Founded in 1983 the "Ankor" Choir, conducted by Dafna Ben Yohanan, is currently composed of 45 girls ages 11 – 18, all from the greater Jerusalem area. Aside from performing and rehearsing they receive lessons in voice, sight singing, music theory and coaching. The choir's repertoire includes music from the Renaissance to the contemporary, with a special emphasis on Israeli composers and classical music.
The choir performs extensively in Israel and abroad, in concerts of its own as well as with leading orchestras, and at national ceremonies. It is considered the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's resident choir. In this capacity Ankor has performed operas and major classical and contemporary pieces under the batons of Maestros Zubin Mehta, Kurt Mazur and Giuseppe Sinopoli.
For over 20 years it has been recognized as the Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem's resident choir performing in its annual national memorial day ceremony as well as for dignitaries from all over the world including: Presidents Clinton and Bush, Popes John Paul II and Benedict the 16th, Prince Philip and Prime Ministers Blair and Brown from the UK. Having performed with the New Israel Opera, Ankor was recently chosen to perform with them in a huge production of Bizet's Carmen at the foot of Massada, one of Israel's foremost historical sites near the Dead Sea (June 2012).
The choir's tours abroad included concerts and competitions in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Bulgaria, Japan and other European countries. On these tours the choir was recorded several times by radio and T.V. programs, and sang with local orchestras. In this context Ankor performed an unforgettable concert series with the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Maestro Claudio Abaddo and lit the first Hanukah candle at Titus' Gate in Rome. It also won several prizes at major international competitions - first place in Varna Bulgaria and second place in Marktoberdorf Germany.
The choir also has several CD recordings with leading orchestras. Among them are Mahler's 3rd Symphony (Israel Philharmonic, Mehta) and Resurrections by Noam Sheriff (Israel Philharmonic, Porceljin). It also has CDs of its own which include several of its most beloved pieces. The Ankor Choir is a unique project in Israel. Through their wonderful music, the girls have moved audiences to tears and brought joy to thousands of people, sharing with them the wondrous experience of music making at its highest level.