by: Yelena Neplok
The internationally acclaimed, award-winning Nigun Chamber Ensemble (“Nigun” in Hebrew means melody) is devoted to the preservation of a unique musical heritage stemming from Jewish composers and their communities in pre-war Eastern Europe.
The ensemble’s programs include Jewish classical and folk traditions ranging from klezmer to chamber music, art song and liturgical music. The group's unique repertoire consists of a wide variety of genres and rarely heard works of great musical and historical interest by some of the most prominent Jewish, Russian, and European composers of the 19th and 20th century.
Founded in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1991 by its artistic director and internationally renowned pianist Yelena Neplok, the Nigun Chamber Ensemble was the first ensemble of top musicians in St. Petersburg devoted to the performance of Jewish folk and art music. Even during Perestroika it was considered daring to perform Jewish music that had been suppressed for so long under the Soviet regime. The Nigun Ensemble toured throughout Russia and performed in numerous Russian and international music festivals. Highly successful concerts in many of the most prestigious Russian venues, including Oktyabrsky Grand Concert Hall, St. Petersburg Municipal Cultural Center, Glinka Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Yusupov Palace Theater, the Malachite Hall of the Russian Institute of the History of Arts, and many others, drew large enthusiastic audiences and were followed by excellent reviews. Yelena Neplok reorganized the Nigun Ensemble in Boston in 1997. The group had its American premiere at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in the festival “Jewish Music: Renaissance and Remembrance” and was met with great critical acclaim. The Nigun Ensemble has been enthusiastically received in numerous international music festivals and concerts in many of the most prestigious music halls. The group has been featured on national radio and television broadcasts in Russia and in the U.S. The ensemble has received a number of excellent reviews in the press and is a member of NEFA’s New England States Touring Roster.
Nigun’s interpretation of folk music, classical music, and art song has impressed audiences and achieved great critical acclaim:
“Yelena Neplok and her colleagues bring to the people culture of highest quality.”
Forward, New York
“All pieces that formed the ensemble’s programs were of phenomenal high art.”
Vestnik - Russian American Magazine
“Ms. Neplok has assembled a set of top-notch musicians who carry on the Nigun tradition of highly professional technique.”
Jewish Advocate, Boston
“Nigun" touches the heart strings of many listeners.”
Yevreiski Mir, (Jewish World), New York
“Led by the internationally renowned artistic director, pianist, soloist and chamber musician Yelena Neplok, the Nigun Ensemble has become one of the most original outlets for Jewish folk music in the Bay State.”
Jewish Advocate, Boston