The Zamir Choral Foundation, created by Matthew Lazar, promotes choral music as a vehicle to inspire Jewish life, literacy, community, and connection to Israel. The Zamir Choral Foundation is guided by an expansive vision of vibrant Jewish identity across the generational, denominational and political continuums through the study and performance of Jewish music at the highest level of excellence.

Zamir is committed to:

Community: Pluralism and respect are immutable foundational values for us. The only difference that defines us is whether we are sopranos, altos, tenors or basses.

Jewish literacy: Because choral music incorporates text singers learn Jewish history, culture and traditions through the pieces they sing.

Excellence: We work towards the highest level of music education and performance.

Love of Israel:  Zamir believes that musical partnerships and face-to-face relationships create friendships that last a lifetime and ensure continued strengthening and support for the Jewish state. Zamir has been going to Israel since 1967 for performance tours and missions, and for the past 15 years HaZamir has created meaningful connections between HaZamir singers in Israel and the United States.

Changing lives: Singing is a source of joy, healing, strength and unity. Unbreakable bonds of friendship are created and a lasting Jewish community is built.

 

Meet Our Team

 

View Annual Report

 

Our History

 

  • 1960

    The Massad Choral Group, directed by Stanley Sperber, rehearses at JTS in year 1 in room 203.

  • 1963

    The choir’s first album, “Israeli Hootenany” is released.

  • 1964

    The choir changes its name to Zamir Chorale (based on a quotation from the Song of Songs, at the suggestion of Moshe Avital). Zamir Chorale participates in the World’s Fair in New York.

  • 1966

    Zamir Chorale issues its second album, “A New Song;” Membership grows to over 100 voices.

  • 1967

    1967

    The Zamir Chorale makes its first trip to Israel, participating in the Zimriyah only a few weeks after the conclusion of the Six Day War. Zamir participates in the Israel Festival singing Handel’s Saul in Caesaria with the Jerusalem Symphony, and singing on Mt Scopus. Zamir Chorale performs at the World’s Fair in Montreal.

  • 1968

    The choir issues its third album, “Zamir Chorale”.

  • 1968-69

    The Chorale presents sold-out performances at Town Hall.

  • 1970

    Zamir Chorale sings its first concert at Carnegie Hall; The choir takes its second tour to Israel for another Zimriyah appearance and participation in the Israel Festival singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • 1972

    1972

    Founding conductor Stanley Sperber makes Aliyah.  Matthew Lazar begins his tenure as conductor.  Edna Landau co-conducts for one season.

  • 1973

    1973

    Zamir Chorale returns to the Zimriyah and sings Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with conductor Daniel Barenboim and the IPO. Zamir records “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” with Danny Kaye. Later that year, Zamir Chorale produces a series of “crisis concerts” to raise money for the beleaguered state during the Yom Kippur war. Zamir Chorale performs Symphony of Psalms with Lukas Foss in Carnegie Hall. At the same concert, Zamir participates in the world premiere of Elie Wiesel’s cantata, Ani Ma’amin with music by Darius Milhaud.

  • 1974

    1974

    Release of Zamir Chorale’s “Lu Yehi” album. Zamir performs in UJA productions of Unity in support of Israel after Yom Kippur War (WE ARE ONE) with Theodore Bikel, Herschel Bernardi and Tzvi Schooler.

  • 1975

    Zamir summer trip to Israel/Zimriyah and performs Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Aida with an all-star cast of soloists, conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta. Matthew Lazar prepares Chichester Psalms and Kaddish Symphony for Leonard Bernstein with Zamir Chorale.

  • 1976

    Zamir presents two performances marking the American Bicentennial in Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall.

  • 1977

    Zamir returns to Israel/Zimriyah and participates in the Israel Festival singing Beethoven’s 9th with Carlo Maria Giulini.

  • 1978

    1978

    The Zamir Chorale releases its “T’filah” album.

