ALHAMBRA was founded in 1981 by Dr. Isabelle Ganz to transcribe, record, and perform the vast treasures of Sephardic music which have been preserved by the descendants of the Jews of Spain. The ensemble has taped the songs of native singers (primarily at the Sephardic Home for the Aged In Brooklyn), worked with material transcribed by ethnomusicologists, and then arranged this music for performance on Instruments appropriate to the folk cultures of the countries of origin. The group has toured Andalucia at the Invitation of the provincial government of Cordoba, Spain, performed to sold-out houses in London’s Purcell Room and Aimeida Theatre, as well as In Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, St. Paul’s Ordway Theatre, at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, with the New York City Symphony, for the World Music Institute and at the new Skirball Cultural Center In Los Angeles.
Other engagements have included the “First International Festival of Jewish Art Music” in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Quincentennial Celebration in Istanbul, Turkey, the Festival of Early Music in Quebec, chamber music series in Bogota, Columbia, as well as performances at Smith College, Hunter College, the Eastman School of Music, the “Semana Sepharad” in Houston, the JewIsh Museum In New York, and folk festivals, colleges and community centers throughout the U.S.
ALHAMBRA was a finalist in the Concert Artists Guild Competition In 1986 and the year before won first prize in the Jewish Performing Arts competition held in New York. The ensemble has recorded three compact discs, two for the Global Village Music label and one on the Aulos label, funded by a grant from the Maurice Amado Foundation.