David D'Or

David D'Or
David D'Or
דוד ד'אור

David D'Or performing in Istanbul, 2004
Background information
Birth name David Nehaisi
Born October 2, 1965 (1965-10-02) (age 46)
Holon, Israel
Genres Pop, rock, dance, folk, klezmer, classical, opera, baroque arias
Occupations Musician, vocalist, composer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1985–present
Labels Hed Arzi, Aviv, SISU, Big Beat/Ada
Website www.daviddor.com

David D'Or (Hebrew: דוד ד'אור‎; born David Nehaisi on October 2, 1965) is an Israeli singer, composer, and songwriter. A countertenor with a vocal range of more than four octaves, he is a three-time winner of the Israeli "Singer of the Year" and "Best Vocal Performer" awards.[1] He was also chosen to represent Israel in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, at which he placed 11th in the semifinal.[2][3] By February 2008, nine of his albums had gone platinum.[3][4]

D'Or, who has been referred to as "Israel's most acclaimed modern singer", and "who has taken the musical scene by storm", performs a wide variety of music, including pop, rock, dance, folk, klezmer, Yemenite prayers, holy music, ancient chants, classical, opera, and baroque arias (in the original Italian).[1][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]


Heritage and early life

D'Or was born in Holon, Israel.[6] He is a descendant of Jews expelled from 15th Century Spain during the Spanish Inquisition.[11] His great-grandfather was a prominent Libyan rabbi,[7] and his father brought the family from Libya to Israel.[9]

When he was young, D'Or's parents encouraged him to become a lawyer or a doctor, but he simply loved to sing.[12] When he reached the age at which his voice began to change, he worked to retain his ability to sing notes in a high range. To his surprise he was successful, and he then proceeded to develop his lower vocal range. For a while he was quite shy about singing using his high range, as it was unusual in Israel—which he explains used to be "quite a machoistic country—for someone to sing with such a high voice, and he had no one to imitate as no Israeli men sang in such a high voice, but he says that now it is "part of me."[12][13] "[I]t was like using [only] part of me", he said. "I could sing low and I could sing high; [I]t's like using only one hand ... you have two hands, and you're using only your right hand."[13]

During his three years of military service, D'Or served as a singer in the Israeli Military Band, and in 1985–86 he was in the Israeli Army Central Command troops entertainment group, and took part in the record Be'sha'araikh Yerikho.[7][14][15] Though thankful for the opportunity, and sensitive to Israel's need to have an army to defend itself, D'Or felt that music and the army didn't mesh well together, and viewed his years in the army as a difficult period in terms of his musical development.[16]

After D'Or completed his army service, he and two of his Military Band colleagues (Beni Nadler and Rivi Ben-Basht) formed a trio named HaShlishiya (the "Threesome"), but it disbanded after just one single. A few months later he formed another group, named Kav 4 ("Fourth Chord"), but it disbanded before completing its inaugural album.[17] At the same time he was invited by the Israeli National Theater ("Habima Theater") to be in various performances, among them "Blood Marriage," "Cabaret," "Cry the Beloved Country (music by Kurt Weill)," and "Tartuffe (music by Giya Kancheli)."[15][18][19] D’Or performed at the Habima Theater for four years, during which time he received outstanding reviews, such as Maariv's review of Cry the Beloved Country: "D'or's outstanding voice is meant for great parts. His voice and presence embraces the audience, who showed their appreciation by a lengthy standing ovation".[15][20] He was at the same time professionally trained, and tutored by Soprano Miriam Melzer, from 1987–90 at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, from which he graduated.[7][21][22]

In 1991 D'Or was accepted into and enrolled in the Classical Music Department of the Jerusalem Conservatory.[7][15] That year D'Or also began his musical career as a classical tenor. Zubin Mehta, Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, heard D'Or sing and invited him to perform as soloist in "Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff, performing in a series of concerts all over the country.[13][15][19] Yediot Achronot reviewed his performance, writing: "David D’Or is a contra tenor with tone, colour and exceptional style well beyond other soloists".[20]

Professional career

1992–99: Early years

In 1992 D’Or released his first album: David D'Or.[21] It included hit song "Yad Anuga", also known as "Yad Agunah" ("Gentle Hand", or "Tender Hand"), which was remixed by Nelson "Paradise" Roman and Bump, produced by Ofer Meiri and Yehudit Ravitz, released as a vinyl 12-inch single by Big Beat Records and Magnet Records, and reached # 3 in the most frequently played charts in Great Britain.[19][1]

His second album, Be'govah Mishtane ("Changing Altitudes", or "Changing Heights"), released January 1, 1993,[23] included the song "Ani Af" ("I Fly", or "I am Flying"),[24] and what was to become an iconic Israeli song, "Tishmor al HaOlam Yeled" ("Watch Over the World, Child", or "Protect Our World, Child").[25][26][27] The latter song was subsequently covered by Liel Kolet and Scorpions' singer Klaus Meine, as well as by Shuly Nathan.[28][29] The CD, consisting mostly of songs composed by D'Or,[25] was even more successful than its predecessor, and went platinum.[30] Globus reviewed the album, and wrote: "in an age in which it seems that a good voice is not particularly necessary to be a singer, David D'Or comes along and reminds anyone who had forgotten that not only can things be different, they need to be different. Simply put, D'Or sings beautifully and knows how to choose songs that fit his unique voice.... One has to credit him for fulfilling his mission with bravura; his voice on stage sounds as good and convincing as it does in the recording studio. The wide variety of styles that he incorporates in his music, along with his superb vocal ability, allows him to appeal to adults and youths alike."[20] Later in 1993 D'Or participated in the televised competition to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest (Kdam Erovizion), with his song "Parpar,"[31] and came in fourth place.[32][33]

Side by side with his classical education, D'Or was drawn to ethnic music. This interest led him in 1995 to record with Morrocan Israeli Shlomo Bar and the band "Habrera Hativit" ("The Natural Gathering," "Natural Choice", or "Natural Selection"; composed of ethnic musicians) and release a popular new album, David & Shlomo (also known as David and Salomon).[13][15][34][35][36] Maariv reviewed the album, writing: "The Duet of David and Shlomo is wonderful and stunning."[20] He also joined Dudu Fisher, Meir Banai, and Eran Zur in the song "Lisa" on the 1994 album "Radio Blah-Blah" by the Israeli band "The Friends of Natasha".[2]

In 1995, as Israel and the Holy See had just established political relations, D'Or also received an invitation from the Vatican to perform for Pope John Paul II.[13] His repertoire at this concert, which was broadcast worldwide and received enthusiastic reviews, united original ethnic music with European classics, and included a song D'Or composed specifically for the Pope in both Hebrew and Italian.[13][15][37] He was the first Israeli singer to sing in Hebrew for the Pope.[38] After he performed for the Pope ("He held my hand and gave me his blessing," D'Or said. "I just kept thinking: 'Here I am, little David from Israel, singing in Hebrew ... It was a very powerful thing.'"),[7] D'Or was invited to perform in Italy, where he appeared on TV shows such as Maurizio Costanzo on Channel 1, and Paulo Limiti on Channel 2.[15][35] The Italian press, such as Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica, gave D'Or positive reviews.[35]

In 1997 D'Or released his fourth album, David D’Or & Etti Ankri,[39] with Etti Ankri, which included them singing a duet of Ankri's hit "Lolita".[40] That year as well, the Ra'anana Symphony Orchestra commissioned an original work, a small cantata, specially written for D'Or, entitled "The Children of God" ("Yeldai Ha Elohim").[13] The lyrics consist of sentences that appear in the Jewish, Moslem, and Christian religions, emphasizing the message of "love your neighbor." The work was composed by Georgian-born Israeli composer Josef Bardanashvilli, subsequently opened in a series of concerts of the orchestra in Israel and throughout the US, and was a great success.[15][41]

2000–present: Singer of the Year and Eurovision

His fifth album, each of which went platinum, was the pop CD Baneshama ("In the Soul"), released on March 31, 2001, and containing 11 songs (of 12) composed by D'Or.[35][42][43][44]

