Music in the Hills
Music at Abu Ghosh
The village of Abu Ghosh, built on the ruins of biblical Kiryat Yearim, has a fascinating
history going back more than half a millennium. Two churches exist in Abu Ghosh today.
One, named Kiryat Yearim, stands on a hill; the other, the Benedictine Church of Our Lady
of the Ark of Covenant, is located in the village center. Concerts and musical happenings
take place in both churches throughout the year, but the most prominent and festive annual
events, the twice annual Abu Ghosh Music Festival, take place in summer and fall during the
Jewish Shavuot and Succot holidays. The festival’s repertoire always includes classical vocal
works, complemented by a soupçon of ethnic songs from all over the world, with dedicated
scores and arrangements, from ancient Mediterranean Basin music, to rock hits, to Bach’s
Magnificat and Mozart’s Requiem. The festivals main claim to fame is its rich assortment of
vocal renditions and the stage it offers choirs and soloists. The Abu Ghosh Music Festival
has been earning praise for the past 26 years, ever since it was founded, for its excellent
acoustics; the music is chosen with care, and the repertoire is unique.
Piano at Nataf
Revital Hachamoff, one of Israel’s most prominent concert pianists, performs both in Israel and internationally, as a soloist with some of the world’s finest orchestras and as part of
chamber music ensembles. She also opened her home in Nataf a few years ago, as a stage for high-quality “”Piano at Nataf” recitals, which take place in a hall with excellent acoustics,
designed especially for Hachamoff’s piano series. The repertoire, which Hachamoff renders
on a Fazioli grand piano with a rare, magnificent sound, is quite diverse. Intermission
refreshments served against the background of the breathtaking Judean Hills, consist of
wines from the dedicated “Piano at Nataf” series, produced by Sea Horse Winery, at Bar
Giora, along with homemade ice cream, hot beverages, and crackers baked by Ofer and
Dietra from nearby Yad Hashmona. Advance reservations are a must.
For information on concert dates:
Beit Jamal Monastery Concert Tours
Classical and jazz concerts, as well as performances mixing both genres, are staged every Saturday at the Beit Jamal Monastery, near Beit Shemesh. Most of the concerts spotlight
classical musical gems, arias and duets, romanceros, Canzone Napoletana, modern hit
songs, and more.
The name Beit Jamal is Arabic for “beautiful house.” According to Christian tradition, the
place, which used to be known as Kafr Gamla (Gamliel Village), was named after Rabbi Gamliel Nakdimon, who served as president of the Sanhedrin (the ancient Jewish rabbinical court) in Yavne and was buried at what is now Beit Jamal. According to Jewish tradition, Rabbi Gamliel Nakdimon’s grave is located in Yavne, though his estate had been at Kafr Gamla.
The Beit Jamal Monastery is home to about five monks. They tend a vineyard and sell their
Cremisan-label wine, and they also grow olives for the olive oil they produce. Both the wines
and the olive oil are available at the on-premises shop. Guided tours of the monastery, St.
Stephen’s Church and the Sisters of Bethlehem Nunnery adjacent to it precede the concerts
and are free of charge. Ceramics produced by the nuns are available at the small nunnery
shop, as are their handmade chocolates, which can be tasted.
For further information and to book tickets:
Directions: Drive to Highway #1 (the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway) in the direction of Shaar
Hagai Junction. Turn off at the junction onto Road #38, driving south. Continue past Beit
Shemesh and exit left at the Beit Jamal turnoff.
Targ Music Center, Ein Kerem
The Eden-Tamir Music Center, situated in Ein Kerem, has become a focal point for fascinating
musical activities in recent years. Chamber music recitals are staged on a regular basis, and it hosts workshops, festivals artist classes and concerts broadcast on “Kol Hamusica,” an
Israeli radio station. The high-level of the performances, a pastoral setting and the intimate
ambience of the space create a unique blend of music, beauty and tranquility. A huge,
beautiful berry tree planted more than a century ago grows in the courtyard.
Address: 29 Hamaayan St., Ein Kerem.