Announcing the 1st Recipient of the ACC-GTM Generation-to-Generation Award

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Announcing the 1st Recipient of the ACC-GTM Generation-to-Generation Award

The American Conference of Cantors (ACC), the Guild of Temple Musicians (GTM) and The Joint Commission on Worship, Music and Religious Living of the Union for Reform Judaism are proud to announce the results of the first Generation to Generation program.  The honor goes to Jeremiah Klarman, a 17-year old high school student and a member of Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA.  Mr. Klarman wrote two pieces, “R’tzei” and “Rom’mu,” that demonstrated the required creation of beautiful melody combined with sensitivity to the setting of Jewish liturgical text.

As part of the program, the winner is paired with an experienced composer of Jewish music who will help the young composer refine and expand his/her understanding of melody, text-setting, and compositional techniques.  This year’s mentor is award winning composer, Cantor Stephen Richards.  Cantor Richards, who began his music career in musical theatre, has written and arranged a wide array of Jewish music with over 100 pieces published by Transcontinental Music Publishing.  He has served on the Board for the American Conference of Cantors and the National Commission on Synagogue Music.  He has worked as a cantor for synagogues in Rochester, NY, Indianapolis, Phoenix, and Walnut Creek, CA and has also worked as editor of Transcontinental Music Publishing and a professor at the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music in New York.  This year, Cantor Richards is the keynote speaker at the ACC/GTM 2010 Convention in Memphis.

Mr. Klarman has been an active musician since the age of 4 when he began playing the piano.  At 6 he took up the violin and began composing his own pieces.  He has continued with the piano, adding in work with percussion, and will soon begin applying to colleges that specialize in music education.  His goal is to work professionally as a musician/composer, with an emphasis on composition.

Mr. Klarman, who wins a trip to the 2010 ACC/GTM Convention in Memphis, June 27th through July 1, will be working with Cantor Richards from now until the end of the convention.  The ACC, the GTM and the URJ will introduce a program update on their progress during the event.

GTM Announces the Winner of The GTM Young Composer’s Award 2010
New York, NY – When the February blizzard of 2010 froze the Virginia streets near Washington D.C. it was said that everything came to a standstill.  Not quite.  For 27 year old Russell Nadel, the K-6 music teacher at Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School in Alexandria, the snow days away from school turned into a flurry of activity as he put his finishing touches on his “Shabbat Cycle,” this year’s winning composition for the Guild of Temple Musicians’ Young Composer’s Award.  Along with the prestige of the Award, Mr. Nadel receives a $2,500 cash prize for his work which will have its premiere performance during the ACC/GTM Annual Convention taking place this year from June 27th through July 1st in Memphis.
“It is a thrill to be able to make my own small contribution to the great and ancient body of work that is ‘Jewish liturgical music,’” states Mr. Nadel.   He offers his “Shabbat Cycle,” a distinctly modern and complex composition, “as a sort of homage to all the aspects I like best about Jewish music old and new.”

“Shabbat Cycle,” as determined by the 2010 rules, is a Song Cycle for solo and piano consisting of three pieces “related in thought and character” that can be performed as separate pieces or together, with or without a narrator.  The “Shabbat Cycle” created by Mr. Nadel provides settings for three elements of Shabbat worship -- I. Psalm 98, said during the first section of the service, called the “Kabbalat Shabbat,” or “welcoming of the Sabbath bride;” II. The meditation following the “Amidah,” the central prayer of Judaism; and III. “Magen Avot,” which is usually said or sung shortly after the end of the “Amidah.” 

Dr. Ben Steinberg, Composer in Residence for Temple Sinai in Toronto, Canada, former President of the GTM, and the creator and Head Juror of the Young Composer’s Award, said, “To quote one of our jurist’s comments, Russell’s work ‘shows a lyric, worshipful impulse’ that will develop as he becomes more active in our field.  We all felt that Russell’s work has promise and should be encouraged.”

The piece reflects Mr. Nadel’s earliest influences under the tutelage and training of his cantor at his first temple the Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, PA.  Mr. Nadel considers himself “extremely fortunate” to have grown up listening to and learning from the world-famous Cantor and composer, Charles Davidson.  “His music acclimatized my ears to the sound of ancient Hebrew texts,” explains Mr. Nadel, “set in a modern, but traditionally-influenced way.  It led me to explore the technical aspects of traditional and modern Jewish music during my college days … where I learned in greater detail about the uniqueness and beauty of Jewish liturgical music throughout the world.” 

Cantor Davidson adds, “We always had a professional choir and organ and we always did music of quality.”   Under Cantor Davidson’s leadership, Mr. Nadell had the opportunity to be exposed to the full range of Jewish music and took on the job of accompanying the 50 voice amateur choir in rehearsals for large classical pieces including Mendelssohn’s “Elijah.”    “He was very good,” recalls Cantor Davidson, “and very helpful and I think it may have added something to his knowledge of this music’s epic work.”  Citing his pleasure that Mr. Nadel is a trained musician with music degrees he adds, “He has a good sense of the dramatic.”  As to his win, Cantor Davidson said, “I’m happy for him.  And I know that he’s going to become a composer of merit. Just as the older generation [of Jewish musicians] is reaching their 70’s and 80’s, here comes Russell.”

Mr. Nadel is a 2006 graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music with Bachelor’s degrees in both Music Composition and Music Education and a Masters degree in Music Composition.  A gifted composer, he has created numerous works ranging from duets for guitar and flute to choral works, and pieces for full orchestra.  He has received numerous awards for his compositions, including prizes from the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation, the Prix d’Été, and the Virginia Carty DeLillo Composition Competition. In addition to his teaching work, Mr. Nadel is actively involved at Congregation Adat Reyim in Springfield, VA where he sings in the choir, co-directs their Folk Group that performs once a month for Shabbat evening services, and teaches a religious school class called “Jewish Jam Band” that is dedicated to teaching top quality contemporary Jewish music to high school-age instrumentalists and singers.  

Along with Dr. Steinberg, this year’s jurists were Simon Sargon, renowned composer of Jewish music and Professor of Composition at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and David Lefkowitz, composer and Professor of Composition at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA and co-winner of the first YCA award in 1991.

The Guild of Temple Musicians is dedicated towards enriching the Judaic musical knowledge and expertise of its membership, and the Jewish populace in general, through continuing education and development.  This is the 20th year of the GTM Young Composer's Award. The purpose of the project is to interest emerging young Jewish composers to write appropriate, serious works for synagogue and concert, to swell the ranks of Jewish composers and encourage continued interest in the field, and to build an increasing body of new Jewish works for presentation.  This year, Dr. Steinberg will retire as Chairman of the Award and will pass that honor on to David Shukiar, twice a winner of the YCA who currently serves the congregation of Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, CA as Cantorial Soloist.