In 2001 D'Or was named Israel's Singer of the Year and Best Vocal Performer.[41][45] In 2002 he was again named Israel's Singer of the Year (receiving the "Tamuz Prize") and Best Vocal Performer, and also received the award for Best Song for "Kol HaCochavim" at the Israel Music Awards.[19][30] After 9/11 D'Or and Etti Ankri, Zehava Ben, Arkady Duchin, and other Israeli singers recorded the title song "Yesh Od Tikvah" ("Our Hope Endures"), for which D'Or wrote the music and lyrics, on the CD Yesh Od Tikvah/You've Got a Friend.[46][47] The CD, released by Hed Arzi in 2002, benefitted Israeli terror victims, with all proceeds going to "NATAL": the "Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War".[48]

D’Or then released David D’Or & the Philharmonic; Live Concert on April 1, 2003,[49][50] which successfully broke traditional barriers as it combined a medley of pop, classical, and opera which he sang, backed by the 120-member Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.[51][52] The album, which included among other pieces "Agnus Dei", "Orfeo", "Let Me Cry", and "The Phantom of the Opera" reached gold status in just two weeks.[53] The newspaper Yediot Achronot reviewed the CD in its opera section, and wrote: "D’Or excelled ... with his fantastic counter tenor voice.... in a most exciting performance. All in all, this is a very moving CD."[20] That year D'Or also released the CD "Shma Israel", [3] and "The Hidden Gate: Jewish Music from Around the World" was released by Rounder Records on July 1, featuring what The Independent described as "haunting stuff" from David D'Or.[53]

In November 2003, the Israel Broadcasting Authority (the "IBA") chose D'Or to represent the country in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest.[35] D'Or represented Israel in the contest in Istanbul, with the song "Leha'amin" (To Believe),[3] which he co-wrote with Ehud Manor.[54] The song was chosen on February 5, 2004, in voting during the program "Israel Selects a Song," held during a break in a televised Maccabi Tel Aviv Euroleague basketball game in Tel Aviv at which videos of four songs sung by D'Or were shown.[55] The vote was by both a special IBA Eurovision Committee (including prior Israeli entrants Lior Narkis and Gali Atari), which accounted for 40% of the vote, and a televote by viewers, who accounted for the remaining 60% of the vote. The basketball game attracted 13.7% of Israeli TV viewers.[56] The song won 60% of the jury's vote, and 66% of the viewers' televotes.[57][58]

During Eurovision rehearsal week D'Or left Istanbul to be with his father, who was suffering from diabetes and had been rushed to a hospital, where one of his legs had to be amputated.[59] D'Or then returned to Istanbul to perform[60] on May 12, 2004,[12] and placed 11th in the semifinal failing to qualify to the final, while 19% of Israeli viewers watched on television.[3][61] His father has since died.[3][59]

On June 1, 2004, he released the CD Le Haamin ("To Believe").[62] His performance of the song was also on the official Eurovision compilation CD, Eurovision Song Contest: Istanbul 2004, released that year by CMC Entertainment. [4] In 2004 he also collaborated with Sarit Hadad to record the DVD "Pets in Tunes. [5] His year was capped by his being awarded the titles of Israeli 2004 "Singer of the Year" and "Best Vocal Performer".[63][64][65]

In January 2005 he released a clubby, English electronic house vinyl 12" single of George Michael's "Careless Whisper" on the 3 Lanka and Hed Arzi labels, produced and mixed by DJ Amiad, with remixes by Future Funk and Michi Lange.[6][66] The track attracted international interest.[66]

On March 27, 2006, D'Or released Kmo HaRuach ("Like the Wind"), which included duets with Israeli singers Arkadi Duchin, Arik Einstein, Shlomi Shabat, and Ehud Banai,[67][68] and the song "Zman Ahava" ("Time for Love") with Ehud Banai.[69] D'Or composed all the songs on the album, combining world music with jazz, Thai, and Indian elements.[70] In 2006 D'Or also collaborated with rapper Subliminal for the song "Ten Koah" ("Give Me Strength") on Subliminal's hip hop album, Just When You Thought it Was Over.[71] He also joined Shlomo Bar in a duet of "Atzlano Kafar Todrah" for the CD The Rough Guide to the Music of Israel released on February 17, 2006,[72] and sang the song "Travelling North" or "Heading North" ("Nose'a Tzafonah") on the 2006 CD To the North with Love ("Latsafon Be'ahava"). [7]

