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.

Jack Kessler

2006Ashrei honorable mention
Hazzan Jack Kessler was ordained as a cantor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and went on to have a twenty-year career serving Conservative congregations. During that time he received a Master’s degree in voice from Boston Conservatory and pursued studies in composition in the graduate department of Brandeis University. A lyric baritone, he has performed opera, oratorio, and premiered new works, in addition to his ongoing career as a singer of hazzanut, the sacred cantorial art. Originally trained as an Ashkenazi hazzan, his performance style and original compositions also embrace Sephardi and Mizrachi styles. He has lectured and taught master classes in Jewish music at New England Conservatory in Boston, the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York, and presented many concerts in an educational format. He dean of the cantorial department of the professional training program of Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and teaches cantorial students.

Jonathan Kremer

2006Ya’Aleh
Jonathan Kremer is a graphic designer (for Zamir Choral Foundation, among others) and Hebrew calligraphic artist (ketubot, etc). Way back when, he played guitar and sang for six years with Boston’s Hamakor Israeli Folk Dance Troupe; a few years ago he joined Kol Minor, an a cappella group in Wynnewood, PA. He began to compose when he was preparing to be shaliach tsibur for Kol Nidre and he couldn’t remember melodies for some of the singable parts of the service. Most of his composing begins on his walk (3.2 miles round-trip) to shul on Shabbat. If he lived farther away or walked more slowly, he might be producing longer pieces. www.kremerdesigns.com

Wayne Krieger

2008Simeni Khahotam • Yefe Nof
2006V’chol Banayich
Cantor Wayne Krieger has a degree in music education from the Hartt School of Music and certification as a music therapist from Montclair State College. At Hartt he studied Hazzanut under Cantor Arthur Koret. Over the course of 27 years he served communities in Arizona, New York, Connecticut and Florida as a cantor, Jewish educator and professional storyteller. Currently he is the Cantor at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Marlboro, New Jersey. He sang for three years in Connecticut’s first klezmer band, Katz & Jammers. In 1994 he and his wife Nancy formed the musical duo Shisha Neharot. They have performed extensively in Israel, New England, Florida and New Jersey. At the 1995 CAJE Conference, he conducted the Cantors’ concert which featured his compositions and arrangements. In 1997 he was a winner in the professional category at the North American Zionist Song Competition.

Roni Kripper

2006Mi Khamokha with Jonathan Friedmann
Born in Brazil and raised in South America, Cantor Roni Kripper’s musical heritage includes bossa nova, tango, klezmer, and liturgical music. As a pianist he has played with many bands in South America. His cantorial studies were with Cantor Oren Bolchover, Cantor Rabbi Kane, and Cantor Perryne Anker. He studied at the Beit Midrash of the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. He has a BA in Social Communications and Documentary Filmmaking. He was the assistant director of the documentary Besides Treblinka, and director of the documentary Tierra Comprometida for the Jewish Agency. He is the cantor at Temple Beth Shalom of Long Beach, CA, where he leads the “Shul House Rock” Friday night service.

David Lefkowich

 2010Modim Anahnu Lakh  2006Mah Tovu

David Lefkowich first picked up a guitar when he was nine years old and never put it down. Self-taught, he spent his early years in California within the Jewish summer camp movement as song leader. Through the years he has developed many musical styles, but has always stayed close to his folk and Jewish music roots. He is chair of the ritual committee and a lay leader at Congregation Darchei Noam in Toronto, Canada, where he regularly integrates his poetry and music to into services. With fellow congregants he formed the Nigunatics, a Jewish folk band that specializes in Israeli folk dance and Hebrew, Jewish, and Yiddish music.

David M. Pinansky

2010Dodi Li • Psalm 23   2006May the Words honorable mention
David M. Pinansky has been composing for more than 30 years. Born in Portland, Maine, he has an undergraduate degree in music from Colby College and a law degree from New England School of Law in Boston. In addition to his instrumental works, he has composed works for the synagogue which have been heard in services and performances throughout the country. In 1982 he was the Grand Prize winner of the Second Biennial Jewish Composers Contest held at Temple Sinai of Sharon, Mass. He was a commissioned composer for the 1986 national convention of the American Conference of Cantors and Temple Guild Musicians. In 1988, the Texas Bach Choir premiered his new setting of L’Cha Dodi. In 1996, he was guest artist at the Greater Baltimore Cantors Association. In 2001, he was in residence for the Reston Chorale’s Seasonal Celebration concert in Reston, VA. In 2005, he was guest composer for the Sabbath of Song at Temple Emanu El in Houston, TX. His May the Words received honorable mention in Shalshelet’s 2006 Festival. He is a member of the Guild of Temple Musicians and is an occasional cantorial soloist at Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation. In his day job he is Counsel in the Legal Division of the Federal Deposit Insurance

Howard Pfeifer

2006Ve Shamru
Howard Pfeifer has worked extensively in Chicago and Los Angeles as a pianist, composer, arranger, and musical director in television commercials, feature films, variety shows, T.V. series, and record albums. He began his musical studies at age 4. As a young performer he won several piano competitions including all divisions of the prestigious Society of American Musicians, a feat not repeated in the 50 year history of the competition. At age 12 he was a vocal soloist in a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Choir under the direction of Seiji Ozawa. He has worked on over 1000 commercials (as pianist/composer/music director), and arranged and performed for TV series and variety shows including The Chipmunks (over 150 songs for their TV series in the 1980s), The Lennon Sisters Christmas Special, Fame, The Pink Panther, and CBS Television Christmas Classics. Among the performers he has worked with are Shawn Kolvin, Patti LaBelle, Vonda Shepard, Johnny Cash, BB King, Johnny Frigo, Karen Carpenter, Aretha Franklin, Jim Brickman, Shari Lewis, Mel Torme, Dom DeLuise, and Marie Osmond. www.pfeifermusic.com

