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New Jersey Choral Society to premiere work by Ed Lojeski
by Lori Howard for Vocal Area Network
Posted May 19, 2009

New Jersey Choral SocietyThe New Jersey Choral Society is pleased to announce its upcoming world premiere performance of Ed Lojeski's Psalms of the Passover on  June 13, 2009 in Ridgewood, NJ. Mr. Lojeski, who will be on the podium as guest conductor, composed this major work in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Israel becoming a state, using as its foundation Psalms 113-118, the psalms of the traditional Passover Seder. The piece will be sung by the New Jersey Choral Society with piano, violin, cello and clarinet. This arrangement, which Mr. Lojeski composed especially for the NJCS premiere with their accompanist, Linda Sweetman-Waters, is an alternative to the full orchestral version, to be performed at the International Haydn Festival in Vienna in July 2009.

When Mr. Lojeski, the most highly published composer and arranger of the 20th century, is asked about his compositional style, he describes himself as a "minimalist," explaining, "I try to 'wring out' as much musical value from as few notes as possible. Two basic elements are employed in the Psalms of the Passover: a six-note scale (like the diatonic scale, but no fourth step) and a Greek scale (like the scale of D major, with a B flat and E flat used instead of B natural and E natural). Many of the old masters used popular tunes of the day, or hymns, as source material while also borrowing from each other. Beethoven's use of the Ode to Joy in the Ninth Symphony is one such example. I used an ancient Hebrew melody, 'Had Gadya,' in the fourth movement of the Psalms of the Passover." Concert attendees on June 13 will have the privilege to learn more about this new work from Mr. Lojeski in person, when he presents The Inside Line, a complimentary lecture that precedes NJCS concerts.

Ed Lojeski is acknowledged as one of the finest choral arrangers and directors in the business today. Much of his writing success derives from his own wide experience as a nationally known performer and show producer. He has performed as a soloist with major orchestras across the country, has served as a musical consultant for movie productions, and as a pianist, conductor and arranger for Elvis Presley, Roger Williams, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Carson and countless other artists. In 2007 Mr. Lojeski conducted both the world and international premieres of his Missa Americana at Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House, respectively. A prolific writer of pop choral arrangements, a recent search found one sheet music distributor offering 537 different Ed Lojeski arrangements!  

The New Jersey Choral Society is thrilled to debut the Psalms of the Passover, and director Eric Dale Knapp continues to pursue opportunities for the choir to perform brand new works. In the past year, NJCS has also sung the world premieres of Joakim Seidevall's Veni Creator Spiritus and Terre Johnson's Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind.

Lori Howard is Vice President, Communications for the New Jersey Choral Society.

Content Contact: Lori Howard.
Revision Date: May 19, 2009.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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