2013│Shalom Rav • To Number Our Days
Cantor Jonathan Comisar began his music career as a piano student in the preparatory department of the Eastman School of Music in his native Rochester, New York. He continued piano and music theory studies at Oberlin, and after graduation studied composition with David Del Tredici. An invested Cantor with a Masters in Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music, he served as the Cantor of Community Synagogue in Rye, New York from 2002 to 2008. He currently teaches courses on music theory, arranging, and composition at HUC and is active in the Lehman-Engel BMI Musical Theater Workshop in New York City as composer/lyricist. His musical, Things As They Are, won Best of the Festival Audience Favorite Prize at the New York Musical Theater Festival, 2010. His musical Cynthia and the Dreadful Kite will be produced in the 2014-15 season by Vampire Cowboys, an Obie Award winning theater company,
2013│Shalom Rav • To Number Our Days
2016│Ruth’s Song 2013│TzadikKatamar Yifrah,The Righteous Will Bloom
Lisa Marcus Jones began her music career as a pianist and musical director in musical theater productions, conductor of an a cappella jazz vocal group, and ballet accompanist. After earning an undergraduate degree from Yale University, she spent four years pursuing music full-time in Madrid which exposed her to jazz and flamenco and heavily influenced her musical direction. She studied arranging and piano at Berklee College of Music, receiving the John Dankworth Award for Outstanding Achievement in Arranging. Over time, she was drawn to the nexus of spirituality and music. Her compositions include choral and solo works for worship as well as Jewish children’s songs. She studies flamenco guitar with renowned guitarist Juanito Pascual and plans to explore the connection between Jewish music and flamenco in future compositions. She serves Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough, Mass. as cantorial soloist and choir director.
Matt Holsen is a composer, arranger, singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He trained in composition with W.S. Huffman and has performed and written in a wide variety of styles. He has sung in choirs from age eight, and started his professional life in music singing and recording in the premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass.” Since then he has worked with groups as disparate as Uptown Jazz (vocal jazz quartet), The Washington Bach Consort, and Dinorock (a Grammy-nominated puppet company.) His interest in Jewish liturgical music has developed during his 13 years as a member of the Robyn Helzner Trio. He is working on a cycle of 12 psalm settings for mixed choir. Two of the first set of three are being presented at this Festival. www.mattholsen.com
2013│City of Love/Ahavat ‘Olam
Beth Hamon is a singer-songwriter whose original material reflects Jewish and secular themes of social justice and peace. She serves as a youth and family song leader and religious school instructor at Congregation Beth Israel and as a music-leader at Havurah Shalom, both in Portland, Ore. She has performed at the Northwest Folklife Festival and performs regularly in coffeehouses and pubs in the Portland/Vancouver area. Her music enjoys airplay on multiple online and radio sources including Butterflies Radio.com and WISA’s Kol Isha. She holds a B. A. from Portland State University. She has released a CD, City of Love and is at work on a CD of original Jewish folk/roots music. She is also a visual artist whose folk-art Judaica (made from recycled bicycle components) is in the permanent collection of the Yeshiva University Museum in New York. www.reverbnation.com/
A prolific songwrite, Lisabeth Kaplan (1963 – 2008) was a music graduate of the California Institute of the Arts. She was also one of the first women to receive full paramedic credentials and served the Monterey Peninsula as a paramedic for almost two decades. She also served many Jewish communities as cantorial soloist and composed and arranged music for synagogues and other Jewish organizations in the Santa Cruz and Monterey areas. She devoted herself to interfaith community work, especially Moslem-Jewish dialogue, and sang her songs to bridge understanding and achieve reconciliation and well-being for all people. Shortly before her death in October 2008 at age 45, she finished recording ten of her songs. The CD, And the Angels Sing, was completed by musician friends and released in 2010, a tribute to her dream of reaching many more people with her songs. www.cdbaby.com/cd/
Diane Kaplan, raised in Arizona, has been living in Israel since 1979. From age 17 she performed folk, Irish, world and country music until a life-changing event in 2007 caused her to shift her musical direction. She now composes music for texts from Psalms, and other spiritual sources, written in rounds or in vocal parts to be sung in harmony. In 2011 her CD KeZeit Ra’anan/Like an Olive Tree was released., and performs her music in Israel, the USA and Germany. She brings her music to hospice settings and to music circles of Arabs and Jews. The child of Holocaust survivors, she brings a message of healing through performance and vocal workshops in Germany. She also leads three weekly choirs in Northern Israel that sing mostly from her repertoire. www.dianesong.com
2016│Aleinu 2013│Adonai, Mah Adam? • Shiviti Adonai
Lenka Lichtenberg is a Toronto-based, Prague-born composer, vocalist, arranger, producer, and band leader. with five solo CD releases and several collaborations including Lenka Lichtenberg & Roula Said: Bridges – Jewish and Arabic music in dialogue, and Lullabies from Exile, a work-in-progress with Yair Dalal, of intertwined Yiddish and Babylonian music. She performs internationally as a solo artist, with a trio, or with her six piece ensemble Fray. Her release Songs for the Breathing Walls, recorded live in Czech and Moravian synagogues, was nominated for 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards in two categories; her Yiddish world music album Fray received nominations in 2012 Toronto Independent Music Awards and the 2011 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Her song Peace is the Only Way won 2011 Songs from the Heart, multicultural category, and was a finalist in the 2011 John Lennon Songwriting competition. www.lenkalichtenberg.com
2013│B’khol Dor Vador
Matthew Levitt is a multi-genre performer and songwriter playing a spiritual music he refers to as mystic folk. He has performed in clubs, festivals, parties, and nontraditional venues throughout Minnesota and the upper Midwest with select national and international performances. He has released two CD’s of Jewish music; Ahava Raba (2011) and The Prophets, Volume One (2014) and three CD’s with his own band, Levitt8, in funk and jamband styles. He lives in St. Louis Park, Minn. with his family and regularly shares his music at Beth Jacob Congregation (Mendota Heights), Shir Tikvah Congregation (Minneapolis) and Temple Israel (Minneapolis).Sultan of Time, and a Jewish Soulfolk CD, Madlik Oti. He has recorded a music video for Velvet Mustache and a full-length video for the television pilot Uncle Eye Show. His “Part of the Divine” received an Honorable Mention in the Northern California Songwriter’s Association Song of the Year contest.
