The Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus (JPPC) is a New York City-based audition chorus dedicated to preserving and fostering a love of Yiddish music. In their unique mission, the JPPC performs strictly in Yiddish, rediscovering and reinterpreting traditional works from the Eastern European shtetl, as well as new songs with a contemporary sound. Interestingly, most of the Chorus at this point does not understand Yiddish. The texts on the sheet music are all written with English letters, the singers are all provided with word-for-word translations, and mp3s are provided to help with the pronunciation (as well as the music, for those who aren’t as fluid at reading music). When the JPPC performs, English translations are always provided. At this point, much of the JPPC’s audience is younger; and the combination of the translations given, with the JPPC’s manner of performing leaves the Yiddish-challenged in the audience feeling like they understood everything.
Founded in 1922 as the “Freiheit Gezang Farein,” the JPPC began as a musical expression of the Jewish labor movement. It has evolved into an intergenerational chorus with a solid reputation as an interpreter of a wide range of choral material. One of the longest regularly performing Yiddish choruses in North America, the JPPC currently has around 40 members, as well as a smaller chamber ensemble for special events. From 1960-71 – The JPCNY merges into the JPPC
Performing for diverse audiences in the greater New York area has enabled the JPPC to carry Yiddish music to people of all ages, in many different kinds of locales. Recent venues have included Lincoln Center, Shea Stadium, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun (NYC), Ground Zero, the Museum of the City of New York, the North American Jewish Choral Festival, Queens College, Riverside Church (NYC), Symphony Space, and West Point Military Academy.
Zingt! A Celebration of Yiddish Choral Music, the JPPC’s first CD, was released in 2006. Committed to bringing Yiddish music into the 21st Century, this CD continues a long tradition of recordings that began in 1948. Generous donations to the Chorus by individuals and foundations provided the impetus for this project. The CD includes “Reb Dovidl,” “Shoyshanas Yaakoyv,” “Vaserl,” and much more. In addition, a live-in-concert DVD has been released of a 2007 concert the JPPC gave focusing on the works of the two great Yiddish songwriters, Warshawsky and Gebirtig, including songs like “Afn pripetshik,” “Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi,” “Es brent” & “Di mizinke oysgegebn.”
Binyumen Schaechter has conducted the JPPC since 1995. If you would like to be placed on their mailing list, audition for the chorus, or to send a tax-deductible contribution, you can contact them for more information via their email address [email protected].