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Eleanor Epstein

Eleanor EpsteinELEANOR EPSTEIN (1950 – ) is widely acknowledged as a master teacher and gifted choral conductor. A lifelong student of Jewish music and text, she grew up in a family steeped in Jewish learning and song — the heart of her work today.

Known for inspiring singers to connect deeply to both music and text, Ms. Epstein is sought after as a guest conductor and artist-in-residence. She has worked with cantors and choirs in such wide-ranging venues as the North American Jewish Choral Festival, Hebrew Union College, the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Music Educators National Conference. She has served as a consultant to the Soldiers’ Chorus of the United States Army. In addition, she has worked as an artist-in-residence for numerous congregations throughout the United States.

In 1976, Ms. Epstein founded Zemer Chai, the Jewish Community Choir of Washington, D.C., and under her leadership, Zemer Chai has grown to become one of the nation’s leading Jewish community choirs. As artistic director and conductor of Zemer Chai, Ms. Epstein creates an atmosphere where singers are encouraged to integrate their individual experiences with an emotional and intellectual understanding of the text and the melody, providing a special dimension to the choir’s music-making. Her passion for preserving and transmitting Jewish music inspires both her singers and her audiences.

Ms. Epstein is also an accomplished arranger, committed to the preservation of Jewish folk melodies. Her choral settings of Jewish folk songs are performed throughout the world, and she is highly respected by her colleagues in the worlds of both Jewish and non-Jewish choral music. She is a student of noted American composer and conductor Alice Parker.

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