Music of the Sephardic Diaspora with Jordi Savall at Alice Tully Hall in New York

Jordi Savall
Jordi Savall
Music of the Sephardic Diaspora will be the focus of a concert in the new Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on Sunday, February 22nd at 9pm when celebrated viola da gambist Jordi Savall and early music ensemble Hespèrion XXI present Diáspora Sefardí: From Medieval Spain to the Eastern Mediterranean. Joined by soprano Montserrat Figueras and early music champions Driss el Maloumi (oud), Dimitri Psonis (santur and moresca), and David Mayoral (percussion), the concert occurs on the opening night of a two-week festival celebrating the opening of a dramatically transformed Alice Tully Hall.

Under Savall’s direction, the musicians will present an hour-long program featuring a selection of 15th-century vocal and instrumental music which comprise Hespèrion XXI’s Grammy-nominated two-disc anthology Diáspora Sefardí (The Sephardic Diaspora.)

Earlier that evening at 5pm, Mr. Savall joins various musicians in a Sephardic Invocation, the first music to be heard by the public in the revitalized Hall. The Opening-Night concert of the Festival, titled First Look, will be a collaboration of three of the Lincoln Center resident organizations that have most frequently used Alice Tully Hall as a venue over the years: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and The Juilliard School. In a program that ranges from 15th-century Sephardic music to works by Bach and Golijov, the performance will feature Mr. Savall and Ms. Figueras, pianist Leon Fleisher, the Emerson String Quartet, members of the Chamber Music Society, and conductor David Robertson leading the Juilliard Orchestra.

Born near Barcelona, Spain, Catalan viol player, conductor, composer, and teacher Jordi Savall has been a major early music figure since the 1970s. He gained renown by creating, performing, and recording the music for Alain Corneau’s 1991 film Tous les matins du monde. He formed his original instrumental ensemble, Hespèrion XX, in 1974 with his wife, soprano Montserrat Figueras, and along with its successor, Hespèrion XXI, has introduced many unknown works to audiences in concert halls, major international festivals, and recordings. He organized the vocal ensemble La Capella Reial de Catalunya in 1987, and two years later created Le Concert des Nations, an orchestra specializing in the Baroque repertoire. Recently, the four Savall family members, parents, daughter Arianna Savall (harp, voice) and son Ferran Savall (theorbo and voice) have performed together.

Founded as Hespèrion XX in Basel, Switzerland, in 1974 by Jordi Savall, Montserrat Figueras, Lorenzo Alpert, and Hopkinson Smith, Hespèrion XXI is an international early music ensemble dedicated to the interpretation, assessment, and revaluation of ancient music, particularly the music of 16th- and 17th-century Spain. The ensemble has not only presented many previously unknown works in live concerts but has also performed for various recordings, radio, and television productions.

Hespèrion XXI was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001 for their double album Diáspora Sefardí, a collection of vocal works and instrumental pieces dating from the 15th century when the Jews were expelled from parts of Spain. The Sephardic Diaspora refers to this Jewish exodus in 1492 when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella commanded that all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity be expelled from Castile and Aragon in modern-day Spain. An estimated 100,000 Jews fled to North Africa, lands of the Ottoman empire (particularly Turkey and Greece), and other European countries such as France, Italy, and Portugal. These exiles brought with them unique culture, language, and traditions. The resultant marriage of influences from the Sephardic Jews’ old and new homes is reflected in Hespèrion XXI’s two-disc set, Diáspora Sefardí. The selections on the album depict not only surviving traditions of medieval Hispanic music but also the influence of sophisticated musical forms which developed in the Ottoman empire during the 16th century.

Sunday, February 22 at 9:00 PM
Diáspora Sefardí
From Medieval Spain to the Eastern Mediterranean
The Cultural richness and complexity of the Judeo-Spanish oral tradition in the World & the Eternity


  • Jordi Savall, director, lira, rebab
  • Montserrat Figueras, soprano
  • Driss el Maloumi, oud
  • Dimitri Psonis, santur and moresca
  • David Mayoral, percussion

Song set:

  • Alba (instr.) Morocco
  • Pregoneros van y vienen Sarajevo/Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Longe de mi (instr.) Sofia/Bulgaria
  • Levantose el Conde Niño Salónica/Greece
  • Danse de l’âme (oud) Morocco
  • Nani, nani Morocco
  • Paxarico tu te llamas (instr.) Sarajevo/Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Por allí pasó un cavallero Turquia/Turkey
  • A la una yo nací (flauta & perc.) Sarajevo/Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • El Rey de Francia Esmirna/Turkey
  • Hermoza muchachica (instr.) Jerusalem/Israel
  • El moro de Antequera Rhodes/Greece
  • En la Santa Helena (instr.) Sofia/Bulgaria
  • Por que llorax blanca niña Sarajevo/Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Las estrellas de los cielos (instr.) Alexandria/Egypt
  • Una matica de ruda Rhodes/Greece

Tickets: All tickets for this performance are $25 and are available at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office beginning January 22nd, at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office, online at, or by phone via CenterCharge, 212-721-6500.

Buy the CD:

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central


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