Interfaith Peacebuilding


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Interfaith Programs

Recording "Halelu — A Cantata for Peace"

“Halelu,” a 40-minute composition for solo voices, chorus and orchestra is a collaborative effort between New York City Symphony music director David Eaton and the prominent Israeli singer/composer, David D'Or. The music was inspired by the efforts of the Middle Peace Initiative (MEPI) and consists of ten movements, several of which are based on the MEPI motto, "Peace, Shalom, Salaam Aleikum," the greetings of peace of the three Abrahamic faiths of Christanity, Judaism and Islam.

Mr. Eaton and Mr. D'Or first met at the MEPI/Ambassadors for Peace concert in September of 2004 at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

For David D’Or this was one of the most uplifting concerts he had done in his distinguished career. “For days I couldn’t sleep well after that concert. The spiritual energy was so intense. And people who attended that event emailed me for weeks afterwards expressing their appreciation and good wishes. Based on the inspiration of that concert I felt compelled to contribute to the cause, and the best way for me to do that was to write music.” “Halelu” was born out of that impulse.

After a subsequent meeting in New York early in 2005 the two Davids began a serious creative collaboration based on several musical themes that Mr. D'Or had composed and sent to Mr. Eaton. From March through August Mr. Eaton arranged and orchestrated the music and with the assistance of soprano Seiko Lee produced demos of the various movements, which were then sent to David D'Or for approval.

For Mr. Eaton, David D’Or original musical themes represented a deep connection to past musical traditions; traditions rooted in liturgical concepts--Western, Oriental and Middle Eastern.

“I was very taken by richness of his [DD’s] melodic invention. I remember feeling that some of it was very much like the music of Bach, perhaps the greatest of the church composers. It was deeply spiritual music and evoked the spirit of the most exalted musical expressions of that particular culture. Other themes were evocative of the modality of the Hebrew and Arabic traditions.

Recording Session It was a fantastic juxtaposing of several traditions. I knew we had to work together on this because David’s musical ideas were concomitant with the entire MEPI agenda. He was a musical Ambassador for Peace bringing several traditions into harmony.

Upon hearing some of the initial demos that David Eaton produced with Miss Lee, David D’Or said he cried he was so moved by the arrangements. When Seiko heard the music for the first time she called David Eaton and said, “I have to sing with David D’Or. I feel as if this music was written for us. It’s amazing.” David D. concurred and upon hearing Seiko’s voice asked that she be the soprano soloist on the recording.

Once the score and parts were finished in New York, Mr. Eaton, David D. emailed David E. with the idea of recording the music “right away.” This was in September” recalls Mr. Eaton, “and David wanted us to come in October. I could sense he was very excited.”

It took several months to work out the logistics of rehearsing and recording, but in April, 2006 Mr. Eaton and Miss Lee traveled to Tel Aviv to record “Halelu” with David D'Or, the Ra'anana Symphony Orchestra and members of the Philharmonia Chorus of Israel, the country’s leading professional chorus. The editing and mixing of the recording sessions was done in May and the CD of “Halelu” is due for release in the summer of 2006.

A concert premiere of “Halelu” is being prepared in Jerusalem for later this year and a subsequent U.S. premiere is being discussed with the NYC Symphony in 2006 or early 2007.

David Eaton looks at this project as having great significance in the process of creating a cultural expression that can transcend barriers and inspire others to be part of the peace process. “We know that music has moral and ethical power. It can open hearts and minds in profound ways. But once we open our hearts, where do we go? What do we seek? In the third movement of “Halelu” we hear the chorus sing, ‘Heaven rings with the hope of Peace; The hope of all ages, forever our dream, forever the dream of God.’ That sentiment is something that David, Seiko and I, as artists who share the desire to use our talent for a higher purpose, hope to perpetuate in our creative endeavors. And we hope to find other artists who share that idea. We all have a roll to play, or a song to sing, in this pursuit.”

Singer/composer David D'Or is one of Israel's most prominent performing artists. He has appeared with orchestras throughout the world and has performed for numerous heads of state as well as having performed at Vatican for Pope John Paul II. In 2004 he was voted Israel's "Singer of the Year" and was his country's entry in the 2004 Eurovision competition.

David Eaton has been the Music Director of the New York City Symphony since 1985. He has appeared as a guest conductor with orchestras in Europe, Asia, Canada, Central and South America, Ukraine and Russia. A highly sought after composer and producer, he has scores of original compositions to his credit and his works have been performed in prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the United Nations.

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