Formed in 1969, this 50-member adult chorale, dubbed a "virtuoso outfit" by the Boston Globe and recognized by American Record Guide as "America's foremost Jewish choral ensemble," has remained committed to the highest quality performance of music spanning thousands of years, four continents, and a variety of styles, both popular and classical. The Chorale's repertoire includes Jewish liturgical pieces, major classical works, music of the Holocaust, newly commissioned compositions by contemporary Jewish composers, and Israeli, Yiddish and Ladino folksongs. Zamir, which means "nightingale" in Hebrew, currently has more than twenty recordings ranging from Baroque masterworks to seasonal celebrations. The Chorale's 1999 tour to Eastern Europe is the subject of the PBS documentary Zamir: Jewish Voices Return to Poland, broadcast on public television stations and shown at film festivals throughout the United States.
The Zamir Chorale of Boston has performed throughout North America, including Boston's Symphony Hall, Tanglewood's Ozawa Hall, and venues in California, Wisconsin, Florida, New York, Montreal, and Washington D.C. The Chorale has also toured Germany, Eastern Europe, Italy, Great Britain and Israel, appearing with the Jerusalem Symphony and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras under Zubin Mehta and Daniel Barenboim. In 1978 Zamir received the Silver Medallion award from Boston's Association for the Performing Arts, in 1988 the Myrtle Wreath award from the New England region of Hadassah, and in 1992 the Klal Yisrael award from the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts. An important component of Zamir’s mission is to develop future leaders in Jewish choral music. Graduates of the program have gone on to conduct choirs of their own in Boston and beyond. Zamir also mentors other Jewish community choruses through joint rehearsals and performances.
Joshua R. Jacobson, founder and artistic director of the Zamir Chorale of Boston, is one of the foremost authorities on Jewish choral music. He is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northeastern University and Visiting Professor and Senior Consultant in the School of Jewish Music at Hebrew College. Over one hundred of his choral arrangements, editions and compositions have been published, and are frequently performed by choirs around the world. In 2004 the Cantors Assembly presented Prof. Jacobson with its prestigious Kavod Award, and Choral Arts New England has recently named him as the 2016 recipient of the Alfred Nash Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award. His book, Chanting the Hebrew Bible: The Art of Cantillation, published by the Jewish Publication Society in 2002, was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. He is co-author of Translations and Annotations of Choral Repertoire—Volume IV: Hebrew Texts, published by earthsongs in 2009. Dr. Jacobson holds degrees in Music from Harvard College, the New England Conservatory, and the University of Cincinnati, and a Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa from Hebrew College.