The ethno-symphonetic orchestra Šarbilach (translated as "a shard for good luck") is a civic association encouraging Jewish music and culture in a civil society and aims to develop a respect, a tolerance and a dignity of human personality. It creates conditions for cooperation aimed at spreading the Jewish culture. There are 30 ensemble members, mainly students from Basic Art Schools and Conservatories. Occasionally, professional musicians join the orchestra.
Šarbilach’s repertoire is predominantly composed by art director Jaromír Vogel and it is distinctly influenced by Jewish traditions from Eastern Europe. The composer arranged some Jewish folk melodies and Jewish traditional songs especially for the orchestra. The arrangements were done using very unusual instrumentation for a big orchestra and they were mainly considered compositions inspired by klezmer music. Šarbilach concerts are usually emceed by harpist and Professor Pavla Jahodová – Vondráčková, expounding on Jewish traditions.
The orchestra was founded in 2002 by the composer Jaromír Vogel. But you can track its roots back to 1992 when the orchestra accompanied the theatrical play „Romeo and Juliet“ for two seasons at Prague Castle.
The style of Šarbilach is very original and very various from the dramaturgical point of view. It is a unique, harmonious and rhythmical merge of classical, popular and ethnic music.
On the occasion of the Israeli president’s visit to the Czech Republic in 1996, Šarbilach had a concert in the Galerie Rudolfinum. In 1998, Czech Television invited Šarbilach to its musical show ,,Sešli se‘‘ where they played with the Hradištan band of Jiří Pavlica.
Unquestionably, the milestones in Šarbilach ‘s history would be its participation at the musical festival called Unconventional Žižkov Autumn of Jiří Hošek in 2000, 2001, 2003, and at the international festival of Czech-German-Jewish culture called 9 Gates (9 bran) taking place in Valdštejn gardens in Prague in 2004 and 2005. For this occasion the orchestra was expanded to 65 musicians with soloists.
In December 2005, the orchestra introduced the world premiere of the symphonic poem Yad Vashem-- composed by Jaromír Vogel--in Jerusalem Synagogue in memory of Holocaust victims. The orchestra consisted of 73 musicians, a mixed chorus, children’s ensemble, soloists and a children‘s trio. The poem was studied and realized by the Russian conductor Vjačeslav Grochovský and it was dedicated to Sir Nicholas Winton.
The Šarbilach orchestra participated in many musical programmes in 2006 because of the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Jewish Museum in Prague. It also performed in the Synagogue in Březnice in summer 2006 and 2010.
Many members were presented at Smetana´s Hall in the Municipal House in Prague on 11 September, 2006, when there was a world premiere of the symphonic service Missa Ecumenica composed by Jaromír Vogel for the 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York.
The orchestra regularly plays at many other public performances and concerts such as the Camerate Nova festival in Náchod, the Vyšehraní festival in Prague, the Midsummer celebration at St. Ignacia Church or readings given by Jaromír Vogel in different synagogues and concert halls.
The Šarbilach orchestra is currently conducted by Pavel Trojan. To find more information about the orchestra, go to www.sarbilach.cz.
Based on the feedback from our audience we assume this genre is unique on the Czech stage and it is always greatly appreciated.
Jaromír Vogel has composed music for many movies, TV productions, theatrical plays, fairy tales, melodramas, musicals, and, most especially, Jewish music.
In 2001, he was awarded the Diploma of Franz Kafka for his work by the European Circle Franz Kafka Praha and the Gustav Mahler Award by the European Art Union. In 2002, he received the World Award of Antonín Dvořák by the Masaryk Academy of Arts—and in 2006 the Euro Pragensis Ars Award. He was given a personal thank you and blessing by the Venerable Pope John Paul II in a pontifical preamble during his visit to Prague. Sir Nicholas Winton, the rescuer of 669 Jewish children in World War II, sent him a thank you letter on the occasion of the premiere of his symphonic poem Yad Vashem, which was composed in Sir Winton’s honor. The world premiere of his other composition CHAIM BE TIKVA will be premiered on 28th December 2011 in Bethlehem chapel in Prague. To find more information about the composer, go to www.vogelavos.cz.
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Praha 10 – Vršovice