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 2014-15 programme features:
- 26 October 2014: Founding of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra: film and discussion
- 6 December 2014: Jazz on the Square: Ralph Freeman Quartet
- 25 January 2015: Against All Odds: a concert for Holocaust Memorial Day
- 26 April 2015: Celebrating Life: a concert by The Wallace Ensemble
- 11-14 June 2015: European Jewish Choral Festival