St. Mary's University Music Department, Winona, Minnesota

Kaplan Commissioning Project
Saint Mary’s University Concert Band

Kaplan Commission World Premiere on Sunday, December 6th, 2015

The Saint Mary’s Concert Band will unveil a new composition for concert band and baritone voice on Sunday, December 6th at 3:00 PM in the Page Theater.

Ayshet Chayil (A Woman of Valor), composed this year by Steven Rosenhaus, was inspired by the text from Proverbs 31. It will be the centerpiece of the concert, complemented by seasonal music from around the world.
The work is composed for baritone voice and concert band, the featured vocal soloist is Alan Dunbar.  The piece is a very expressive and lyrical work, sung in Hebrew. The composer wrote in his preface to the composition: Proverb 31 praises "the good wife"—the "ideal woman"—in Judaism. Many Jewish (and Christian) scholars believe that Proverb 31was written by King Solomon. Unlike the "Song of Songs" the focus is on a woman's intelligence, wisdom, work ethic, and more; it is these attributes, not those of grace or beauty, that last and are deserving of praise. In many Jewish homes husbands recite this Proverb to their wives before the Sabbath dinner, in acknowledgement and praise of all their spouses do. The composer, Steven Rosenhaus, will be in residency starting on December 2nd, and will conduct the premiere performance. 

About the Kaplan Commission Project:

This marks the eighth Kaplan Commission presented by the Saint Mary’s Concert Band, directed by Dr. Janet Heukeshoven.  Previous commissions were awarded to Steve Barnett, Lee Kesselman, Philip Rothman, Judith Zaimont, Marc Bernstein, Paul Richards and Larry Bitensky.  In 1998 The Helen and Sam Kaplan Foundation provided Saint Mary’s University with a gift to create an ongoing Jewish cultural exchange.  Since them approximately every two years (The first premiere in 2000) the Saint Mary’s Concert Band has commissioned a work by a Jewish composer based on Jewish thematic materials.  The selected composer spends 4-6 days in residency working with the ensemble, presenting in classes and meeting individually with students interested in music composition during the week of the premiere. 

Applications will begin in early 2016 for the next commission; details will be posted on the Saint Mary’s Music Department web site, the American Composer’s Forum web site and related Jewish cultural/musical web sites.

About the Composer:

Steven L. Rosenhaus (b. 1952, Brooklyn, NY) is a composer, lyricist, arranger, conductor, author, educator, and performer.  Dr. Rosenhaus holds a Ph.D. from New York University-Steinhardt where he serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Composition. Rosenhaus currently teaches music composition, writing for musical theater and popular songwriting.  He has also taught music theory and an Introduction to Music Publishing and Printing course for the NYU Music Business program. His academic interests include post-tonal theory, especially George Perle’s compositional system of twelve-tone tonality. Rosenhaus holds M.A. and B.A. degrees from Queens College (CUNY) where his composition mentors included Perle and Hugo Weisgall. He has over 150 original works and arrangements in print with LudwigMasters Music Publications, Theodore Presser, Music-Print Productions, Hal Leonard, and others. Recordings of his music can be found on the Musical Tapestries, Richardson, Capstone, and MPP labels. His concert music has been called “clever, deftly constructed and likable” by The New York Times.
Rosenhaus is the author of The Concertgoer’s Guide to the Symphony Orchestra (The Music Gifts Company/LudwigMasters Publications) and is co-author with Allen Cohen of Writing Musical Theater (Palgrave Macmillan). Dr. Rosenhaus is an awardee of the 2010 Con Edison Composer Residency; he has received numerous awards and grants from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, and other organizations. For more information please see his web page: