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KAPLAN, Abraham
Picture About KAPLAN, Abraham

Hailed by Leonard Bernstein as “a heaven-sent maestro,” Abraham Kaplan is considered by many to be one of the greatest choral conductors and composers of his generation.  Mr. Bernstein collaborated musically with Abraham Kaplan for over 13 years, calling on Kaplan’s expertise for performances such as the world premiere of his Kaddish Symphony and the Chichester Psalms.

Distinguished by his compositions as well as his conducting, Kaplan has published and recorded at least four major works for chorus and orchestra. His music has been featured on America’s most popular syndicated radio program, Karl Haas’ “Adventures in Good Music,” on CBS Television, and on the Crystal Cathedral television broadcast.  The Vienna Boy’s Choir will release a compact disc of his music in April 2004, for international distribution. Kaplan composed and performed his Fanfare for 12 Trumpets for the Queen of England on her visit to the United States in 1983, and a Fanfare for 12 Biblical Trumpets for the opening ceremony of the Crystal Cathedral in Los Angeles. Kaplan’s Crystal Cathedral Psalms were also commissioned for the Cathedral’s weekly television broadcast.

Kaplan’s dynamic orchestra and choral guest conducting appearances include performances with the NBC Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, the Calgary Symphony Orchestra, the Little Symphony of St. Louis, the LENA Orchestra of New York, the Park East Orchestra, the Long Island Orchestra Da Camera, and the Kol Israel Choir and Orchestra. He founded his own group, the Camerata Singers, in 1961, with which he performed two American tours and regular collaborations with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, and a host of celebrated guest conductors, including Igor Stravinski, William Steinberg, Raphael Kubelik, Neville Mariner, Seiji Ozawa, and Loren Maazel. Kaplan also served as music director of the Collegiate Chorale in New York (1961-73), music director of the Symphonic Choral Society of New York (1968-77), and associate conductor for choral activities at the Seattle Symphony (1995-2000).

In 1970 Kaplan gave a command performance with his Camerata Singers at the White House for the visiting President of Finland, Urho Kekkonen. He was invited to perform with chorus and orchestra for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh when the couple visited the United States in 1983. In addition to his world premiere collaborations with Leonard Bernstein, Kaplan collaborated with Darius Milhaud in 1954 on the world premiere of his opera, David, performed in Jerusalem.

Kaplan’s recorded compositions include Glorious, The K’dusha Symphony, Arvit Leshabat, and Psalms of Abraham.  A 30th anniversary edition of Kaplan’s Glorious album was released on compact disc in October 2003.

Kaplan's college textbook, Choral Conducting, was published by W.W. Norton in 1985, and is now available in paperback. The book is currently the most widely used college textbook on the subject.  In 2009, Kaplan published his musical memoirs in a book entitled, Splendid Encounters.  Kaplan resides in Seattle, Washington, and directs the choral studies department at the University of Washington.