Solomon Epstein

Solomon Epstein


Opera Composer
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«"This opera deserves to return to the stage in a full-scale production with full orchestra."»
OPERA magazine, London, may 1999 review of Israel pr3emiere (2017)
«The opera The Dybbuk is highly significant in our culture arena…The love duet between the dead bridegroom and Leah standing on either side of a translucent mirror, is haunting»
HaEer weekend Magazine, Israel (2017)
«The opera is a subject of a chapter in the Italian book Esotismi musicali del Dibbuk by professor Aloma Bardi,University of Florence, and Founder/director of, and appears on the cover. The book, about the musical adaptations of Ansky's play by copland, bernstein Rocca, and epstein was published in 2014 by the University of Naples»
Università degli studi di Napoli "L'Orientale" - Home Page Palazzo Giusso e Cappella Pappacoda Palazzo Corigliano Palazzo Santa Maria Porta Coeli Palazzo del Mediterraneo Palazzo Du Mesnil Ateneo Didattica Ricerca Int (2017)


BackgroundSummary:Please SEE descriptions of my works at OPERA America- North American Works Directory (

THE DYBBUK: AN OPERA IN YIDDISH.Premiere: Israel 1999, at Ben- Gurion University (Beersheba); and Susan Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre (Tel Aviv). CONDUCTOR: Ronen Rorshevsky, Assistant Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta, Artistic Director; STAGE DIRECTOR: Rachel Michaeli; LEAH (soprano): Camilla Griehsel; KHANNAN (tenor): Yossi Aridan; FRIEDA (mezzo): Berakhah Kol; PIANIST: Irit Rub-Levi, soloist in the 5 Beethoven Concertos with the Israel Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta conducting. Production funded by Lerner Foundation for Yiddish (Tel Aviv). A live-performance video was released as a DVD in 2005 (with English and Hebrew subtitles,
PAL format only), available from                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I was of course very pleased with full houses, standing ovations, and uniformly
excellent Tel Aviv press reviews. The international London magazine
Opera said: "...This opera deserves to return to the stage in a
full-scale production with full orchestra." I adapted the libretto from
the original 1920 Yiddish playscript by S. Ansky, also providing a singable English translation.

I composed the piano-vocal score 1990-91, completing the orchestra score in 1994.

MOBY-DICK: OPERA-ORATORIO IN THREE ACTS, 2008 (Vocal Score, piano 4 hands; Complete Orchestra Score; separate libretto) : Composer: Solomon Epstein; Librettists: Joyce Sparer Adler and Solomon Epstein, adapted from MELVILLE. The opera expands the role of Queequeg so that he becomes for Ishmael a more prominent, benign balance to Ahab. Some of Ishmael's and Pip's philosophical meditations are included. This work relies on MUSIC, which is invisible and intangible, to convey Melville's vast vision (paralleling a reader's experience of the novel, which the reader "sees" on the "stage of the imagination")--- the only stage which is limitless.  VISUAL/ THEATRICAL effects are kept to a minimum, since this work focuses less on the surface literalism of Ahab chasing a whale. Instead, it emphasizes Melville's almost lifelong obsessions with ultimate theological and philosophical dilemmas, which lie just below the "pasteboard mask" of the whale-hunting surface of this allegory of Biblical and Shakespearean dimensions. Equally, the emphasis on MUSIC rather than theatrical production saves drastically on production costs. To convey the book's epic sweep, there is a separate "Oratorio Chorus" (serving several functions) external to the operatic action. This Oratorio Chorus can sing from their scores and do not have to memorize; wear concert dress so that they do not need to be costumed; and do not have to act.

MURDER IN THE FIRST: Composer and Librettist: Solomon Epstein. Synopsis: Based on true events in San Francisco, 1938-1942. A young prisoner at Alcatraz, Johnny Bowes, wrongly accused and arrested, is sadistically abused by the Alcatraz wardens. Driven insane by three continuous years of solitary confinement, Johnny's first act upon his release back into the general prison population is to kill another prisoner. The opera questions justice in the American prison system. Libretto adapted from the novel and play by permission of their author, Dan Gordon, screenwriter for the film with Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater.                                                                                                                                                         

THE WILD BOY:  Opera in One Act.  Composer and Librettist: Solomon Epstein. from historical sources. Synopsis: Victor, the wild boy, bursts into the large third-floor study room of Dr. Jean-Marc Itard's Paris Institute for Special Education, where every shelf is filled with educational toys devised by Dr. Itard to civilize this feral child found near the forest of Aveyron. Itard runs in, chasing Victor. But can the "wild boy" be educated into civilization?---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WEBLINKS:. Dybbuk.pdf

EXPERIENCE:Cantor and Music Director,Congregation Beth Sholom, July 1978 – June 1983 (5 years)Johnstown, Pennsylvania;  Cantor and Music Director, Congregation B'nai Jacob, November 1966 – June 1976 (9 years 8 months)Woodbridge, CT;

1970: Interim Director of Graduate Opera Department in the Music Department of Washington University, St. Louis, MO: Trained singers in acting and movement for opera, and staged an evening of Opera Scenes. COMPOSING COMMISSIONS FROM UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH/JOHNSTOWN  THEATER DEPARTMENT PRODUCTIONS:1979: Brecht, Mother Courage;1982: Brecht, Caucasian Chalk Circle; 1991: Shakespeare, The Tempest

Skills & Endorsements: Linked In---  Top Skills: 12 Music/ 12 Composition/ 11 Opera/ 9 Singing/ 7 Songs/ 6 Classical/ 5 Theater/ 4 Vocal/ 4 Vocal Coaching/ 4 Music Theory


EDUCATION: Hartt School of Music at University of Hartford, DMA, Composition/Orchestration: Study with Robert Carl and Ken Steen 1995 – 2001. .----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1982 to 1994: Private and Classroom Study in Composition/Orchestration with the following Professors:Leonardo Balada and Nancy Galbraith, Carnegie-Mellon University; Andrew Rudin, Philadelphia University of the Arts;Robert Stern, University of Massachusetts/Amherst.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------        Yale University School of Music, Master of Music, Voice and Opera,1967 – 1970. One of six singers on Fellowship at the Yale Summer School of Music, Norfolk, CT. Performed songs of Hindemith, Loewe, Hugo Wolf and Sibelius.  At Yale, recitals of complete "Winterreise" (Schubert) and "Songs and Dances of Death" (Mussorgsky).-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Cantors Institute, Jewish Theological Seminary, Bachelor of Sacred Music and Cantor's Diploma, Cantorial and other Jewish Music, General Music, Hebrew, Religious Literature. Study with Hugo Weisgall, Siegfried Landau, Miriam Gideon,1958 -1962----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Additional Info/Interests: Herman Melville,Moby-Dick,The Dybbuk, world history, art history, opera history, Jewish culture,linguistics, music history, literary criticism,comparative religion,psychology, anthropology,mythology

====================================================================================Advice for Contacting Solomon---E-mail: CELL:  +1 413 786 0764 Connections:  Professor Aloma Bardi, Founder and Director,; Professor Yehuda Hanani, cellist, Founder (1991) and Director of "Close Encounters with Music", Chamber Music Series, Great Barrington, MA, and Profesor of Cello, Cincinnatti Conservatory of Music; Professor James Bagwell, Director of Undergraduate Music and Graduate Conducting, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.

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