On May 19, 2007, D’Or performed with soprano Seiko Lee in the world premier performance of the 40-minute ten-movement "peace cantata," "Halelu—Songs of David," in Belgrade, Serbia. The concert was televised to six other Eastern European countries. The composition for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra, was a collaborative effort of D’Or and American composer/conductor David Eaton, Music Director of the New York City Symphony, who conducted the combined Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra and the 120-voice choir of the Academic Cultural Artistic Society. Halelu is sung in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin, with greetings of peace of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam figuring prominently in the lyrical content of several movements, and with Psalm 113 (sung in Hebrew by D’Or) as the basis of the 4th movement.[73][74] He then released Halelu—Songs of David; Cantata for Peace (2007), in which he was accompanied by Lee, the Ra'anana Symphony Orchestra, and members of the Philharmonia Chorus of Israel.[65]

D'Or sang for Dr. Martin Luther King III at a Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) Conference in the summer of 2007 in Tel Aviv. King was in tears as D'Or finished his rendition of "Summertime," and the crowd was on its feet cheering. King was so moved that he extended an invitation to D'Or to sing at the 2008 "Realize the Dream" celebration honoring King's birthday at the Covenant Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem, New York – the last church in New York City that Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at prior to his 1968 assassination. D'Or obliged, with a performance of "Amazing Grace" before a crowd including former President Bill Clinton and Dr. King, who was reduced to tears.[7][13]

He also performed in the 2007 WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival concert, and in reviewing his performance BBC Radio referred to his voice as "sensational".[75] D'Or described an experience that he had singing at the festival as follows: "I had a concert in the Canary Islands ... in the WOMAD Festival in front of something like 20,000 people, and then I saw just in front of me, a group of Palestinian young people with a huge Palestinian flag. And at the beginning I was very tense because I didn't know what their intentions were. I closed my eyes and said 'Look, you speak always about the power of music and how music can get people close to each other', and I was like aiming to their heart, and I'm singing especially for them, and then when I opened my eyes and I saw those people dancing with the Palestinian flag and singing with me together, and it was for me like an amazing sight, because this is something that I don't think ever happened before. I don't know why this world ... is choosing ... always ... war and hate, because things are much easier to solve if you just want to solve them, that's what I feel. And maybe it's naïve, but this is my belief."[13]

On December 11, 2007, D'Or released Live Concert.[76] D'Or composed most of the songs on the album, which included "Kiss from a Rose" (in English), "Sri Lanka" (instrumental), and an Arabic song.[44]

In 2008 D'Or also released Shirat Rabim ("Prayers", or "Songs of the Many"—"A World Prayer; The Jewish Project of David D'Or and Patric Sabag"), a collection of prayers that he had originally heard from his father, and which he focused on when he started attending synagogue to say kaddish after his father's death. The album went gold in just three weeks.[13][15][16][77] He also performed in all the 2008 WOMAD festival concerts, including in London with Peter Gabriel, the founder of the world music festival,[16] and won the WOMAD "Favorite of the Audience" Award,[15] [16] though one reviewer wrote that "his reverb-drenched voice can sound bombastic, even when he is praying for peace. He is more successful when ... in dance-pop".[78] His performance of the song "Lecha D'odi" is featured on the compilation album Womad New Zealand 2008, which was released on June 2, 2008, by Shock Records.[79][80] The year was capped when D'Or became an Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation ("IcExcellence") chosen artist in 2008, receiving one of Israel's highest recognitions for excellence in the arts.[81]

In 2008 and 2009, D'Or performed in a series of "Voice of Love" charity concerts for the Tzu Chi Foundation in the United States (New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, New Jersey, and Washington DC) and Asia (the Philippines and Taiwan), and recorded a CD and DVD by the same name, donating all of the profits to charity. [8] [9] [10] The CD has since gone platinum.[citation needed] The foundation works to improve social and community services, medical care, education, and humanism in Taiwan and around the world. By helping others, D’Or said, the foundation, while Buddhist and not Jewish, is involved in the spirit of the Jewish concept of tikun olam, or "repairing the world". "We believe that all humanity is connected in a way", said D'Or.[82]

