Our Next Concert:
Songs of Israel – Old and New
Afternoon of February 9, 2014
Temple Israel, Ottawa


What better way to celebrate thirteen years of existence than by throwing a joyous, over-the-top Bar Mitzvah?

Musica Ebraica invites family, friends, and the general public to celebrate our longevity in song on February 9, 2014 as we present our first concert of the season. Under the direction of our new conductor, Ottawa’s own multi-talented Gloria Jean Nagy, the choir will present an afternoon of selections in Hebrew that will transport the audience out of the mid-winter doldrums and into Israel’s golden panorama. Part of the repertoire will consist of familiar old favourites like Hava Nagilah, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, Sisu et Yerushalayim, and Bashana Haba’ah set in innovative arrangements that remind us why we love those pieces while highlighting the musicality of composers such as Joshua Jacobson, Yehezkel Braun, Charles Davidson, and Isadore Freed. We will be performing Five Hebrew Love Songs by Eric Whitacre, a grammy-award-winning composer/conductor who wrote these gentle and thought-provoking pieces to words written by his Israeli wife, soprano Hila Plitmann. Add to that a few toe-tapping Sephardic and Yemeni selections, and some pieces performed solo by the ladies of Musica Ebraica and our Bar Mitzvah celebration will be complete!

Hope you will join us as we put the j-o-y back into J-e-Wish music!

Meet our new Musical Director:
Gloria Jean Nagy

Gloria Jean is a performer, teacher, choral conductor, clinician, adjudicator and administrator. She has frequently been seen and heard in recital as a vocalist, accompanist and choral conductor. She holds a Master of Music and a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the University of Western Ontario, and is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. She also studied at the Liszt Ferenc Zeneakadémia in Budapest, Hungary and at the Banff Centre. She has been a vocal instructor at Carleton University and has been a vocal tutorial instructor at De Lasalle and Canterbury High Schools. She maintains a busy vocal studio of over thirty students per week.

Gloria Jean brings many years of experience as choral conductor to Musica Ebraica. She directed the West Ottawa Children’s Chorus (2006-2011), the Kanata Choral Society (2001-2010), the Goulbourn Jubilee Singers (1995-1998), the Concordia Female Choir (1990-1993). She is the past and founding director of the Amabile Singers of Nepean (1989-2010) as well as the director/ pianist for St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church (2008-2010).

Gloria Jean has been a vocal and/or choral adjudicator at over a dozen music festivals in Ontario and on Canada’s east coast, becoming an Examiner for Conservatory Canada in 2002. She sang on a 2002 CD produced by Conservatory Canada with Dr. Elaine Keillor (piano) featuring the music of Mary Gardiner. In 2006, Dr. Keillor and Gloria Jean released their all-Canadian CD Musique: Songs for Parlour and Stage. Gloria Jean was the Ottawa coordinator for Contemporary Showcase (Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects) and is a member of Canadian Music Showcase / Carrefour de la musique canadienne, for which she edited the vocal syllabus in August 1999 and assisted in the 2003 revision. Many of Gloria Jean’s vocal students have gone on to participate successfully in the annual festivals. She is involved in other music education groups and associations in Ottawa including the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association (Past-President, Ottawa Region Branch 2001-2003), National Association of Teachers of Singing, National Capital Region (secretary 1993-4, charter member), Ottawa Kiwanis Music Festival (Selections Committee 1989-present), Eastern Ontario Friends of Conservatory Canada (charter member 1995-present) and she maintains membership in the Ottawa Council for the Arts, Canadian Women Composers’ Association, the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals, Canadian Federation of Music Festival Adjudicators and the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors. In 1994, Gloria Jean published A Singers’ Overview to Canadian Contemporary Vocal Literature for the NATS convention which is now available through the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto. In May 2009, Gloria Jean was named special teacher of the year for the Ottawa Region branch ORMTA.

