Music for the Jewish High Holidays On WRTI 90.1: Your Soundtrack for an Uplifting Holiday Season

Oct 4, 2019

We wish all of our listeners celebrating Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur a "Shanah Tovah"—a Happy and Healthy New Year!  Join us on WRTI 90.1 during the High Holiday season for music that will elevate one and all.

The Saturday morning Classical Coffeehouse with Debra Lew Harder on October 5th from 6 AM to 12 noon will offer soulful songs such as "Avinu Malkeinu" and classical works with traditional, nostalgic melodies. On Sunday, October 6th from 4 to 6 PM we bring you two beloved special programs featuring music about the high holidays.


4 to 5 PM: Sound the Shofar! An Ancient Instrument in Modern Times


5 to 6 PM: Musical Memories of the High Holidays with Itzhak Perlman
 or listen on-demand here.

Throughout the entire 10-day holiday season on WRTI, you'll hear a variety of music by artists and composers including Paul Ben-Haim, Carl Goldmark, Ora Bat Chaim, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Andrea Clearfield, Jaco do Bandolim, several works by Ernest Bloch, many traditional Jewish songs, and more. Our “Film at Five” feature, weekdays at about 5:05 PM after the NPR News, will include music from films with Jewish themes.

The High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) are among the most sacred days of the year for Jews around the world. This year, 5780 on the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown on Sept. 29th and the High Holidays end with Yom Kippur, at sundown on October 9th. The 10-day period is a time for reflecting on the past year, making amends, and celebrating the new year with family and friends.

More about Sound the Shofar! An Ancient Instrument in Modern Times
, October 6th at 4 PM

The shofar, a trumpet made from a ram’s horn, has been heard in synagogues all over the world during the Jewish High Holidays since time immemorial. It has also been heard outside those contexts as a call to battle or a way for shepherds to summon their flocks.

The primeval, evocative sounds of the shofar have captivated many classical composers and its powerful influence shows up in places you might not expect. Elgar, Bernstein, Gershwin, and Golijov have all emulated the shofar in their music, and to this day composers continue to be inspired by its sound and history.



Miguel Kertsman’s new Concerto for Violin, Horn, and Shofar showcases this venerable and influential instrument, and provides the centerpiece of the special. 

Join us on an aural journey filled with an abundance of musical examples as we hear from Kertsman and the musicians who brought his Concerto to life.  Composer Osvaldo Golijov and shofar virtuoso Steven Ovitsky provide insightful commentary about the instrument’s cultural, historical, and musical significance, and Jamie Bernstein shares the direct connection between the shofar and the music in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.



Sound the Shofar! concludes with a glimpse into Kertsman’s new composition as he pulls back the curtain on his creative process, revealing the secular motivation that inspired him and the sound world he intended to evoke. The hour finishes with a complete performance of the Concerto from the NAXOS debut recording, featuring Gergely Sugar, horn and shofar; Orsolya Korcsolan, violin; and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.



More about Musical Memories of the High Holidays with Itzhak Perlman
, October 6th at 5 PM
Itzhak Perlman, one of the greatest violinists of our time, shares the memories and the recordings that mean the most to him this time of year—from cantorial singing to raucous klezmer fiddling, to classical favorites, including several of his own performances. The music will likely spark warm associations and an emotional response for all listeners.