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Voices of Identity: Songs of the Jewish Diaspora

Friday–Saturday, August 9–10, 2024 | 1–2:30pm

ADMISSION: Free for Members; $20 general

Immerse yourself in a rich tapestry of Jewish music from around the globe at a concert with acclaimed pianist Allegra Chapman and operatic soprano Sara LeMesh. Voices of Identity: Songs of the Jewish Diaspora reflects the myriad countries and cultures in which Jewish communities have lived and made music. From Ukraine to Yemen, Jewish composers have expressed themselves through song in numerous languages, including Ladino, Yiddish, Hebrew, and English. Hear music by composers from across the world and discover the diversity of Jewish song through works by Polish-Soviet composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg, Ukrainian composer Shalom Kharitonov, Yemeni singer Bracha Tzfira, American composer Lori Laitman, and more. Each composer and song embody a unique form of Jewish life through harmony, rhythm, and/or text.

LeMesh and Chapman have each independently explored Jewish musical traditions both within and outside their Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. While studying in Morocco, and after meeting the rabbi at the only surviving synagogue in Fez, Chapman was inspired to begin her multi-linguistic research and write her senior thesis on the history of the Moroccan Jewish diaspora up to the present day. While living in Jerusalem, LeMesh fulfilled a life-long desire to immerse herself in the study of Hebrew and traveled to Vilna, Lithuania to study Yiddish culture. Voices of Identity: Songs of the Jewish Diaspora represents a culmination of Chapman and LeMesh’s life’s work to share their personal backgrounds with audiences and explore the diversity of Jewish musical traditions. Following the performance, stay for a talk-back from the musicians.

Book Tickets

Performances will take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 9–11. Click below to select your preferred date and book tickets.

About the Performers
Allegra Chapman
Allegra Chapman
Pianist

Acclaimed by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “fervid but impeccably controlled” performances, pianist Allegra Chapman is driven by her passion for connecting audiences with historically overlooked and living composers. Allegra is a member of Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and Chordless duo with soprano Sara LeMesh. From 2020–2023, she toured nationally as pianist of the award-winning Delphi Trio with violinist Liana Bérubé and cellist Tanya Tomkins. Chapman has performed internationally at prestigious venues including Cal Performances, Alice Tully Hall, San Francisco Jazz Center, and Xi’an Concert Hall. In 2023, her duo Chordless won First Prize in the Federation of the Art Song Fellowship Competition. From 2017–2020, Allegra was the founding co-artistic director and executive director of the critically acclaimed festival Bard Music West, a San Francisco-based branch of the Bard Music Festival that explored the worlds of composers from the past 100 years. Allegra is a graduate of the Bard Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School. She is on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Pre-College division. 

Sara LeMesh
Sara LeMesh
Soprano

Soprano Sara LeMesh, hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “powerhouse performance of vocal majesty and expressive translucency,” is a dramatic presence on the opera stage, an avid chamber musician, and an advocate of contemporary music. Garnering praise in international vocal competitions, LeMesh won First Prize in The Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition at Carnegie Hall, First Prize in the PARTNERS for the Arts, Inc. National Opera Competition in Washington, D.C., and First Prize in the 2023 Federation of the Art Song Competition. 

LeMesh’s 2023–24 season includes debuts with West Bay Opera in Carlos Franzetti’s Corpus Evita (Isabel Perón), Opera Company of Middlebury in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment (Marie), and Opera Philadelphia in Rene Orth’s 10 Days in a Madhouse (Nellie/The Madwomancover). A devoted recitalist, LeMesh attended the Marlboro Music Festivalin 2022 and 2023, and she will attend YellowBarn, an international chamber music festival in Putney, Vermont, in June 2024. She recently made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist in Poulenc’s Gloria with the New England Symphonic Ensemble.

Supporters

This program is supported in part by The Federation of the Art Song.

Piano donated by R. Kassman.

Major support for Public Programs is generously provided by Grants for the Arts and Taube Philanthropies.