The biannual Vocal Music Festival will take place in the village of Abu Ghosh on the outskirts of Jerusalem from September 25 to 28. The four-day program, directed by Hanna Tzur, features 16 concerts, performed by local and international artists. These include the Virtuoso Singers Ensemble from Berlin and a vocal quintet from the same city; the Hortus Musicus Ensemble with Andres Mustonen from Estonia; the Ra’anana Symphonette Orchestra with the Latino-America Ensemble and the Kibbutz Artzi Choir; the Fuego Ensemble with Jacob Reuven; Baroque mandolin player Eyal Lever; and Amit Tiefenbrun, bass lute and viola da gamba player.The concerts take place at the Kiryat Ye’arim Church and the Crypt, as well as outdoors. The repertoire is as varied as always, featuring both popular and exotic music – from Bach and the Beatles to Scottish folk songs and the intriguing Salon Music through the Centuries concert. It was this openness of programming that has brought pianist and arranger Gabi Argov with her Bereshit program, which is dedicated to iconic Israeli songwriter Haim Hefer.“Haim Hefer died a year ago, and his songs have become Israeli classics, and I believe that the Abu Ghosh Festival is the right place to perform this program because at this festival there always is a place for those who can offer interesting programs,” says Argov.The concert takes place on September 26 at 6:30 p.m. For more details: www.agfestival.co.il.“Starting from the 1950s or maybe even the late 1940s, Haim Hefer was among the most important personalities in our culture. He wrote for all the army ensembles, for theaters, he cooperated with such composers as Moshe Wilensky and Sasha Argov, to name a few. Many of his songs are very dramatic, almost classical in terms of music, and we believed that the Kiryat Ye’arim Church is the right place to perform them,” she continues.The artists who will perform in the concert are singers Yonit Shaked Golan and Dafna Zehavi, a quartet of young singers and double bass player Noa Argov, actor and singer Noa Kashpizki, singer and pianist Eyal Haviv and actor and singer Omri Rozenzweig, as well as cellist Hila Epstein, percussionist Assaf Roth, flugelhorn player Ofer Peled and Gabi Argov herself at the piano.“We will perform some 23 songs, as well as a few vers libres by Hefer, which Omri Rozenzweig will read.The latter pieces constitute an important part of Haim Hefer’s artistic output. He wrote a lot of them, and we have chosen those that are related to the songs we will perform,” says Argov.“The selection of songs shows the many facets of Hefer – dramatic songs, love songs, humorous songs, many of them in new arrangements,” stresses Argov, who studied classical piano, played chamber music, and for years served as the Israeli Chamber Orchestra pianist and cooperated with local choirs and theaters before switching to Israeli songs both as an arranger and artistic director of music programs.