A Visit From Eleanor Epstein


At our rehearsal on Monday, November 2, we were honored to host a very special guest: noted conductor and arranger Eleanor Epstein! Ms. Epstein is the founder, artistic director, and conductor of Zemer Chai, the Jewish Community Choir of Washington, D.C.  In addition to her work with Zemer Chai, she has served as a guest conductor and artist-in-residence with many choirs across the country.

As an arranger, Ms. Epstein focuses on preserving Jewish folk music. WVC reached out to Ms. Epstein to commission a piece in honor of Artistic Director Allan Friedman’s recent nuptials, and she responded with a beautiful setting of “Mah Dodech Midod” by composer Yedidiah Admon. This classic Jewish folk song features lyrics from the Song of Solomon in which the bride admires her “beloved,” describing him to the daughters of Jerusalem.

Ms. Epstein traveled from the D.C. area to work with us personally, coaching us on proper Hebrew pronunciation and the emotional force of the lyrics. Under her conducting, the act of singing the text became a joyous experience – one that we can’t wait to share with you at our winter concert in January!  We’d like to thank Ms. Epstein for taking the time to teach us about the inspiration for the piece and for working with us to bring her vision to life.

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