Belsize Square is proud of its rich musical heritage. Our services feature liturgical music born out of German late romanticism, while a concert and musical event programme reflects the wide-ranging musical talent and tastes of our community today.
The Belsize Square Synagogue Youtube channel features highlights of our music.
Music at services
We employ a professional, full-time chazzan, have three choirs and use an organ in all our services. Belsize Square preserves the nineteenth-century German Liberale Tradition more comprehensively than any other British synagogue. The music heard in our synagogue is treasured by our community and visitors.
The majority of our music was composed by Louis Lewandowski (b.1821), who was based in Berlin and influenced by Felix Mendelssohn. We also sing music composed by Salomon Sulzer (b.1804), a contemporary and friend of Franz Schubert, who was famous as a cantor in nineteenth-century Vienna.
We also perform music by more recent composers, including our former and current directors of music, Sue Mariner and Benjamin Wolf. The preservers and shapers of our tradition have primarily been our cantors – Rev Magnus Davidsohn, Rev Joseph Dollinger, Rev Louis Berkman, Rev Lawrence Fine and most recently Cantor Norman Cohen Falah, who added a Sephardi aspect to our services. Click to read about our current cantor, Paul Heller.
Concerts and music events
To celebrate and build on Belsize Square’s musical heritage, a group of members seeks to present an interesting and varied musical programme outside normal worship, under the title of Music at Belsize. The 2017-18 programme features:
- Sunday 18 November 2018: Mitzvah Day Concert
- 1+2 December 2018: Jazz at the Chanukah Market
- Saturday 19 January 2019: Belsize has Talent
- Saturday 13 April 2019: Choral Concert with the Bat Kol choir from Jerusalem
Over the years, Music at Belsize has brought a variety of artists to our synagogue. While we regularly hold liturgical concerts, such as cantorial compositions or music from Berlin or Vienna, our music hall has also welcomed classical music, talent shows and even an opera! Our last event was a Gala Concert featuring our very own Cantor Paul Heller and three other cantors. Click here to see photos from the concert.
For more information about the music events programme, please contact the synagogue office.