Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra headlines 'Hallelujah Festival' dedicated to Book of Psalms

A concert series dedicated to Tehillim, the Book of Psalms, is taking place this month in Jerusalem.

THE JERUSALEM Symphony Orchestra. (photo credit: DAVID VINOKER)
THE JERUSALEM Symphony Orchestra.
(photo credit: DAVID VINOKER)

The Hallelujah Festival, a concert series dedicated to Tehillim, the Book of Psalms, premiered on December 2 in Jerusalem.

The series, consisting of six shows over the course of the month, is produced by and features the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, as well as 5 choirs and 3 additional orchestras—Firqat Alnoor Orchestra, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, the Ankor Choir, the Gary Bertini Choir, the Oratorio Choir, the JAMD Chamber and Students Choirs and the Israel Vocal Ensemble—as well as musician and singer Amir Benayoun.

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra emphasized that the event, a remake of its Liturgical Festival, celebrates the unity of the three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

The festival coincides with Hanukkah and Christmas and is centered on the writings that many attribute to King David, which are part of the Tanakh and have "become a heritage asset for all three major monotheistic religions," the orchestra commented.

Psalms was the precursor to western classical music and led to the development of prayers and eventually technically advanced music with layers of instrumentation, the orchestra added.

Elderly Israeli man reads psalms 390 (credit: Marc Israel Sellem)Elderly Israeli man reads psalms 390 (credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

"First, prayers in synagogues and churches developed, based on oral traditions and folk hymns. Then, under the auspices of the Catholic Church, the singing of chants evolved into complex polyphonic music. Musical instruments were added over the generations."

The Hallelujah Festival is hosted at the Jerusalem Theater, Binyanei Hauma and the YMCA.