The Jewish Soul

A Project by Benjamin Ashkenazy

initiated and supported by Noah Gal Gendler

 former Israeli  ambassador to Bulgaria

(home to ancient ladino speaking Jewish community)


“The Jewish Soul” is a unique Ladino (old Jewish Spanish dialect) project initiated with the aim to give Ladino music a place of honor in the concert hall.


The first concert was performed in May 2008 in ”Bulgaria Hall”, Sofia  excited and touched the audience deeply. The concert  was performed again on 15th November 2008 in Nijmegen-Holland and then in The Concertgebouw Amsterdam on 11th  November 2009, in Geneva on 7 December 2009 and in 2010/11 in Stara Zagora, Pleven, Plovdiv Festival, Varna Festival and Pazardzhik – Bulgaria.


On 1st March 2012 the Ladino concert was conducted  with the Philharmonic Hradec Králové in Czech Republic (Organized by the Israeli Embassy in Prague, with the support of the Embassies of USA, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Cyprus, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain and Turkey).


"The Jewish Soul" project has a very special classical concept. It is a concert for a large Symphony orchestra, with special unique impressive orchestrations of the Ladino music. The orchestrations include arrangements for singer solo, trumpet, shofar, clarinet and choir and thus bring  the soul and the spirit of the Jewish songs to the attention of the audience.

The first concert, performed by trumpet soloist Arik Davidov and conducted by Benjamin Ashkenazy, was recorded on CD in Vidin-Bulgaria. The last concert in the Czech Republic was recorded on cd and dvd.


Today, more than ever before, it is of highest importance to preserve the tunes and songs of this legacy going back hundreds of years, which has been passed on from generation to generation: father to son, mother to daughter and still being kept alive within Ladino speaking communities.


During last generations, unfortunately, this legacy is slowly dying out and there is great concern that it will disappear completely from our lives. For this reason the Israeli composer and conductor Benjamin Ashkenazy is working to ensure the preservation of this beautiful music.


Benjamin Ashkenazy is being assisted by flutist Maya Petrova who prepares players instrumentation materials, assists in distribution of musical functions and writes the notes for the different orchestra positions.


We hope that these concerts will thrill those who grew up with the Ladino language and reach the hearts of music lovers as well as people all over the world who cherish old and honorable legacies.