  • 1979

    Zamir travels to Israel for the Zimriyah.

  • 1980

    Zamir celebrates its 20th anniversary with a performance at Alice Tully Hall.

  • 1983

    Zamir sings in Alice Tully Hall commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, with guest artist Tovah Feldshuh. Matthew Lazar conducts Chichester Psalms at the Zimriyah.

  • 1985

    Zamir’s silver anniversary concert is presented in Lincoln Center with alumni soloist Cantor Alberto Mizrahi and guest conductor Stanley Sperber, founder of the original Zamir Chorale.

  • 1986

    Zamir Chorale returns to the Zimriyah. Zamir Chorale participates in the 20th anniversary celebration of Elie Wiesel’s lecture series at the 92nd Street Y. Zamir accompanies Elie Wiesel in his surprise performance of the Vizhnitzer melody for “Ani Ma’amin,” the first time this music has been heard in public.

  • 1987

    Matthew Lazar creates the National Jewish Chorale to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in a concert in Lincoln Center.

  • 1988

    1988

    Zamir Chorale celebrates Israel’s 40th anniversary with a concert in Merkin Concert Hall. Zamir return to the “Jewish” Zimriyah to celebrate Israel at 40 and performs in a workshop with Naomi Shemer; Matthew Lazar brings 350 singers from North America.

  • 1990

    Matthew Lazar creates the Zamir Choral Foundation to expand Jewish choral activity and to promote Jewish identity beyond the scope of a single choir.

  • 1990

    Matthew Lazar establishes the North American Jewish Choral Festival and Conference at the Concord Hotel.

  • 1992

    The Zamir Choral Foundation celebrates the 25th anniversary of the re-unification of Jerusalem by presenting the Zamir Chorale and more than 350 additional choral singers of the National Jewish Chorale in a concert at Carnegie Hall with Theodore Bikel, Alberto Mizrahi and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, appearing as soloist and special guest conductor.

  • 1993

    Matthew Lazar creates HaZamir: The National Jewish High School Choir as the teen arm of the Foundation.

  • 1996

    The Zamir Choral Foundation collaborates with the American Zionist Foundation to celebrate Jerusalem 3000 with a concert at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, featuring performances by Zamir Chorale, HaZamir and special guests Naomi Shemer and Richie Havens. The North American Jewish Choral Festival is convened in Israel and its participants perform with soloists of the Cantors Assembly accompanied by the Ra’anana Symphonette in the Jerusalem Theater, Matthew Lazar, conducting ZCF runs its first HaZamir summer trip to Israel, lasting six weeks; in the Fall, the tour participants record HaZamir’s first CD: “HaZamir: The Next Generation”. Zamir Chorale reprises its performance with Elie Wiesel singing “Ani Ma’amin” as the 92nd St. Y celebrates the 30th anniversary of Elie Wiesel’s lecture series.

  • 1997

    The second HaZamir summer tour of Israel.

  • 1998

    1998

    Zamir takes a summer mission to Israel to celebrate Israel at 50, performing with the American Conference of Cantors and the Ra’anana Symphonette. The Zamir Choral Foundation celebrates Israel’s 50th anniversary with a sold-out concert in Carnegie Hall featuring the Zamir Chorale, HaZamir and iconic Israeli singer Shoshana Damari.

  • 2000

    The Zamir Chorale celebrates its 40th anniversary with a concert in Lincoln Center; HaZamir sends its third summer tour to Israel.

  • 2001

    2001

    Phyllis and Richard Rosen create the Jeanne R. Mandell Fund for New Music (later to become the Mandell Rosen Fund for New Music.) Its first commissions, “Eishet Chayil” by Yehezkel Braun and “Uk’ratem Dror” by Benjie Ellen Schiller, are presented by the Zamir Chorale in a December concert at Merkin Concert Hall. In the midst of the Second Intifada, the Zamir Choral Foundation brings over 100 singers on a Mission to Israel.

