Join Jonathan Miller, artistic director of Chicago a cappella and a longtime champion of Jewish choral music, for an inspiring and informative show featuring choral music set to Chanukah texts. Familiar tunes include “I Have a Little Dreidel” (both in its original Yiddish form and in a neo-funk Hebrew/English setting), a swing version of “S’vivon” by Steve Barnett, and a lively setting of the traditional melody for “Al-Hanissim” (“For the Miracles”) by Elliot Levine. Heartfelt original compositions by American and British composers provide added depth of expression to celebrating the holiday. Such works include “Lo Yisa Goy,” a plea for peace by Stacy Garrop; Bob Applebaum’s stirring new version of “Haneirot Halalu”; and movements from the majestic “Hallel Suite” by London-based Daniel Tunkel. All selections are performed by Chicago a cappella, the virtuoso vocal ensemble now in its 23rd season. Jonathan Miller provides liturgical and cultural background as part of this unique look inside old and newer choral Chanukah traditions.
Chicago a cappella
An ensemble of professional singers founded in 1993 by Jonathan Miller, Chicago a cappella presents an annual Chicago-area subscription series, creates studio recordings as well as live and broadcast-media musical content, produces educational outreach programming, and gives performances on tour and in special engagements. Long recognized for vocal virtuosity and innovative programming, the ensemble enjoys a reputation as a leader in the choral field.
With more than 350 performances to its credit, Chicago a cappella has produced more than 200 concerts on its Chicago-based series. On tour, the group has appeared in 13 American states and in Mexico. The ensemble has been heard frequently on WFMT radio and through broadcasts distributed by American Public Media, including the nationally-syndicated Performance Today. The ensemble has produced nine CD recordings of music ranging from Renaissance masses to contemporary works.
From its inception, Chicago a cappella has been a champion of living composers. Since 1993 the group has presented more than 100 works in their world, national, or local premiere. Chicago a cappella has commissioned new music from composers including Joseph Jennings, Chen Yi, Stacy Garrop, Rollo Dilworth, Tania León, and Ezequiel Viñao.
Chicago a cappella is also active in educational and community engagement. The ensemble produces an annual Youth Choral Festival for young singers from the Chicago area, and leads an innovative High School Internship program, a multi-faceted immersion for selected students in the worlds of performance and arts administration.
Jonathan Miller, Host and Chicago a cappella Founder and Artistic Director
Known for innovative programming of choral concerts, Jonathan Miller has guided Chicago a cappella through more than 300 performances and nine commercial CD releases since he founded the ensemble in 1993. He is the recipient of the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal from Chorus America. When Jonathan was a teenage bass in the Chicago Children’s Choir, he was bitten hard by the choral bug. He was fortunate to be exposed to a wide range of repertoire by a remarkable group of mentors, including Christopher Moore, Lena McLin, Max Janowski, Howard Mayer Brown, Richard Proulx, John Nygro, and Anne Heider. Eager to learn research tools for choral music, Jonathan earned his doctorate in historical musicology at UNC-Chapel Hill. After returning to the Chicago area, Jonathan led the choir at Unity Temple in Oak Park for nine years and began composing new music for that ensemble. Jonathan has taken a leadership role in Jewish choral music, composing, arranging, narrating programs on stage and on radio, and leading workshops at the North American Jewish Choral Festival and elsewhere. A champion and publisher of the music of the late Max Janowski, Jonathan conducted the culminating concert of the Janowski Centenary at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation; he also was the recipient of the 2013 Perelmuter Award at KAMII and was Scholar in Residence at Lakeside Congregation in Highland Park, Illinois, in November 2014. Jonathan is honored to serve as high-holiday cantor for Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Hyde Park. He has written more than 75 choral works in a variety of genres and languages; his music has been sung at venues including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Pentagon; his mashup Jingle Bells Hallelujah Chorus is a minor hit; and his series of Wacky Christmas Carols continues to mix words and tunes in new combinations. He also serves as Director of Choral Catalog at Musicnotes.com. Jonathan is married, has an adult daughter and two step-grandsons, and dotes on his English Cocker Spaniels, Higgins and Moseley.