The Competition

2017 saw the launch of the Liberal Judaism Music Composition Competition to showcase the best new, home-grown, music.

All entries were judged by a cross-communal panel, with a select few awarded a prize and performed at next year’s Day of Celebration. Where possible, all other entries will be recorded and made available to Liberal Jewish congregations. The entry requirements are:

• Must have Jewish content, for example an adaptation of a current prayer or text, or be inspired by Jewish tradition.
• Must be between one and five minutes.
• Must be submitted in full musical notation, with a recording if possible (we can help with this).
• Must be accompanied by no more than 300 words describing the inspiration behind the composition.
• Does not necessarily have to use a voice, but please consider the practical ‘performability’ of the piece.
• The composer must be a member of a Liberal Jewish community.

The Winning Composition

Mazal tov to Phyillis Alden from Manchester Liberal Jewish Community who won the 2017 competition with her 4 part composition of the Aleinu.

Phyllis explained why she chose the Aleinu and the process of creating her entry:
I love this prayer. The words are haunting and inspiring and affirming of faith and one day, as I was reading them I found myself singing the opening bars of the melody. Initially the rest did not flow but over time, every time it was read rather than sung, I heard a bit more until it was finally complete. I can truly say that the melody literally floated into my head. As I had decided to enter it into the Liberal Judaism competition, I needed some help transforming it from my head to sheet music. My singing teacher’s partner is a composer and was happy to help. We both thought it would lend itself to a choral arrangement hence our lessons on the music.

Graham Carpenter, the Liberal Judaism Officer for Music, who ran the competition said:
A worthy winner, demonstrating the creativity and musical competence of some of our most veteran arrangers and composers, I look forward to hearing the Aleinu in liberal services everywhere soon!

Many thanks to Rabbi Mark Solomon for filming the performance of the composition at the 2017 Day of Celebration.