Gloria Jean is the founding director of the vocal/piano duo Cantabile along with Deirdre Piper celebrating its twenty-fifth season 2011-2012 (over 60 concerts so far and counting!.) Gloria Jean has delighted audiences in Canada, Hungary, Spain and France. She has been heard both locally and nationally on CBC Radio, Radio-Canada (in Canada and in France) and Rogers Cablevision. Gloria Jean has also been heard in operatic productions in Ottawa, Nepean, London and Banff and has appeared with the Nepean Symphony, the Deep River Symphony, Brantford Symphony, Montreal Repertory Orchestra, Ottawa Divertimento Orchestra and the University of Western Ontario Symphony Orchestra as well as in many other chamber performances with orchestral accompaniment as part of the Kincardine Summer Music Festival and as part of Cantabile.

“Her voice has an appealing naturalness. She sings with clarity, colour, vitality, ease, focus and control.”


Musica Ebraica Teams with Chazzan Jeremy Burko in Up-Coming Concert: Prayer and Celebration – Liturgical Music From Around the World.

Jewish liturgical music is defined as any music intended for use in synagogues or in other Jewish religious ceremonies, or, to quote the dictionary, “some sort of musical declamation for the passages uttered aloud in the synagogue.”

This dry definition hardly gives credit to the beauty and originality of the creations of some 1700 composers whose works span generations and continents, to the important role played by this music in the daily lives of Jews throughout history – the Bible and the Talmud record that spontaneous music making was common among the ancient Jews on all important occasions, religious and secular – or to the way that synagogue music touches the hearts and souls of Jews today.

Ottawa’s preeminent Jewish choir, Musica Ebraica, aims to educate as well as to entertain and this year is hoping to share some of our rich musical tradition in its up-coming concert.
On June 4th, under the dexterous baton of conductor Norman E. Brown, the choir will present Prayer and Celebration – Liturgical Music From Around the World. The audience will hear the beloved and age-old  liturgical texts in a kaleidoscopic array of musical styles, modalities and languages.  The concert takes place at 7:30 pm at Agudath Israel Synagogue – 1400 Coldrey Avenue.  Master of ceremony for the evening will be well-known radio host Rob Clipperton.
Agudath Israel Cantor Jeremy Burko will be featured as guest soloist, performing Bendicho Su Nombre (B’rich Sh’meh) in Ladino, Morris Barrash’s Atah Chonantanu, and Ben Steinberg’s Lo Yareiu,

A talented and accomplished young Chazzan, Toronto- born Burko came to the Ottawa community in 2012 from the New North London Synagogue. He began his college career as an engineer, but, says Burko “it soon became very clear where my heart belonged.” In 2010 he graduated from the H. L. Miller Cantorial School, Jewish Theological Seminary in New York with a Chazzan’s Diploma and a Master’s degree in Sacred Music. Burko’s aim is “to use my talents to help create an environment of spirituality, dignity and joy as part of the davening experience.”

Musica Ebraica is pleased to be collaborating with Chazzan Jeremy and to have as other invited guests soprano Erinne-Colleen Laurin, mezzo-soprano Barbara Okun, tenor Ken Mak, and bass Larry Tarof.

One of the highlights of the evening will be a cantata by Modest Mussorgsky entitled Joshua ben Nun. The piece, adapted from the book of Joshua, is particularly moving and thrilling. “You can feel the battles of Joshua and his Israelite men” says choir president Patsy Royer.  Our conductor Norman has brought in a quartet of professional soloists to raise the musical experience of the choir to a new level of excellence. “

Musica Ebraica is also thrilled to be performing a world-premiere arrangement of Shir haMa’alot by Ottawa composer Leo Lightstone. The composition is not the first that Lightstone has done  for the choir. He enjoys writing for small instrumental and vocal ensembles, employing techniques of modern counterpoint and methods of layering in his compositions. Much of his work draws on liturgical texts and Hebrew poetry, past and present. In all his compositions he receives support and advice from his family, all musicians in their own right. “Leo is masterful in his ability to paint the atmosphere of the psalm with his melody.” says longtime chorister Minda Wershoff. “ We are really fortunate to have such wonderful musicians in Ottawa who share our love of Jewish repertoire.”

The evening will be a ‘must-hear-experience’ for lovers of good choral music, and the Jewish liturgical soundscape !

Prayer and Celebration

Liturgical Music From Around the World
Tuesday June 4, 2013, 7:30 PM

Prayer and Celebration –Liturgical Music From Around the World.

The program will consist of innovative choral settings of the synagogue liturgy arranged by international composers. Chazzan Jeremy Burko will delight all with his rich tenor voice and spiritual artistry. Other guests include soprano Erinne-Colleen Laurin, mezzo-soprano Barbara Okun, tenor Ken Mak, and bass Larry Tarof. Highlights will be Joshua, a cantata by Modest Mussorgsky in Russian as well as a world-premiere composition by Ottawa’s own Leo Lightstone.

A ‘must-hear-experience’ for lovers of good choral music, Chaazanut, and the Jewish liturgical soundscape !

The concert will take place on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm at Agudath Israel Synagogue 1400 Coldrey Avenue, Ottawa. Tickets : general admission $20 or $15 for students. Available at Leading Note, CD Warehouse, Compact Music or at the door. For information or tickets please call 613-233-3099 or email proyer@rogers.com.

From Rossi to Glick Tuesday November 20, 2012 7:30 pm Tabaret Hall

Musica Ebraica  has been bringing the sounds of Jewish music in its many diverse forms to Ottawa audiences for over a decade. The chamber choir was founded in 2001 by a small group of people who felt that the beauty of Jewish Choral Music should be shared with the larger community. Its repertoire consists of a very eclectic mix of music ranging from Renaissance Italian to modern American/Canadian and from European Yiddish to Mediterranean Ladino as well as Israeli compositions.

As the singers explore the music, they learn as well about the cultures and settings that influence the sounds they sing. The choir members come from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds and are united by their love of singing and the pleasure that Jewish music brings to both themselves and listeners. Two major concerts and many smaller ones are presented each season.

Musica Ebraica will present an evening of beautiful Jewish choral music on Tuesday, November 20th at 7:30 pm at the University of Ottawa’s Tabaret Hall (555 Cumberland Ave. at the corner of Laurier in Ottawa).  The choir will sing masterpieces  from the Baroque era including music by Solomone Rossi, George Frederic Handel, and G. Palestrina as well as music by Canadian composers  Srul Irving Glick, Healy Willan,  Stephen Glass, Leonard Enns and Brian Bessner.  As well, long time choir accompanist Carol Gurofsky will perform two solo pieces on piano. It promises to be an evening of excellent and varied musical sounds.

This will be the inaugural concert under the baton of its new conductor Norman E. Brown.  Norman is a well known singer, orchestral musician and conductor in Ottawa, Toronto and throughout international music circles, and Musica Ebraica is delighted to be joining forces with him.

Laurence Wall, well known broadcaster on CBC radio and man about town, is the emcee for the evening.

Tickets are $20 ($15 for students) and are available at the Leading Note, Compact Music and CD warehouse, from Musica Ebraica members, or by calling 613- 233-3099 or emailing pmroyer@gmail.com.

Miboker ad Erev – From Morning til Night Feb. 26, 2012

Our winter concert is coming!  Miboker ad Erev – From Morning ’til Night – celebrates our 11th season of song with a wonderful programme in Hebrew, Yiddush and Ladino.  A special nod is being given to the music of the kibbutz movement, in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of collective farming in Israel.  Everyone is welcome to Temple Israel, 1302 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa, at 2:00 on Sunday afternoon, February 26.  Tickets will be available at the door $20 for adults $15 for students.  Musica Ebraica’s two CDs will also be on sale.  We hope to see you there.  For information please call Patsy Royer at 613-233-3099.