  • 2002

    2002

    ZCF sponsors a second summer Mission to Israel. Zamir Chorale returns to Israel in the Fall for the 3rd mission to Israel in the 2 years of the second Intifada to participate in the 50th anniversary of the Zimriyah. The Zamir Choral Foundation presents the first and only conference and concert celebrating Salamone Rossi: The Man and His Music in Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall.

  • 2003

    The North American Jewish Choral Festival celebrates its “Bar Mitzvah” at the Nevele Hotel.

  • 2004

    2004

    As part of the North American Jewish Choral Festival, the Zamir Choral Foundation presents its first annual “Hallel V’Zimrah” award to Velvel Pasternak. Vivian Lazar is named Director of HaZamir. Zamir Chorale takes its 13th mission to Israel. The Zamir Chorale releases its “Celebration” album.

  • 2005

    2005

    The Zamir Chorale issues “A New Song,” featuring music commissioned by the Mandell Rosen Fund for New Music.

  • 2006

    2006

    To celebrate the designation of Yehezkel Braun as recipient of the Hallel V’Zimrah award at NAJCF, the Zamir Chorale issues a CD compilation of works by Braun. His latest work, “Divre Kohelet” receives its world premiere at the Choral Festival.

  • 2007

    HaZamir becomes the International Jewish Teen Choir when the Zamir Choral Foundation creates its first Israeli chapter in Kfar Saba.

  • 2008

    2008

    ZCF sponsors a Carnegie Hall concert to celebrate Israel at 60 with performances by the Zamir Chorale, HaZamir and special guests Theodore Bikel, Debbie Friedman, Alberto Mizrahi, Jacob Ben-Zion Mendelson and Lorna Wallach. Zamir brings its 14th mission to Israel.

  • 2010

    The Zamir Choral Foundation/HaZamir establishes the Teen Leadership Program for HaZamir upper classmen. Zamir Chorale marks its 50th anniversary with a gala weekend celebration culminating in a concert in Carnegie Hall featuring the Zamir Chorale, Zamir alumni and HaZamir.

  • 2012

    2012

    ZCF sponsors a concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, featuring Zamir Chorale, HaZamir and special guest, Israeli singer and actor, Yehoram Gaon. To celebrate the designation of David Burger as recipient of the Hallel V’Zimrah award at NAJCF, the Zamir Chorale issues “Mizmor L’David,” a CD compilation of Burger’s works.

  • 2013

    The Zamir Choral Foundation designates long-time supporters Adina Avery-Grossman and Harman Grossman as the first recipients of the Kinor David Award, conferred in conjunction with the first HaZamir gala concert at Lincoln Center. Matthew Lazar creates Zamir Noded to provide an opportunity for HaZamir graduates and other post high school singers to continue to sing quality Jewish music in a peer community. HaZamir takes American HaZamir singers on a winter tour of Israel. HaZamir presents its first gala concert in Israel.

  • 2014

    The North American Jewish Choral Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Hudson Valley Resort.

  • 2016

    ZCF establishes HaZaPrep, the first Jewish Preparatory Program for middle school children in North America.

  • 2017

    HaZamir’s annual concert at the Metropolitan Opera House is devoted to music celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem. ZCF presents a second concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center with performances by Zamir Chorale, Zamir Noded, HaZamir and guest soloists, Cantors Netanel Herstik and Alberto Mizrahi.

  • 2018

    2018

    ZCF brings an intergenerational group of singers for a summer tour to celebrate Israel at 70. The Zamir Choral Foundation produces the first Jewish Virtual Choir video, “HaZamir,” the anthem of the Zamir Chorale that became the anthem of HaZamir. 

  • 2020

    2020

    In the face of the coronavirus pandemic that curtails singing and other in-person gatherings, the Zamir Choral Foundation adapts with on-line activities, including a series of Sunday afternoon “Conversation About Music in Challenging Times” and the 31st annual North American Jewish Choral Festival Online.