Stephen DeCesare

2004 Eli, Eli
Stephen DeCesare, born in Rhode Island, has won multiple national competitions and received numerous performances and commissions by theaters around the United States. He has a variety of styles in his repertoire, ranging from liturgical, opera, and musical-theater to orchestral, instrumental, and pop. To date, Mr. DeCesare has over 600 pieces in his catalogue. He is currently published with Eldridge Publishing, Contemporary Drama Service, Laurendale Publications, CanticaNOVA Publications, and J. S. Paluch & I. E. Clark Publications. His music has been broadcast on radio stations around the United States, Canada, England, and other parts of Europe. http://www.sdecesare.com/index.html

Cantor Marsha A. Dubrow

2010 Vatikah Miriam  2008Hashkiveinu  2004Mah Tovu honorable mention

Marsha Dubrow is Spiritual Leader and Cantor of Congregation B’nai Jacob in Jersey City, N.J., giving her an ideal platform for creating and presenting her liturgical compositions, which she also performs at venues in the New York metropolitan area and beyond. She has composed settings of Mah Tovu, Hodu L’Adonai, Ki Mitzion, Tov L’Hodot, V’Shamru, Adon Olam, Halleluia, and Shema Yisrael among many others. Her work has been honored at Shalshelet Festivals in 2004 and 2008. A musicologist by training, she is a Resident Scholar in Jewish Music Studies at the Center for Jewish Studies at The CUNY Graduate Center and an Adjunct Professor of Jewish Music at New York University. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, with an M.A. from New York University, and an MFA. and Ph.D. from Princeton University, all in music, and also earned a Certificate in Yiddish Studies from the Columbia/Yivo Uriel Weinrich program. She has received numerous awards from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in music, including a Composer’s Grant in Musical Theatre and Opera, and Folk Arts Fellowships in Hazzanut and Yiddish Song. A member of the Dramatists Guild and an alumna of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City, she has produced on- and off-Broadway theatre including Band in Berlin, the story of the Comedian Harmonists.

Steve Dropkin

2004Hashkiveinu Transcontinental Music Steve Dropkin is now recording his fifth album of original Jewishmusic, entitled On That Day. He is a guest lecturer at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City and has performed in England, Israel, and the United States. Steve is the founder of the Birmingham Jewish Folk Chorale. Two of Steve’s major pieces have been published in choral settings, and a third choral selection will be released in the next few months. Recently, he served as music director and worship coordinator at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi. Steve has been a finalist in the American Jewish Song Contest. His music has been featured on the in-flight listening programs for Tower Airlines. http://www.stevedropkin.com/

Sylvia F. Goldstein

2010Eikha Ashir/How Can I Sing? 2008Mi Yodea Oz  2006Shehecheyanu honorable mention  2004Ve Heishiv Lev • Shiviti
Sylvia F. Goldstein brings a classical music background and love for and knowledge of Jewish music to her compositions, which have been featured in the Annual Women Composers Festival of Hartford, Conn. In addition to composing, she has been a director of temple music, taught at community college, and directed a JCC choir. She is Piano/Keyboard Department Chair of the Hartford Conservatory of Music, where she teaches classical piano and theory. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., she studied at the Juilliard School of Music Preparatory Division, Cornell University, Brandeis University and the University of California at Berkeley. She has a B.A. and M.A. in music, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Connecticut State Music Teachers Association, Women Cantors’ Network, and The Guild of Temple Musicians. Compositions of hers have been honored at every Shalshelet Festival since 2004.

Carol Boyd Leon

2004Shalom ‘Aleikhem
Carol Boyd Leon is a composer, cantorial soloist, and choir director. She is music specialist at Gesher Jewish Day School, Olam Tikvah Preschool, Beth Emeth Early Childhood Center, Keshet Child Development Center, and Beth El Hebrew Congregation Religious School, Alexandria. She serves as Tot Shabbat Leader at Beth El Hebrew Congregation and Congregation B’nai Tzedek and as cantorial soloist at Greenspring Village, Springfield. The founding and current director of the Olam Tikvah (adult) Chorale, Kol NoVa Community Youth Choir, Harmoniyah of Gesher Jewish Day School, and the Beth El Hebrew Congregation Youth Choir, she instituted NoVaShir, a multi-age choral festival based in Northern Virginia. Her publications include Songs from the Heart: Family Shabbat, Jewish Life Cycle, and Gan Shirim.

