Liturgical Music Festival - Nazareth 2020

Polyphony Education believes that classical music has a unique power to transcend cultural and social boundaries, while advancing the building of a rich and vibrant civil society. Polyphony Education aims to help bridge the divide between the Arab and Jewish communities in Israel through classical music and other related art forms. Educating the performer and audience in the art of listening and communicating, while creating new channels for positive engagement between the two communities, is an essential step towards the advancement of a just and peaceful Israeli society.

To further its mission, Polyphony has developed over the last ten years a ground-breaking multi-tiered program to reach out to different age-groups and social settings. Through its work, Polyphony has created and trained several performing groups, consisting of Arab and Jewish musicians, ranging from youth ensembles up to a world standard chamber orchestra. In addition, Polyphony has cultivated a large audience in Israel that has a passion for music and a vision for a shared Israeli society.

In December 2019, Polyphony launched its first Liturgical Festival, in Nazareth, aiming at increasing its exposure and impact in an innovative way. This Festival advances Polyphony’s mission by utilizing the unique religious and historical significance of the city of Nazareth. It brings people together from different backgrounds to celebrate an important and sacred time in many cultures.  

We encourage you to join us in the 2020 Liturgical Festival that will take place between the 17th and 20th of December. The festival will be streamed online in its entirety. It will take place primarily in Nazareth with Israeli musicians, Arab and Jewish. Since this year we will not be able to invite international musicians, we will include a concert performed in Berlin with Israeli and German artists who are friends and members of Polyphony’s community. For more information please click here.

The Liturgical Festival 2019

Featured performances from the Hannover Collegium Vocale Choir, the Galilee Chamber Orchestra, the Tel Aviv Collegium Singers, the Israeli Brass Quintet, and the Latin-American Folk Ensemble, as well as several leading Israeli soloists, in the city’s notable venues, including the Salesian Church, the Maronite Church, and the Industrial Park Auditorium.

The Festival’s program included a performance of Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, featuring 85 vocalists and instrumentalists, Benjamin Britten’s popular Ceremony of Carols, and a special South American Christmas Holiday Concert featuring folklore compositions. Works by Bach, Brahms, Fauré, Purcell, Tallis and Elgar were also in the liturgical repertoire mix.

The Liturgical Festival 2020 - ONLINE EDITION

Will take place between the 17th & 20th of December & will feature a colorful and rich program with works from different religions and traditions. It will host Israel’s finest singers, ensembles, the Galilee Chamber Orchestra, the Tel Aviv Collegium Singers, and world known guest singers from Berlin. Saleem Abboud Ashkar and Yishai Steckler are the music co-directors. 


The program includes:

Pergolesi – Stabat Mater

Friday, 18th December 20:30

  • Members of the Galilee Chamber Orchestra with guest musicians from Berlin
  • Niamh O’Sullivan – mezzo- soprano
  • Siobhan Stagg – Soprano

Saleem Abboud Ashkar – Conductor


Beethoven and Religion

Sunday, 20th December 11:00

Spirituality in Beethoven’s late piano sonatas

  • Saleem Abboud Ashkar – Piano

Back to the Italian Baroque

Friday, 18th December 18:00

Works by Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Alessandro Grandi

  • Tal Ganor, Soprano
  • Nour Darwish – Soprano
  • Tal Arbel – Viola da Gamba
  • Ofera Zakai – Lute


Liturgical Poems – “Piyutim”

Saturday, 19th December 20:30

Phantasy for Kamancheh and Oud: songs for midnight.

The Yagel Haroush Ensemble

Gluck – Orfeo ed Euridice

Thursday, 17th December 20:00

  • Galilee Chamber Orchestra
  • Tel Aviv Collegium Singers
  • Hila Baggio – Euridice
  • Nour Darwish – Amore
  • Yaniv D’Or – Orfeo

Yishai Steckler – Conductor


Sufi Music

Saturday, 19th December 18:00

  • Khaled Abu Ali &The Darwish Ensemble


Tel Aviv Collegium Singers…       

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Yagel Haroush, is a singer, a kamancheh and ney player, a poet, a composer of piyutim… Read more >


Niamh O’Sullivan, mezzo-soprano, 25-year-old Irish praised for her “bewitchingly beautiful, dark vibrant voice” …  Read more >


Hila Baggio, soprano, was born in Israel. She was a member of the Israeli Opera's Opera Studio. 

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Nour Darwish, soprano, was born in Israel. She graduated from the Buchman-Mehta School…

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The Galilee Chamber Orchestra broke ground as the first professional orchestra composed of both Arab and Jewish…

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Yaniv d’Or was born in Israel. His repertoire includes Artemis in Phaedra (Henze), Delfa in Giasone (Cavalli), Melind…

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Yishai Steckler was born in Israel. He graduated from the singing and conducting departments at the Rubin Music…

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Saleem Ashkar made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 22 and has since gone on to establish an international career…  

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