Shearith Israel’s musical tradition is truly unique, shaped by gifted composers and choirmasters throughout our history.
Leon M. Kramer was choirmaster of Shearith Israel from 1883-1943. He was educated in Berlin where he had won prizes for composition at a young age. He composed several pieces for our choir that remain in our repetoire today. He also arranged a large part of our music in 4 part harmony. Many of his original transcriptions are extant in our archives. He began publishing the music of our synagoge but did not complete the work. One volume (consisting of the music for Friday Night) was published posthumously with the aid of his succesor, Oskar Gutmann. In addition to his work at Shearith Israel, Kramer founded the “Halevy Hebrew Singing Society” a popular Jewish chorus during the first half of the 20th century. He was devoted to music education among the poor and served as musical director of the Educational Alliance and founded the Music school of the YMHA.
Misheberakh (Leon M. Kramer)
Emet Malkenu (Leon M. Kramer)
Yehi Hasdekha (Leon M. Kramer)
Mizmor LeDavid: Psalm 23 (Leon M. Kramer)
El Erekh Apayim (Leon M. Kramer)
In addition to leading the Shearith Israel Choir from 1955-2021, Mr. Hyman is also Professor emeritus of Montclair State University where he served on the conducting faculty. He taught conducting and conducted ensembles at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Juilliard School. Mr. Hyman is the music director/conductor of the New Philharmonic of New Jersey (Morristown), which he cofounded in 1978.
Several compositions by Leon Hyman were introduced into Shearith Israel Choir’s repertoire in 2014 and 2015. These are sung occasionally throughout the year during services. You can listen to several of these below; they were recorded live (not professionally) at our Annual Gala in 2016:
Ubnuho Yomar (Dedicated in memory of Abraham Hyman)
Yehi Hasdekha (Dedicated in memory of Rebecca Hyman)
A few of Mr. Hyman’s compositions for our choir have not yet become a regular part of our repertoire. These are: