A Besere Velt Yiddish Chorus

A Besere Velt Yiddish Chorus

Derek David, Music Director

A Besere Velt – A Better World – is proud to be a voice for justice. This vibrant 80-member intergenerational community chorus weaves the heartache and irrepressible idealism of Yiddish music into a vision of justice and humanity for the 21st century. From haunting melodies to workers’ anthems, the songs come alive with multi-layered harmonies and allow us to express Jewishness and social justice in the same breath–it’s called radical Yiddishkayt!

The repertoire of A Besere Velt grew out of the shtetls, the sweatshops and union meetings, the camps and ghettos. These songs contain the sounds of the history, the culture, and the progressive values to inspire us to action today.

Founded in 1997, A Besere Velt has performed throughout New England and New York, from conferences to picket lines, from temples to interfaith rallies, from universities to senior centers, and released its debut CD in 2006.

23_Diasporas And Dreams_053019_LARGE_DSD_2684_©2019 Derek Kouyoumjian

A Besere Velt has performed with world-renowned Yiddish musicians, including Theodore Bikel, The Klezmatics, Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, Polina Shepherd, Lorin Sklamberg, and Daniel Kahn. Cross-cultural collaborations include The National Spiritual Ensemble, Robbie O’Connell, Odaiko New England, The Guy Mendilow Ensemble, and Noor Ensemble.

A Besere Velt was the subject of Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler's dissertation, Yiddish Songs and Jewish Futures: A Besere Velt, Partisan Music, and Modern Performance.  You can read a version of her article here. This is a penultimate draft of the article appearing in Jewish Folklore & Ethnography, Volume 1, pp. 186-209. The published version can be found here. Please cite published version.

Derek (1)

Derek David

Music Director
Since 2018, Dr. Derek David has been music director of A Besere Velt. An accomplished composer, conductor, and music educator based in Boston, Derek’s music has been performed in Europe and throughout the United States. Prior to his work with A Besere Velt, he was choir conductor for the men’s and women’s choirs at Walden School (2015-2017). With degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory, he is currently Lecturer in Music at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

An Introduction to A Besere Velt

Listen to A Besere Velt

To order CDs, send $18 per CD plus $3 for mailing costs (with $1 postage for each additional CD) to Boston Workers Circle, 6 Webster Street, Brookline, MA 02446.

Or stop by the office—please call ahead (617-566-6281) to ensure a staff member will be available to assist you.

For more information, including booking A Besere Velt, contact abv@circleboston.org.

Join A Besere Velt!

If you enjoy singing in a spirited and harmonious multi-generational 80-person chorus, A Besere Velt is a great place to give it a try!

We encourage membership in Boston Workers Circle and have lower rates for Boston Workers Circle members, recognize multiple members from a single family, and offer a special young adult rate.

In a time of so much economic uncertainty, we are committed to making participation accessible to everyone. Please don't let cost be a barrier to joining. If you can't afford the listed dues, contact the ABV treasurer, finance@circleboston.org. For those who can afford to make an additional donation, that will certainly help both ABV and BWC.

First Adult - $280 First Adult - $375
Second Adult** - $240 Second Adult - $340
Young Adult (<35) - $90 Young Adult (<35) - $120

Current members, check out rehearsal details here.

For more information, or to join, contact abv@circleboston.org.

Looking for additional opportunities to sing Yiddish songs?

Check out our monthly Yiddish Sings!


recognizing our donors

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Boston
Cultural Council, administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.

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