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A Premiere at S'lichot Service & Interview with Rodef Sholom member and composer, Julie Schnapf

09/15/2022 10:21:38 AM


Interview and Blog Post by Rose Hornstein

Can you please provide some background with the composition?
The composition is called "Let Us Speak of the Awesomeness.” That is a translation of the opening line of the 8th century poem Unetanetokef which is sung yearly by the cantor and choir during the High Holidays. 

Why this new Unetanetokef setting?
Unetanetokef is a meaningful prayer for me, it speaks to important issues in our lives. This recitation has always been a major highlight in the services for me because of the poem's profound beauty, lyricism, and power. As someone with limited Hebrew proficiency however, I've had to read the English text as the music was being sung. I had often thought how wonderful it would be to simply understand the words in real time.  Thus, the motivation for creating a new musical composition that utilizes an English translation.

Why now?
Well, I am a fairly new composer, only five years in. I wanted to feel like I had enough experience under my belt to take on this big project. Prior to that, I was a neuroscience professor at UCSF. After retirement, I took a couple years worth of classes at the College of Marin, and then dove right into classical music composition.

How long have you been working on the new setting?
I started around May of 2022.

What are you excited about with the new setting?
I hope it will communicate to other listeners the power of the words. 

How long have you been a Rodef Member?
My family and I have been members of Rodef Sholom for about 30 years.

*To hear the premier of Julie's new prayer setting and to RSVP for our S'lichot service on Saturday, September 17, click here.

Tue, March 28 2023 6 Nisan 5783