The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra (= JBO) was founded by David Shemer in 1989. It is the only orchestra in Israel currently performing Baroque music on period instruments, using historical performance practices. The orchestra performs regularly throughout Israel, and participates in major Israeli musical festivals, including The Israel Festival, “Musica Sacra” in Nazareth, “Liturgica”, and the Abu-Gosh Festival. In addition The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra records regularly for the radio and the TV. Since 2002 the orchestra is playing two subscribers' series of six concerts each, in Jerusalem and in Tel-Aviv. The orchestra’s two highly successful tours of Europe took it to Russia, Finland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Austria.
Among the JBO’s soloists and conductors are some of the world's finest musicians specializing in the early music performance, such as James Bowman, Anthony Rooley, Michael Schneider, Andrew Parrott, Evelyn Tubb, Martin Root, Walter Reiter, Catherine Mackintosh and many others, including leading Baroque performers in Israel.
One of the JBO’s main fields of interest is the performance of Jewish music of the Baroque era. The orchestra has given several first performances in modern times of works written in the 17th and 18th centuries either by Jewish composers, or for use in Jewish communities.
In 2000 the JBO took part in the modern premiere of the largest Hebrew piece written in the 18th century: Lidarti’s Oratorio Ester. This piece was performed in the Israel Festival, conducted by Avner Itai.
David Shemer is the JBO’s founder and musical director. He is also a member of The Jerusalem Consort, which he founded in 1984. David Shemer teaches harpsichord and early music at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and the Jerusalem Early Music Workshop. He specialized in baroque performance practice in London, where he studied with Jill Severs and Trevor Pinnock. He performs and records widely in Israel, Europe, and the USA, not only as a soloist and a chamber musician, but also as the conductor of the JBO.