The Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus (JPPC) is part of the modern Yiddish renaissance. Around forty members strong, singers in this multigenerational ensemble hold a range of occupations, from students to retirees. Some speak or are learning Yiddish; others don’t know the language at all. But each member is committed to strengthening Yiddish as a living language and is drawn by the beautiful Yiddish choral music we learn.
The JPPC is building a century-spanning repertoire — oratorios and operettas, labor anthems, folksongs, and classic popular tunes — all in Yiddish. We have commissioned and premiered new Yiddish choral works by composers Helen Medwedeff Greenberg z”l, Robert Ross, Josh Waletzky, Mark Zuckerman, and by our conductor, Binyumen Schaechter.
We share the rich legacy of Yiddish song by performing annually each spring at Symphony Space, most summers at the North American Jewish Choral Festival, and throughout the year at community centers, universities, K-12 schools, museums and places of worship in the New York metropolitan area. We have also performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, at Ground Zero, and the West Point Military Academy.
The Chorus often performs with soloists, including Di Shekhter-tekhter (The Schaechter Sisters), a one-of-a-kind sister duo that has been delighting audiences all over the world with their all-Yiddish programs since 2008.
The JPPC is always looking for new audiences to which we can reveal the power and beauty of Yiddish choral music. If you would like your group to have this moving experience, we are ready to help plan a program for you. We can provide either an entire concert or perform several numbers to enhance a commemoration or special event.
For availability and booking arrangements, please email the JPPC at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Yiddish has been the everyday voice of the Ashkenazic Jewish people for around one thousand years. Mixing Hebrew, High German, Slavic, and Romance languages, Yiddish was spoken in Jewish daily life in Central and Eastern Europe from medieval times. In the 19th century, the language reached its “Golden Age” in the literature of such internationally renowned writers as Sholom Aleichem, Y. L. Peretz, Itzik Manger, and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Throughout that time, many Yiddish speakers also emigrated to cities and towns in North and South America, Africa, Australia, and Asia. In New York City, Yiddish was the mame-loshn or “mother tongue” that Jewish immigrants spoke with their children, heard in Second Avenue theatres, and read in newspapers like the Forverts (Forward) and the Frayhayt.
Although Yiddish was almost silenced in the 20th century by the Holocaust and assimilation, this rich, vibrant voice of Jewish history and culture is growing stronger day by day. Written in Hebrew script, Yiddish today is a living language, pronounced with great expression and musical cadence. Almost a million people around the globe speak Yiddish – 250,000 in the United States and 60,000 in New York State alone. Today more than 60 universities worldwide offer classes in Yiddish, and New York City itself boasts a Yiddish degree program at New York University, as well as courses at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Workmen’s Circle. The past twenty years has seen a rebirth of interest in Yiddish music, literature, and arts, and in Yiddish itself, a vital symbol of Jewish identity which once approached extinction.