Gratitude and Praise: Organ Works by Jewish-American Composers
Robert Starer • Fantasy on a Sephardic Melody • Michael Isaacson • Gratitude and Praise • Robert Strassburg • Mosaic Horizons • Mary Jeanne van Appledorn • Shabat Shalom
Guild of Temple Musicians
Michael Isaacson "Gratitude and Praise"
wonderful interplay between duples and triples and a great, rolicking, final drive to the end of fff.
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn "Shabbat Shalom"
short, simple and very creative. Her harmonic treatment is refreshing, and I think the piece works well played with several differing registrations.
Robert Strassburg "Mosaic Horizons"
demanding and exciting
Brief Bios of the Composer
Robert Starer was born in Vienna (1924-2001) and received his musical education at the State Academy in Vienna, the Jerusalem Conservatoire and the Juilliard School. He became an American citizen in 1957. He has taught at Juilliard and at the Graduate Center of C.U.N.Y. where he was named Distinguished Professor in 1986.
His symphonic works have been performed by Mitropoulos, Bernstein, Ozawa, Mehta and others. Interpreters of his music include Itzhak Perlman, Janos Starker, Leontyne Price, and Roberta Peters. Excerpts from his book Continuo, A Life in Music, have appeared in the New Yorker, Musical America and the London Times.
He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Founding Music Director of The Hollywood Pops and The Israel Pops Orchestras. Michael Isaacson enjoys an extraordinary career as composer, conductor, producer, and educator. He has over 250 published compositions, including instrumental, vocal, sacred, and educational works. He is a frequent lecturer at various universities around the country.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, he studied at Juilliard with John Mehegan. Isaacson earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education at Hunter College, a Master of Arts in Musical Composition under Robert Starer at Brooklyn College, and a Ph.D. in Composition from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied under Samuel Adler.
Dr. Isaacson has composed and conducted original scores for well-known television series, including John Williams and the Boston Pops with Joan Baez, Rich Man, Poor Man II, Little Women, Bionic Woman, Hawaii Five-O, Time Travellers, and the daytime dramas Loving and Days of our Lives. As an arranger, orchestrator, and conductor for feature films, he has had the pleasure of assisting composers Alex North, Elmer Bernstein, Walter Scharf, and Charles Fox.
In his career as a music producer, he has conducted and produced new recordings of music with The Munich Philharmonic, The Mexico City Symphony, The Tel Aviv Symphony, and The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. His recordings with The Hollywood Pops may be heard on the Sony label.
As the Founding Artistic Director of The Milken Family Archive of 20th Century American Jewish Music, he is responsible for creating a fourteen CD comprehensive music library of newly recorded compositions.
He is the recipient of grants, honors, and awards, from The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Eastman School of Music, The Schubert Foundation, ASCAP, and the Foundations of the Milken Families. He has also received the Kavod Award, the Cantors Assembly's highest tribute for lifetime achievement in synagogue music. Dr. Isaacson, his wife Susan, and their two sons Ari and Andrew live in Encino, California
Robert Strassburg (1915 - 2003) teacher, composer, conductor, musicologist, and poet, is Professor Emeritus of Music at California State University, Los Angeles. He was recipient of CSULA’s Outstanding Professor Award. Previous honors include the National Institute of Arts and Letters Macdowell Fellowship and Miami’s Composer of the Year.
As a composer he has created a wide variety of music, including over forty documentary film scores, and incidental music for the theatre. His compositions include two Torah services, many Psalm settings, the folk opera Chelm and over thirty settings of Walt Whitman’s poetry.
He was founding director of the Roy Harris Archives at CSULA and was a leading authority on the music of Ernest Bloch and author of Ernest Bloch: Voice in the Wilderness. He co-chaired the Walt Whitman Centennial held at CSULA in 1992 commemorating the death, in 1892, of the poet, and composed a ten-movement choral symphony, entitled Leaves of Grass, for the occasion. His Musica Judaica output includes an abundant liturgy for the Sabbath, Festivals and High Holy Days.
He was a founding faculty member of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute and Assistant Dean at the University of Judaism’s School of Fine Arts from 1960-1966, when he was appointed Professor of Music at California State University, Los Angeles. He was a member of the Jewish Music Commission founded at Valley Beth Shalom to encourage the composition of Jewish music, and held the position of Composer-in-Residence at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in the summers of 1992 and 1993.
Dr. Strassburg received his Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music, his Master of Arts from Harvard University, and his Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Judaism in Los Angeles.
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn is Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Music at the School of Music, Texas Tech University in Lubbock TX. She earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Eastman School of Music. Her large body of compositions includes music for solo instruments, band, orchestra, ballet, and orchestra with chorus. She has also composed electronic music. In 1988 choreographer Violette Verdi and the New York City Ballet presented a dance based on her composition Set of Seven.
Her works have been heard in many lands, including major performances in the Soviet Union, France, Hungary, and other European countries, in Japan and Australia. Van Appledorn has received Standard Awards since 1980 from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP); Virginia College Band Directors National Association awards for Cacophony in 1981 and Lux: Legend of Sankta Lucia in 1982; Delta Kappa Gamma International Scholar Award, 1959-60; and numerous other honors and distinctions.
Her professional listings appear in major musical reference works, and her music can be heard on Hester Park, Opus One, Gasparo, Northeastern, Century, Crest, Contemporary Record Society and Vienna Modern Masters recordings.
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