D'Or sang a medley including "Amazing Grace" and a rendition of the traditional Hebrew melody "Avinu Malkeinu" at New York's Apollo Theater in Harlem on April 28, 2009, with three New York gospel choirs.[83][84]

In May 2009 D'Or sang, along with Dudu Fisher and the "Arab-Jewish Girl's Choir", for Pope Benedict XVI in Jerusalem at the home of Israeli President Shimon Peres as the Pope visited Israel.[85][86][87]


D'Or's voice has a range (or "diapason) of more than four octaves.[18][35][88] His vocal range in head voice is from G3 in scientific pitch notation, up to a well-defined G5 (as heard in one of the final notes in the "Phantom of the Opera" track in his album David D'Or and the Philharmonic), thus making him a "mezzo-soprano" type of countertenor.[89]

D'Or's voice is unusually versatile and flexible,[9][35] and notable for its unique tone and color,[90] and for having a very recognizable sound. His voice is characterized by powerful fullness and richness, making it seem as though it is his natural singing voice, created without use of the falsetto technique. However, despite its richness his voice cannot be compared to the color of a contralto, unlike singers such as David Daniels, given that D'Or has a unique, male-sounding timbre. When he sings in modern fashion, he employs his speaking—or chest—voice, instead of his singing, alto voice.[3][89] D'Or has been compared to Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli ( but with a Middle Eastern flavor),[89] and his voice has been described as having Jack Johnson-esque smoothness overlaid with Jeff Buckley-esque falsetto.[91]


In addition to singing for two Popes, D'Or has also sung for Israeli President Shimon Peres, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the King and Queen of Sweden at the Swedish Royal Palace in Stockholm, Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair, and Bill Clinton.[7][8][9][21]

D’Or has performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Rome Philharmonic, the London Symphony,[19] the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra,[18] the New York Symphony Orchestra, the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.[21][30]

D'Or has performed across the world, including in the United States, England, the Canary Islands, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Italy, Turkey, India, Thailand, Australia, China, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Morocco, and Israel. He sang before audiences of 55,000 people in Trafalgar Square in London, and 40,000 in Paris.[15][21][92][93]

Personal life

D'Or, who grew up in Holon, and his wife Pazit, formerly a jewelry designer and now his manager, first met as high school students in Bat Yam.[94] They have two children, and reside in the town of Savyon, near Tel Aviv.[16]

Pseudonym meaning

D'Or means "golden" or "of gold" in French, and in Francophone countries he is referred to as "golden David" or "David of gold".[citation needed]



Year Title (English) IFPI Israel Certification Label
1992 David D'Or "David D'Or" Platinum[35] Hed Arzi
1993 Begovah Mishtaneh "Changing Altitudes", or
"Changing Heights"
Double Platinum[citation needed] Hed Arzi
1995 David & Shlomo "David and Salomon" Platinum[35] Hed Arzi
1997 David D’Or & Etti Ankri "David D’Or & Etti Ankri" Double Platinum[citation needed] Hed Arzi
2001 Baneshama "In the Soul" Platinum[35] SISU
2003 David D’Or VehaPhilharmonic "David D’eor & the Philharmonic;
Live Concert"
Platinum[citation needed] Aviv
2004 Le Haamin "To Believe" Platinum[citation needed] SISU
2006 Kmo HaRuach "Like the Wind" Gold[citation needed] SISU
2007 Ofa'a Haia "Live Concert" Platinum[citation needed] Hed Arzi
2007 Halelu—Shirim Shel David;
Cantata LeShalom
"Halelu—Songs of David;
Cantata for Peace"
Hed Arzi
2008 Shirat Rabim "Prayers", or
"Songs of the Many—A World Prayer"
Gold[15] Hed Arzi
2008 聽見愛的聲音 "Voice of Love" Platinum[citation needed] Da Jung Jang


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External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Lior Narkis
with "Words for Love"
Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Shiri Maimon
with "Hasheket Shenish'ar"

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