JTS’s H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music Presents "We Are Lights: Music for Chanukah," Featuring Abraham Kaplan Premiere

Press Contact: Eve Glasberg
Office: (212) 678-8089
Email: evglasberg@jtsa.edu

November 20, 2012, New York, NY

The H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) will host a holiday concert titled "We Are Lights: Music for Chanukah" on Thursday, December 6, at 6:00 p.m. The concert will be held at JTS, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street), in New York City. The H. L. Miller Cantorial School Chorus will perform the New York premiere of Eight Days of Chanukah by Abraham Kaplan, renowned composer, conductor, and music educator. Hazzan David F. Tilman will conduct and Elizabeth Rodgers will be the accompanist. During the concert, there will be a celebration of miracles and freedom as performers and participants commemorate the 25th anniversary of the historic 1987 Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jews march on Washington DC. 

Admission is free, but reservations are required. Reserve seats at www.jtsa.edu/chanukahconcert; for additional information, contact Rita Gordon at (212) 678-8037. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow sufficient time for check-in, and have photo ID available.

For more than 20 years, Abraham Kaplan was director of the choral program at the Juilliard School, the New York institution that established this country's standard for performing arts education in music, dance, and drama. He was Hazzan Tilman's primary conducting teacher from 1971 to 1975, when Tilman received his master of music degree. Kaplan is the former orchestra, choral, and guest choral conductor of New York City's Park Avenue Synagogue.

Hailed by Leonard Bernstein as "a heaven-sent maestro," Kaplan is considered by many to be one of the greatest choral conductors and composers of his generation. Bernstein collaborated musically with Kaplan for more than 13 years, calling on Kaplan's expertise for performances such as the world premiere of his Kaddish Symphony and his choral work, Chichester Psalms.

Distinguished by his compositions as well as his conducting, Kaplan has published and recorded at least four major works for chorus and orchestra. His music has been featured on America's most popular radio and television programs, and the Vienna Boys Choir released a CD of his music in April 2004. Kaplan composed and performed his Fanfare for 12 Trumpets for the Queen of England on her visit to the United States in 1983, and a Fanfare for 12 Biblical Trumpets for the opening ceremony of the Crystal Cathedral in Los Angeles.

Kaplan's dynamic orchestra and choral guest-conducting appearances include performances with the NBC Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, and Calgary Symphony Orchestra, among many others. He founded his own group, Camerata Singers, in 1961, with which he performed two American tours and regular collaborations with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, and a host of celebrated guest conductors. Kaplan served as music director of the Collegiate Chorale in New York and the Symphonic Choral Society of New York, and as associate director for choral activities at the Seattle Symphony. His recorded compositions include Glorious, The K'dusha Symphony, Arvit Leshabat, and Psalms of Abraham. A 30th-anniversary edition of Kaplan's Glorious album was released on CD in October 2003.

Abraham Kaplan was born in Israel in 1931 to choral conductor Shlomo Kaplan, the founding director of the music department of Tel Aviv's Histadrut (Israel's trade union organization), and is the grandson of Gershon Kaplan, hazzan of that city's Beit

Knesset Hagadol and of the Jewish community in Rozhinoy, Poland. Kaplan holds undergraduate diplomas from both the Israeli Conservatory (1954) and the Juilliard School of Music (1955).

Kaplan received a postgraduate diploma from Juilliard in 1957 and, in 1961, became head of the school's choral department at the request of its president, William Schuman. During his tenure at Juilliard, Kaplan held a teaching position at the School of Sacred Music of Union Theological Seminary, and directed the choral program for the New York State Summer School for the Arts. Kaplan's college textbook, Choral Conducting (W.W. Norton,1985), is still the most widely used college textbook on the subject. In 2009, he published his musical memoirs in a book titled Splendid Encounters. Kaplan resides in Seattle, and directs the choral studies department at the University of Washington. His Jewish compositions have been recorded as part of the Milken Archive, and are performed all over the world.

Hazzan David F. Tilman, conductor, was born in Albany, New York. He is associate professor at the H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music of JTS, where he teaches Methods and Materials of Jewish Music Education and Advanced Conducting, conducts the H. L. Miller Cantorial School Chorus, and serves as thesis advisor. He is the choral director of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

Hazzan Tilman is hazzan emeritus of Beth Sholom Congregation of Elkins Park, from which he retired after 36 years of service. At Beth Sholom, he created and led an award-winning synagogue skills and music program featuring five synagogue choirs for singers from preschool to senior citizen. His choirs toured Israel three times, and he led the Beth Sholom men's choir on a concert tour of Prague, Budapest, Krakow, and Warsaw. In 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by JTS and, last year, received the Samuel Rosenbaum Award from the Cantors Assembly and the Or Zarua Award from the Jewish Educators Assembly.

In March 2012, Hazzan Tilman led a mission to Masorti congregations in Santiago, Chile, where he conducted three choirs, taught classes at the Instituto Hebreo Jewish Day School, officiated at three Masorti congregations, and lectured on Jewish musical topics. In June 2012, he conducted the Ernst Senff Choir in a program of Jewish music at the Konzerthaus Berlin.

Hazzan Tilman is a graduate of Columbia College, the H. L. Miller Cantorial School, and the Juilliard School, where he received his master's in choral conducting. He serves as hazzan-in-residence at Ramah Darom for Pesah, and is conductor of the Delaware Valley Cantors Assembly Region.

Visit JTS at www.jtsa.edu.