2016 │Eve • Adam in Eden 2013│Come, My Help 2010│Shema 2008│’Oseh Shalom
Judi Lamble is a self-taught composer focusing on Jewish vocal music. Most recently, her L’chu N’ran’na (Psalm 95) was included in the 2012 Annual Convention of the American Conference of Cantors; earlier in the year she premiered her Century Song Cycle of Jewish art songs for the American Composers Forum; and her choral and congregational works have been performed by several Twin Cities synagogue and community choirs. Her compositions have been honored in previous Shalshelet Festivals. She is co-founder and Chair of the Twin Cities Jewish Chorale, entering its fourth season in 2012, which celebrates the full range of Jewish music, including new works. She lives with her family in Edina, Minn. www.jewishvocalmusic.com, sheet music at oysongs.com.
Susan Pereira is a vocalist, pianist, percussionist, composer and arranger. Active in New York’s Brazilian music scene, she leads the jazz group Sabor Brasil which has performed at festivals and venues including Lincoln Center, the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the Savannah Jazz Festival, the Hartford Jazz Festival, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) . She has co-led master classes on Brazilian percussion at the University of Delaware and Rutgers University and has composed and/or arranged music for OMNI Music and Alfa Records, among others. Since 2004 she has played keyboard for Congregation B’nai Jeshurun’s (NYC) High Holiday services. She has also played for Shabbat services there and at other New York/New Jersey congregations. She has sung with the Shalom Singers a cappella ensemble since 2000. susanpereira.com
2013│The Maker of Light
Sarah Myerson is currently enrolled in her third year of the Master of Sacred Music/Diploma of Hazan program at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. Where she is a recipient of the Margaret R. Rice Scholarship Fund, the Dr. Hirsch Herman Scholarship Fund and the Sanders and Pinkus Family Scholarship. She is the student leader of the Columbia University Klezmer Ensemble, and performs as a representative of JTS at regional fundraising events for the Torah Fund of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. She graduated from the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney, with a Bachelor of Music (Composition Honors) in 2009. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys rock climbing and Yiddish dance.
Audrey Merwin has experienced the joy of singing in choirs from public high school and college settings to the Collegiate Chorale to temples including Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City. She is a member of the choir at the United Synagogue of Hoboken in Hoboken, New Jersey, where she frequently leads prayer services. She has attended and recommends choral workshops offered by the Western Wind and the North American Jewish Choral Festival (Zamir). She composes for synagogue choir with the goal of lifting up key ideas and phrases from liturgy, text, and tradition.
2013│Lulei HaShem Ezrata Li 2006│Hinei El Yeshu’Ati • Mi Pi El 2004│Tzur Mi Shelo • Ner l’Ehad, Ner l’Meah • Im 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.
2013│ Mi Sheberakh • Sheva Berahot 2010│ Song of Miriam • El Maleh Rahamim 2004│Shalom ’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
2013│Shalom ‘Aleikhem • Yedid Nefesh
After many years traveling the world as a wandering troubadour, Daphna Rosenberg returned to Israel and reconnected to her Jewish roots through music. She composes music to prayers and Israeli poetry, and is the main prayer leader of the Nava Tehila Jewish Renewal community in Jerusalem. She specializes in leading Circle of Life ceremonies – such as births, Bar/Bat mitzvas and weddings. In her music one can hear the influence of folk and rock with a touch of Klezmer. She is active in the area of spiritual care for the ill, in creating heart-to-heart connections between people and in dialogue circles between Israelis and Palestinians. Her compositions to prayers have become popular in communities throughout the world.