Judaic Sacred Music Foundation

Sign Up

2022 - 2023 Finalists

Aaron Fischer is a composer and multidisciplinary creator whose work aims to foster community and kinship through music, prose, theater, and game design. He joins L’Dor vaDor to further this work, investigating the compositional techniques and performance practices that give sacred music its extraordinary community-building power: to not merely communicate emotion, but create it, inspiring solidarity through shared experiences of nostalgia, joy, grief, awe, and reverie.
Aaron earned his BA at Brandeis University and his MFA at the University of the Arts. He has composed, sound designed, written, directed, and performed for dozens of theater productions from coast to coast and in three countries. As a ghostwriter, he has contributed to more than 30 works of authoritative non-fiction for a clientele that has included Nobel Prize winners, NYT bestsellers, and founders of multi-billion-dollar enterprises worldwide. Learn more at AaronFischer.org and www.TheSpaceCadets.space.

Yoni Fogelman’s upbringing as a choral singer developed a love for melodies that could not be fully satisfied until he crafted his own. At 20 years old, he has written for soloists, chamber groups, jazz bands, choirs, and orchestras around Los Angeles, embracing classical, jazz, and pop styles zealously. Yoni is currently pursuing a degree in music composition at UCLA, where he composes daily and studies with Ian Krouse. His experiences in the LA Phil’s and the Pasadena Chorale’s Young Composer Fellowships have shaped his love for composition, and Yoni sees his participation in the L’dor vaDor Young Composers Academy as the perfect opportunity to bridge these experiences with his faith. For Yoni, composition is an opportunity to learn more about himself and nurture a relationship with fellow writers, teachers, and performers, and he feels honored to be an inaugural composer in this Academy.

Praised for his “sophisticated writing” (GTM) and work that “weave(s) a trance-like mystical aura” (Zamir Chorale), Ari Sussman (b. 1993) is a Philadelphia based pianist, clawhammer banjoist, and composer of vocal, chamber, orchestral, choral, and electronic music. His music has been featured and performed throughout the United States and Europe by the KC VITAs Chamber Choir, soprano Tony Arnold, NPR, Zamir Chorale of Boston, Ensemble Ipse, American Modern Ensemble, New York Youth Symphony, Juventas New Music Ensemble, the Tanglewood Music Center, and others. Kabbalah, the natural world, cosmology, meditation, metaphysics, ancient and contemporary poetry, the human condition, and Interactionism are among Sussman’s non-musical influences and interests. As a result, Sussman’s music illustrates equivocal worlds of sounds that are ambient, euphonious, and ethereal in nature.


Recently named composer-in-residence with the Boise-based ‘208 ensemble,’ Sussman has won the American Composers Forum: Philadelphia Chapter: Young Composers Scholarship, two Honorable Mentions for the Guild of Temple Musicians Young Composers Award, the University of Michigan Brehm Prize in Choral Composition, a “First Music” commission from the New York Youth Symphony, and he was a featured composer for the ‘Shalshelet’ 6th International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music. Sussman has received an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, a BMI Student Composer Award, and the Leonard Bernstein Fellowship in composition from the Tanglewood Music Center.


An accomplished concert pianist, Sussman has performed many concerts and recitals throughout the Philadelphia, Boston, and Ann Arbor metro areas. With a fondness for musical theatre, Sussman has held music directorships for productions of Hairspray, Les Misérables, The Last Five Years, and many others. With a love for American traditional/roots music, Sussman plays piano and clawhammer banjo for English country dance bands, Contra-dance bands, and Old-time bands.


Sussman holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees with honors in Composition from the New England Conservatory of Music where he received the Donald Martino Award for Excellence in Composition, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from the University of Michigan. Sussman is currently an Adjunct Professor of Music Theory and Composition at the Temple University – Boyer College of Music and Dance, and the West Chester University of Pennsylvania – Wells School of Music. His primary musical mentors include Michael Gandolfi, Kati Agócs, Evan Chambers, and Kristin Kuster.


Sussman enjoys long walks, playing basketball, drinking tea, Curb Your Enthusiasm, mancala, cheesecake, and avidly rooting for Philadelphian and University of Michigan sports teams. Sussman is a member of BMI and the Landscape Music Composers Network.


“Art” Tapia-Minchez is a composer and vocalist residing in Gloucester, New Jersey as of November 2022. Art grew up in Southern California, where he attended Riverside City College, and The University of Redlands. As a vocalist, Art has sung in various collegiate ensembles, including: The Riverside City College Chamber Singers and Concert Choir, The University of Redlands Chapel Singers, and The Pomona College Choir. One of Art’s recent achievements was being accepted as a composition fellow for the Choral Arts Initiative’s Premier Project 2022, with a performance of his piece “What Remains”, written in his Father’s memory. Art strives to create music that speaks to a person’s heart and mind, touching on subjects such as: religious and cultural diversity, LGBTQIA+ representation, and the deep questions that make us human.

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.