Festival Artists

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Dr. Julia Zavadsky

Julia Zavadsky studied music theory, conducting, and composition at Glier Music College in Kiev, Ukraine and Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, where she studied with Maestro Aaron Harlap. She studied choral conducting at Temple University where she worked with Alan Harler and Janet Yamron and received the Elaine Brown Tribute Award.

Dr. Zavadsky studied with Timothy Long and earned a DMA in Conducting at SUNY Stony Brook. A faculty member of Temple and Rutgers Universities and musical director of two South Jersey community choirs, Dr. Zavadsky has conducted choruses and participated in international choir festivals in the USA, Europe, and the Middle East. Dr. Zavadsky organizes and hosts choral festivals involving University, High School and community choirs across the region.

Dr. Zavadsky serves as the a conductor and artistic director of the Rutgers University Singers as well as Nashirah, The Jewish Chorale of the Greater Philadelphia.

Cantor Natasha J. Hirschhorn

Cantor Natasha J. Hirschhorn is the author of numerous liturgical and secular compositions and an accomplished performer and recording artist, who has been featured as a singer, pianist, conductor and composer at congregations, music festivals, and in concert halls throughout the country, including Jazz at Lincoln Center; the Kennedy Center, Toronto Jewish Music Festival and the Curtis Institute of Music, among others. She has served as Hazzan and the Music Director of Congregation Ansche Chesed in New York City since 2004. She is also the founding conductor of the AC Jewish Community Chorus, Shirei Chesed, and the Brooklyn Jewish Community Chorus, Shir Chadash.

A native of Ukraine, Natasha has studied musicology, piano, and composition at Moscow’s Gnessin State Musical College (now the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music) and the Kyiv Conservatory. Ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion in 1999, Cantor Hirschhorn has served on the faculty of both the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary and at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at the Hebrew Union College. She is the Music Director and Conductor of the JTS Cantorial School choir, and has recently collaborated with the Grammy nominated Western Wind vocal ensemble. Hazzan Hirschhorn is delighted to collaborate again with Dr. Julia Zavadsky and the wonderful singers of Nashirah: the Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia.

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Special Guest Artists of the Virtual Festival

You can read about Nashirah, the Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia, and our artistic staff, Dr. Julia Zavadsky and Soyeon Bin, by following these links.  Special guest artist bios are included below...

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Cantor Natasha J. Hirschhorn

Cantor Natasha J. Hirschhorn is the author of numerous liturgical and secular compositions and an accomplished performer and recording artist, who has been featured as a singer, pianist, conductor and composer at congregations, music festivals, and in concert halls throughout the country, including Jazz at Lincoln Center; the Kennedy Center, Toronto Jewish Music Festival and the Curtis Institute of Music, among others. She has served as Hazzan and the Music Director of Congregation Ansche Chesed in New York City since 2004. She is also the founding conductor of the AC Jewish Community Chorus, Shirei Chesed, and the Brooklyn Jewish Community Chorus, Shir Chadash.

A native of Ukraine, Natasha has studied musicology, piano, and composition at Moscow’s Gnessin State Musical College (now the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music) and the Kyiv Conservatory. Ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion in 1999, Cantor Hirschhorn has served on the faculty of both the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary and at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at the Hebrew Union College. She is the Music Director and Conductor of the JTS Cantorial School choir, and has recently collaborated with the Grammy nominated Western Wind vocal ensemble. Hazzan Hirschhorn is delighted to collaborate again with Dr. Julia Zavadsky and the wonderful singers of Nashirah: the Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia.

Nadya Timofeyeva

Nadya Timofeyeva is the Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Ballet (2007-present) and of the Jerusalem Ballet School, where she has served as Ballerina, Choreographer, Teacher and Rehearsal Director. Nadya was born on June 10, 1972 in Moscow. Her father, Georgi Rerberg was a famous film producer (cameraman) and her mother Nina Timofeyeva was the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet. In 1990 Nadya graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, together with her classmate Galina Kuznetsova. During her years at the Academy, she studied with the exceptional ballerina Marina Semyonova. In 1990, Nadya was accepted into the Kremlin Ballet. On the Kremlin stage she performed several of the lead roles.

 

In 1991, Nina Timofeyeva, Nadya's mother, relocated to Israel following the invitation of the Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. Nadya, of course, relocated to Israel together with her. From 1991-2003 Nadya, served as a ballet teacher at the Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. In 2004, Nadya, together with her mother, Nina Timofeyeva, established the Jerusalem Ballet School. Since the establishment of the Jerusalem ballet school Nadya played a key role as an instructor and leading rehearsal director. In 2007, after the departure of her mother, Nina Timofeyeva, Nadya assumed the role of Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Ballet School and the Jerusalem Ballet.

