repertoire also includes songs from the klezmer-Yiddish tradition, which form a prominent part of their performance „Meeting of Styles”. The band’s repertoire includes popular Dixieland classics and original compositions by the members, as well as Dixieland arrangements of various styles (klezmer, hot jazz, modern compositions).
The band has performed at numerous Jewish cultural events, including the Debrecen synagogue (where they are regular guests), Cluj-Napoca, Berehovo, several Hungarian towns, and five years ago, with great success, the Hegedűs Gyula Street Synagogue and the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. At this year’s jubilee Jewish Cultural Festival, we are invited on a journey together to the wonderful borderland of Dixie and Jewish music.
FRANKEL LEÓ STREET SYNAGOGUE
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SUNDAY 3 SEPTEMBER, 19:00
CELLO IN THE FRANKEL: PÁL BANDA PLAYS PIECES BY BACH AND POPPER
Four years ago, the London-based cellist Pál Banda already performed in the Frankel Synagogue, playing Bach’s C major and C minor cello suites. The Bach series was to be continued last year, but due to illness the performance was unfortunately cancelled, so the concert will be staged this year, with two other Bach suites, in D minor and E flat major, and a virtuoso cello piece by David Popper.
Bach wrote a total of six cello suites between 1717 and 1723 at the court of Prince Leopold of Cologne. Bach had previously been in the service of the court of Weimar, and it was from there that the composer was invited by the music and art-loving Prince to become the conductor and chamber music director of the court orchestra. Bach was able to work with a splendid orchestra of seventeen musicians, including one of the finest viola da gamba players of the time, Christian Ferdinand Abel, and the excellent cellist Christian Linigke. The Six Cello Suites are said to have been written for them, but the great musicians also inspired other Bach pieces. The cello, in fact, was at that time a new instrument with a history of barely a decade or two.
In 1886, David Popper from Prague, the best-known cello virtuoso of his time, was asked by Franz Liszt to conduct the newly established cello department at the Budapest Academy of Music. Popper came and stayed for almost three decades, laying the foundations for Hungarian cello teaching. In addition to teaching and performing, he composed over a hundred pieces.
S. Bach: Solo Suite in D minor; E flat major Solo Suite; David Popper: Concert Polonaise op. 14.