Judaic Sacred Music Foundation

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Twenty-Two Frequently Asked Questions

Composition topics may cover a wide spectrum within the Jewish tradition including: Biblical stories, Biblical figures, holidays, religious texts, Torah and Haftorah tropes, poetry, liturgical melodies (including Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Mizrahi, etc.), Psalms, Mishnah, Talmud, Rabbinic literature, etc.

The topic for the 2022-2023 academic year is Freedom.  Composers will engage in the study of different Jewish holidays, prayers, liturgical melodies, traditional folk tunes, texts, and religious/historical figures that all revolve around the concept of freedom.  Composers will then incorporate aspects of these different elements into their own original classical compositions.  All composers will be writing for the same ensemble which is set this year as a quartet consisting of: violin, clarinet, cello, and piano

There is no specific style requirement for the program: any range from traditional to current trends is acceptable.  However, the program focuses specifically on classical genres (not contemporary folk, rock, jazz, pop, or commercial music) and therefore the works must be classical in nature.  Classical traditions within all national, ethnic, and cultural styles are welcomed.

Each completed composition for the program will be approximately 10-15 minutes in duration.

Each student will be composing for the same ensemble which is determined by the Foundation each new academic year.  In general, ensembles range from 3 to 5 players, and the exact instrumentation is announced at the beginning of each application period.  Ensembles are primarily acoustic and may be instrumental, vocal, or a combination of both.  A basic fluency in instrumentation is encouraged, but completion of college level orchestration courses is not required in order to apply.

Our audience members typically range in age (from school age students to seniors) and religious affiliations: Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, secular, etc.  Our online concerts attract attendees from several different continents and usually are attended by several hundred people.

3 to 5 students are selected for the program each year.

You do not need to have a music degree in order to apply to the program.  However, a basic fluency in music notation, music theory, and compositional experience is recommended.

The entire program for the 2022-2023 academic season will be conducted using an online format.  Currently, Zoom is used for all meetings, classes, and music events.

Yes, composers retain the full copyright of their compositions.  The Foundation is licensed and authorized to use the compositions for its online programming and for other promotional purposes.  Any professional recording and filming of the compositions paid for by the Foundation will remain its property.

Because each monthly class is designed as a skill-based workshop, attendance of all meetings is mandatory and required in order to participate in the program.  On the rare occasion that a lesson must be missed due to illness or unforeseen events a lesson may be rescheduled.

Judaic sacred music is music based within Jewish tradition including: the Hebrew Bible, liturgical texts, prayers, piyyutim, musical tropes, cantillation, Jewish holidays, Biblical figures, etc.

Jewish heritage is not a requirement in order to apply to the program.  However, a strong interest in Jewish music must be demonstrated in your application either through the music submitted or in the written personal statement.

No.  You may apply with any music that you feel best represents your style and ability as a composer.  Because the program’s focus is on classical music, it is recommended that fully notated scores be submitted as opposed to lead sheets.

We currently do not offer publication through the Foundation.

Yes.  All monthly group classes will be held online and there will be opportunities for students to interact with each other, hear each other’s music, learn from each other, and peer review/comment on compositional projects presented throughout the year.

Yes.  Our Artistic Board is comprised of numerous professional Cantors, Rabbis, composers, performers, conductors, and academics.  There will be opportunities to connect with them for questions, guidance, feedback on your work, and general networking.  Many members of the Artistic Board will also be guest lecturers during the program.

Upon completion of the program and fulfillment of all requirements, each student will receive a $1,500.00 USD honorarium and a certificate of completion.  Your photo, bio, and recorded composition will be added to our website library.  There will be opportunities to stay involved with the Foundation through annual alumni events.

Our program is currently not accredited, and we do not offer school credit for participation.  If you believe your school or institution might offer you credit for our program we are happy to discuss this further with them.

Because our focus in within classical genres we ask that you do not submit contemporary folk, rock, jazz, pop, or commercial music in your application.

You may apply to the program more than once.  However, you may only be accepted into and attend the program one time.

Once you are admitted to the program, an orientation meeting will be scheduled with all students, and accommodating lesson times will be set at that time.

For all questions and inquiries please contact:

Dr. Steve Rothstein, Artistic Director


This program is made possible in part through the generosity of the Max Factor Family Foundation.