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Ramon Tasat

Vocalist, musician and gifted entertainer Ramón Tasat thrills audiences with his magnificent tenor voice and unforgettable guitar arrangements. Ramón sings in Hebrew, Ladino, Spanish, Italian and English, and specializes in Sephardic music. Ramón has the unique ability to transform his listeners into active participants as he skillfully weaves his profound understanding of music and culture with his love of rhythm and melody. From a single note to an evening of musical splendor, Ramón’s sensitivity and passionate musical renditions will captivate audiences of all interests, ages and backgrounds.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ramón learned Ladino, the language of the Sephardic people, at his grandmother’s knee; his style reflects the rich history and drama of this extraordinary culture. Trained in five different countries, Ramón has studied at the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, the Manuel de Falla Conservatory of Music and the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a Doctorate degree in Voice Performance. His Doctoral dissertation is entitled: “The Cantillations and Melodies of the Jews of Tangier, Morocco.”

Ramón Tasat is the Cantor of Shirat HaNefesh (Song of the Soul), an emerging Jewish congregation in southern Montgomery County, MD. He is also the musical Director of Kolot HaLev, a Jewish Community choir in the Greater Washington area and the president of Shalshelet: The Foundation for New Jewish Liturgical Music.

Ramón has appeared in numerous opera productions including “Le Nozze di Figaro,” “Il Impressario,” and “La Traviata,” and has drawn worldwide critical as well as audience acclaim. After attending Ramón’s “Cantata Ebraica” concert, Rabbi Samuel Weintraub remarked, “Ramón Tasat is a gem. He sings with passion and true bel canto technique. I was also impressed by the seamless weaving of the operatic and Jewish liturgical traditions.”

Ramón has toured Europe with world-renowned Dr. Robert Shaw, and he has participated in international festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. His most notable appearances include: the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, the Israeli Embassy, the Italian Consulate in New York City, Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, Harvard University, Saint Cére, France, Siena, Italy, Helsinki, Finland and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

In addition to television and radio appearances, Ramón has been the recipient of numerous awards including First Place at the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center’s Recital Competition and a National Endowment of the Arts Grant.

Marina Kenny

Born in Lincoln, Buenos Aires, Marina discovered tango at age 18 in the city of Rosario. Since then, she has studied with the most recognized tango teachers of the country. She also studied modern dance, ballet and contact improvisation, and has been part of several investigation groups in body work. Marina is also a degreed Music Therapist and professional yoga teacher.

Since she moved to Buenos Aires in 2007, Marina has taught regular lessons of tango and perform in recognized studios and milongas of the city, including Viva la Pepa Milonga, Practica X, Tango Brujo, Salón Canning, El Esquinazo and Milonga 10, among others. She has worked as a dancer and teacher in diferent countries like United States, Canada, México, Poland and China, where she has also participated in renowned festivals.

As a performer she stands out for her refined technique, precision and expressiveness. Her knowledge of other artistic disciplines gives her a very personal style in the dancing. Respecting the traditional tango essence, she also incorporates the most contemporary elements of this dance.

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Shirei Chesed Community Chorus at Ansche Chesed

Even in the Covid era, Shirei Chesed Community Chorus continues to build community through learning a rich and diverse repertoire of Jewish music, and bringing harmony into the world that needs it more than ever.  In lieu of live performances, this semester the chorus is focusing its efforts on growing its repertoire and musicianship, as well as recording a virtual choir project.

Our 4-part chorus brings together almost 50 lovers of choral singing from both Ansche Chesed Congregation in New York and the wider Jewish community. Our recent performances include classical programs with The Bachanalia String Orchestra, a jazz concert with The Afro-Semitic Experience ensemble, Oratorio Souls on Fire based on the book by Elie Wiesel, a celebration of Jewish Love Songs from around the world, performed both at AC and at the Curtis Institute of Music, and a collaboration with the Grammy nominated vocal sextet The Western Wind.

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Andres Amarilla & Meredith Klein

Andres Amarilla & Meredith Klein have been teaching, performing and promoting Argentine tango around the world together since 2006. Andres began dancing tango as a child in Buenos Aires in 1987. Meredith found tango as a college student in Massachusetts in 1999. For both Andres & Meredith, a devotion to helping expand tango's reach - meaning more people dancing tango, more people listening to tango music, and more people enjoying a sense of tango community - has become a way of life. Meredith directs the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, Philadelphia Tango Festival and Fishtown Salon Concert Series. She also sings with Nashirah.