WORKING & PRESENTING
"Although, as a Cantor I work in a Jewish environment, I am involved with a lot of interfaith work. The Usdan commission helped me to imagine new ways of using Jewish music and traditions outside of an exclusively Jewish context."
– Cantor Randall Schloss
Usdan regularly invites working artists to campus to collaborate and engage students as part an examination of a particular artistic question or in the middle of the creative process.
CANTOR RANDALL SCHLOSS
For the last several years, Usdan’s prestigious music program has included the contributions and compositions of Cantor Randall Schloss. Stemming from an interest in the creation and presentation of work that—like Usdan itself—draws on Jewish values while highlighting similar values in other traditions, Usdan commissioned to Cantor Schloss write and work with students to perform a an original piece.
Using a unique blend of styles, Cantor Schloss' music aims to both engage both the young singers and the listeners in an exploration of what it is to have faith, commitment and virtue, inspired by the Jewish, and universal, values on which Usdan was founded.
As part of a performance of songs of welcome from many traditions, Cantor Randall Schloss’ first song for Usdan, “L’cha N’ran’na” (which means “Let’s Sing”), was presented on the McKinley Amphitheater by Junior and Senior Chorus members along with other songs including Beach Boys pop music and Latino heritage.
Cantor Schloss returned to camp in to deepen the conversation about faith, virtue, art and community. The piece—"Hallelujah"— premiered in 2018, as part of Usdan’s 50th Anniversary season. In the piece, Usdan choral students took the stage and used music to examine the expression and support of social justice issues through art.
After a varied career in music as a classical singer both on the opera stage and in concert, as a teacher of voice and music theory, and as a choral conductor and music director, Cantor Randall Schloss began his journey into the world of Jewish music in 2000 as a singer and composer. His compositions combine traditional liturgy and modern poetry with musical elements of eastern European nusach and chazzanut, Israeli and Sephardic folk music, classical and twentieth century Reform repertoire and contemporary pop and jazz. He received his ordination and a Masters Degree in Sacred Music from the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from Cornell University and a Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. He has served on the faculty of the Hebrew College School of Jewish Music in Boston and currently serves on the Executive Board of the American Conference of Cantors. He is currently the Cantor of Temple Israel of New Rochelle, NY.