World Premiere: The Passion of Yeshua

Richard Danielpour

Co-commissioned by SDG Music Foundation in association with the Oregon Bach Festival and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, award-winning American composer Richard Danielpour has written a full-length, dramatic oratorio for chorus, orchestra, and four soloists. The Passion of Yeshua—presented in both Hebrew and English—brings the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life back to its Jewish origins. The World Premiere is scheduled for July 8, 2018, at the Oregon Bach Festival.



Richard Danielpour, a Grammy Award-winner, is one of the deans of contemporary American composition. His list of commissions include some of the most celebrated artists of our day, including Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, the Guarneri and Emerson String Quartets, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia, Stuttgart Radio, and Vienna Chamber Orchestras. Danielpour is on the composition faculties at the Manhattan School of Music and Curtis Institute.

Danielpour's composition of The Passion of Yeshua is a personal 'braiding' of two faiths, Judiasm and Christianity. He has assembled texts in Hebrew (from the Tanakh: Isaiah, Psalms, Lamentations) combined with the Messianic prophecies from the Book of Isaiah. The narrative texts of the Passion of Jesus are an amalgamation of all four Gospels. 

Situated in the historical musical legacy of Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions, The Passion of Yeshua creates space for voices traditionally silent/silenced in retellings of the Biblical narrative, specifically highlighting the voices of Mary, Mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene.


Composer’s Statement

The Passion of Yeshua was composed as a result of a very long contemplation of the subject over many years. As an American born of Middle Eastern, Iranian parentage, I was exposed to both the Jewish and Christian strands that existed within my family.

I wanted to write a passion oratorio that would bring the story of the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth back to its Jewish origins because I wanted to give Christians in America the opportunity to more fully understand how deeply the root of their Christian faith is steeped in Judaism. I was also hoping to allow for the possibility of Jewish people in America to see the person of Jesus without the presence of all of the European accretions, and outrageous acts that were committed in the name of European Christianity over the last 2000 years.

Ultimately one of the goals of this piece has been to bring people together in a constructive intelligent, and civilized dialogue about faith.


Oregon Bach Festival

Sunday, July 8, 2018, 2:00 pm

Oregon Bach Festival

Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center
1 Eugene Center
Eugene, OR 97401

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Sarah Shafer, soprano
J’Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Timothy Fallon, tenor
Kenneth Overton, bass-baritone
Matthew Worth, baritone
Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus
University of Oregon Chamber Choir

Tickets available from Oregon Bach Festival

Hyatt Place (located approximately 1.4 miles from the Hult Center for the Performing Arts)
Hilton Hotel (located next door to the Hult Center for the Performing Art)


Future performances 

Sunday, December 9, 2018, Time TBA

UCLA Orchestra and Chorus
Royce Hall
University of California
340 Royce Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Neal Stulberg, conductor
James Bass, choral director


Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
 Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 8:00 pm

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 2:30 pm [Palm Sunday]

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Kleinhans Music Hall
3 Symphony Circle
Buffalo, NY 14201
Performances will be recorded live for release on a NAXOS CD.

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Hila Plitmann, soprano
J’Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Timothy Fallon, tenor
Matthew Worth, lyric baritone
Kenneth Overton, bass baritone
Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus
Members of the UCLA Chorus