Fred Blumenthal

2004Ashrei
Fred Blumenthal, a native of St. Louis, studied composition with Karel Husa and choral music with Gregg Smith at Ithaca College in the mid-1960s. Returning to St. Louis, he attended Washington University, where he studied composition, music education and choral conducting before completing a Ph.D. in musicology and writing a dissertation on the history of music in St. Louis. He has taught in inner-city public schools, has taught piano privately, and has been active in synagogue and church choir directing, piano and harpsichord technology, radio announcing, and newspaper criticism. Fred is vice-president of the St. Louis Circle of Jewish Music and is a former vice-president of the Guild of Temple Musicians.

Emil Berkovits

2004The Peace of Jerusalem • Avinu Shebashamayim
Born in Czechoslovakia, Cantor Emil Berkovits represents the fifth generation of cantors in his family. As a child soloist, he performed in concerts, operas, and the Yiddish theater, and with his father and brother in concert. Educated at McGill University Conservatory ofMusic, he attended and later taught at Mishkan T’fillah Academy’s Cantorial School. He writes much of his own music, and influences on his work, besides his father, are Hazzanim Moshe Koussevitzky andJoshua Weider. Cantor Berkovits has held positions in Chicago, Montreal, and Omaha and now serves Temple Israel in Swampscott- Marblehead, Massachusetts. He is a member of the Cantors Assembly of America, where he received his commission in 1985, and in 1994 was designated as honorary Fellow of the Cantors Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Terry Horowit

2008Tov LeHodot • Da’ • Ohila La-El
2006Shalom Rav • Bidvaro
2004El Adon • Ilu Finu • Neshama Shenatata Bi
Cantor Terry Horowit taught herself guitar at the age of 10 and started writing folk songs a couple of years later, continuing to compose for guitar and voice through graduate school at Brown University. After a hiatus of many years, her lifelong love of folk music combined with a profound respect and appreciation for Hebrew text led her to begin composing settings for prayers and liturgical texts. Her music has been chosen for all three Shalshelet Festivals. She completed the cantorial certification program at Ma’alot Seminary in Rockville, Maryland where for 15 years she tutored b’nei mitzvah and taught adult classes in cantillation and aspects of Jewish practice. She also was lead vocalist with the performing group Shalshelet (not affiliated with the Shalshelet foundation). In 2007, Terry moved with her family to Albany, New York where she is now the process of establishing herself as a teacher of trope and nusach, meeting local musicians, and creating a new performing group.  In Fall 2010, she fulfilled her dream of recording her original songs with the release of two debut albums, Zimrat Enosh and Bidvaro. www.CantorTerry.com

Evette Nan Katlin

2006Sim Shalom honorable mention  2004 Hashkiveinu
Evette Nan Katlin has officiated as a cantorial sheliah for the past 23 years, the last 2 as a guest for High Holidays at Congregation Neve Shalom in Metuchen, New Jersey. Evette has been a member of the New Jersey Cantors Concert Ensemble since 2001. She studied hazzanut privately with Cantor William Sharlin, with Hazzanim Brian Mayer and Faith Steinsnyder, and through the Jewish Theological Seminary program in Jerusalem. For the past 21 years, Evette and her husband, Hazzan Arthur Katlin, have concertized extensively as a musical duo. Evette is also a licensed psychotherapist with an expertise in the field of addictions. She earned a PhD in health studies from Temple University, an MSW from Hunter College, and an MA in clinical psychology from Antioch University.