Claudia Mikail

  2006Lekha DodiVayekhulu honorable mention

Claudia Mikail, MD, MPH has medicine on her mind and music in her heart. Her love of Jewish music began in the Junior Choir at the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation in New York. At Princeton University she studied music composition, wrote musical theatre for the Triangle Club, and founded the Hillel Jewish Singing Group for which she composed erev Shabbat melodies, later recorded as Songs of Sinai. She has won awards from the National Young People’s Music Composition Contest, the New York State Music Competition Contest, and the Newsday Teen Talent Competition. She performs her works, which typically blend Sephardic/Mizrahi and European motifs, at synagogues and at benefits for Jewish philanthropies. She is a recipient of the Annual Achievement Award from the IJWO Jewish Women’s Organization of Los Angeles.

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.

Ken Richmond

2006Psalm 92Sefirat Ha-Omer Honorable Mention  2004 ‘Al Ken NekaveKevod’kha Malei ‘OlamYigdal
Cantor Ken Richmond served for two years as hazzan of the Midway Jewish Center, in Syosset, NY, and is now back in Red Sox territory as cantor of Temple Israel of Natick, MA. A violinist and singer, he has been founding and directing klezmer bands for years, including the Yale Klezmer Band, the Klezmaniacs, and Fish Street Klezmer. For his senior project at JTS’s H.L. Miller Cantorial School, he composed a new klezmer Friday night service, in collaboration with his wife, Shira Shazeer. He has been serving as a member of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Mahzor Committee, where he is composing congregational melodies for newly-inserted liturgical poems.

Geela Rayzel Raphael

2013 │ She is a Tree of Life  2008Angels Carry You
2006Rock to the Rock
Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, a songwriter/liturgist, was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She also studied at Indiana University, Brandeis, Pardes and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Currently she is the Rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation in Woodbury, NJ. She consults with the Jewish Women’s Spirituality Institute and InterFaithways: an Interfaith Family Support Network of Greater Philadelphia. She teaches in numerous locations in the area as well. She performs with the a cappella trio MIRAJ, which recently released the CD Healing Chants for the Soul, and with Shabbat Unplugged. She can also be heard on her CD, Friday Night Revived. http://www.shechinah.com

Juliet Spitzer

2013│She is a Tree of Life with MIRAJ   2006Zeh HaYom
Juliet Spitzer is a singer/songwriter and has recorded six CDs of original Jewish (and general) music. She leads music and healing workshops in the Philadelphia area, and composes for and performs with Theatre Ariel, Pennsylvania’s professional Jewish theater company. She is a member of the a cappella trio MIRAJ and the vocal ensemble SheWho, and leads creative services nationally with the musical troupes Shabbat Unplugged/ Havdallah Live and Tof b’Yadah. Her two solo CDs are Full Glory: Songs of Hope, Consolation, and Joy and Shifting Edge, and with MIRAJ, A Moon Note and Counting Angels in the Wilderness. She teaches on various topics in Judaism in the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School. www.julietspitzer.com

Margot Stein

2013│She is a Tree of Life with MIRAJ   2006Lulei
Rabbi Margot L. Stein is an award-winning singer/songwriter who has produced or co-produced six albums of original Jewish music. A creativity consultant to the Jewish community, she utilizes the performing arts to teach Torah. She composes and sings with the a cappella trio MIRAJ and the troupe Shabbat Unplugged and teaches Jewish Ethics and Purposes of Jewish Living at Gratz College’s Melton Adult Mini-School. Her musical play, Guarding the Garden, toured North America for four seasons, was seen by some 20,000 people, and was featured on the cover of Lilith magazine. http://www.mirajtrio.com/music.html

Irene Steiner

 2010Yismehu  2008Shalom Rav  &  Anim Zemirot  2006Hodu L’Adonai

Irene Steiner, who received a Master’s Degree in Music as a voice major, has performed as soprano soloist at religious institutions, in operas, oratorios, musical comedies, solo art song recitals and Yom Hashoah memorials in the NYC metro area. A 1999 journey to Krakow with her parents, Holocaust survivors from Krakow, inspired a passion for Yiddish art song and Hebrew liturgical music. In 2000, she produced the first of a series of concerts of Jewish song at Temple Beth Shalom in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., where she lives with her family. In 2002, invited by the Judaica Foundation–Center for Jewish Culture, her Yiddish vocal trio, The Katsenshprung Singers, performed a concert of songs by Mordechai Gebirtig in Krakow. She composed music for 12 poems written by Gebirtig from 1939-1942 for which no music was found; several were praised by Chana Mlotek in her column in NY’s Yiddish Forverts. At Sinai Leichter’s request, she composed music for 6 poems of Itzik Manger; she also set Yiddish poems by Simcha Simchovitch, at his request. Her work was selected for Shalshelet Festivals in 2006 and 2008. In 2009, Temple Beth Shalom commissioned her to compose a major choral work, which premiered in 2010. An attorney in Manhattan, she dedicates her efforts in performance and composition to her parents, as well as her grandparents and uncles, all of whom perished in the Holocaust