Jonathan Coopersmith, Conductor
Unlike most major metropolitan areas on the East Coast and around the country, the Greater Philadelphia area has not had a high-quality community-based choral organization, such as the Zamir Chorale of New York or Zamir Boston, that focuses on Jewish repertoire. Given the long and illustrious history of choral music in Philadelphia, Nashirah: The Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia was developed to fill this void in the Philadelphia Jewish and secular communities. Incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 2002, Nashirah began as a 12-voice demonstration choir, formed to demonstrate to the community the type and quality of repertoire it had envisioned from its inception. Over the past five years, through an open audition process, Nashirah has grown to a 23-voice ensemble that has performed in multiple venues in the Greater Philadelphia area, as well as twice by invitation at the North American Jewish Choral Festival; has staged four annual self-produced concerts in 2005-2008, each attended by over 250 patrons; and is now the choir-in-residence at the Gershman Y on the Avenue of the Arts. Under the artistic direction of Jonathan Coopersmith, Nashirah aims ultimately to comprise a 40-voice ensemble and to be an integral member of the Philadelphia Jewish and secular artistic communities.
Nashirah’s mission is to bring Jewish choral music of the highest caliber to the community. Jewish choral music, as defined by Nashirah, includes:
- Music, either sacred or secular, by composers either born or culturally Jewish;
- Music by composers who are non-Jewish, but whose work draws from Old Testament texts or other Jewish sources.
Jonathan Coopersmith, Conductor
A native of Princeton, Jonathan Coopersmith has been Associate Conductor for the Philadelphia Singers since 2002 and on the musical studies faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music since 2004. With the Philadelphia Singers, he conducted the world premiere of John Duffy’s “Interdependence Day,” and has conducted on annual performances of “The Philadelphia Singers on Logan Square” which are broadcast nationally over PRI.
At the Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Coopersmith teaches harmony, counterpoint, music history, and solfege. In addition, he has a small studio of private students in composition and conducting.
In past seasons, Mr. Coopersmith has been hired by The Philadelphia Orchestra as a Guest Chorus Director. He has conducted the Mannes Orchestra in performance at Symphony Space in New York, the Westminster Conservatory Orchestra, the Wilmington Orchestra, the University of Pennsylvania Wind Ensemble, and the Penn’s Landing Orchestra. He has also served as music director for Philadelphia’s Opera On The Square, the Rittenhouse Row Festival, and the Philadelphia Festival of the Arts.
Mr. Coopersmith holds a Masters in Orchestral Conducting from the Mannes College of Music, where he studied with David Hayes, and a Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied music theory and composition with George Crumb, Jay Reise, and Richard Wernick. He also studied at the Pierre Monteux School of Conducting, where he was a student of Michael Jinbo.