Shirona Kaufman

2004Har’ini • El Adon
Shirona Kaufman, a native New Yorker, was raised in Israel in a musical, cultured environment and started performing at an early age. After serving in the Israeli army, she returned to the United States and starred in the nationally acclaimed Israeli-American musical review On Silver Wings. After taking time off to marry and raise a family, Shirona returned to the Jewish music scene with a newfound interest in new age and Jewish spirituality. She began composing original melodies to the ancient texts of the Bible and prayer book, using multicultural musical influences such as Celtic, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and American.

Ira Scott Levin

2010Lo Yisa Goi 2004│ Hashkiveinu
Ira Scott Levin is a singing-storyteller, instrumentalist, lyricist, composer, and recording artist dedicated to making the world a happier place. A theater major from Florida State University, Ira has appeared on PBS Kids as his alter-persona, Uncle Eye. He has performed on both sides of the Atlantic including the Fringe Festival in Scotland, The International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam, The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, Paramount Movie Studios in Los Angeles, and as a featured performer for the United Way. His Hashkiveinu was honored at Shalshelet’s 2004 Festival. Currently getting established in the Hudson Valley region of New York, he continues to be involved in the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish community as a song leader, cantorial soloist, educator, and guest musician. He most often performs with his wife Julia Bordenaro Levin as The Levins Folk Pop Duo, as well as with their Levins World Folk Ensemble. All of his recordings can be found at www.thelevinsmusic.com and www.uncleeye.com.

Keith Miller

  2004Ashrei
After completing his undergraduate studies at California State University, Northridge, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Hazzan Keith Miller studied hazzanut with renowned Cantors Allan Michelson, z”l, and Meir Finkelstein in Los Angeles. Hazzan Miller was accepted into the Cantors Assembly in 1996 and received Hazzan- Minister commission in 1999. Since 1993, Hazzan Miller has been hazzan and director of education at Kehillat Ma’arav in Santa Monica, California. He has served on the Board of Directors of Los Angeles Hebrew High School, as co-chair of the Bureau of Jewish Education Religious School Principal Council, and as Cantors Assembly representative to the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. He is currently treasurer of the Cantors Assembly, Western Region.

Wendy Morrison

  2013│Lulei HaShem Ezrata Li   2006Hinei El Yeshu’Ati • Mi Pi El  2004Tzur Mi SheloNer l’Ehad, Ner l’MeahIm Ein Ani Li Mi Li

Wendy Morrison is a Maryland native from a family in which everyone sang and played at least one musical instrument. Having learned to play piano from her mother beginning at age five, she later taught herself to play accordion, whistle, concertina, and banjo. She attended high school in South America and learned Hebrew as an adult. She began composing Jewish music in 1988. A member of Tikvat Israel in Rockville, Maryland, she leads adult education classes in Jewish liturgy and Hebrew scriptures. She also teaches music privately, and performs with the band Klezcentricity.

Jeff Marder

 2013│ Mi SheberakhSheva Berahot  2010Song of MiriamEl Maleh Rahamim 2004Shalom ’Aleikhem

Jeff Marder is active in the Broadway world as a conductor, keyboardist, and synthesizer programmer. Broadway credits include: Newsies, Leap of Faith, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Wicked, Shrek the Musical, The Little Many), Disney’s Aladdin (5th Avenue, St Louis MUNY, Tuacahn Center for the Arts), Cirque du Soleil’s O, and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. His Jewish liturgical compositions have been presented at ACC/GTM conventions, and in synagogues throughout the United States. He is Vice President for Music Technology for the Guild of Temple Musicians. www.mardermusic.com

Lawrence Rush

2004Sim Shalom
Lawrence RushLawrence Rush is a composer and lyricist as well as a professional singer and actor. His choral compositions include a complete Friday night Shabbat service for cantor, choir, and organ and Kedusha for cantor and large chorus. He has composed art songs, popular songs, and musicals. He is currently a member of the BMI Musical Theater Workshop and is working on a new musical and an opera. As a performer, he was a full-time member of the San Francisco Opera chorus and has performed many roles in both opera and musical theater. Most recently, he was seen as Bob Cratchit in the national tour of Scrooge, the Musical. He has sung tenor in Park Avenue Synagogue’s Shabbat quartet for many years.