kaddish, i am here, songs of mourning and celebration


KADDISH was commissioned by the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, NH, in honor of its 25th anniversary. It was debuted there in May 2008 with Lawrence Siegel conducting and soloists Peggo Hodes, Pamela Stevens, Ryan Turner and David Ripley.

World Premiere. VocalEssence Chorus and Ensemble Singers, Minneapolis, November 2008. Conductor: Philip Brunelle. Soloists: Maria Jette, Krista J. Palmquist, Jason Collins and James Bohn..

Houston Symphony & Houston Symphony Chorus (2010), in partnership with the Holocaust Museum Houston, Hans Graf conducting. Soloists: Jessica Rivera, Margaret Lattimore, Chad Shelton and James Maddalena.

International premiere by the Jerusalem Symphony, September 2011 at Yad Vashem, Gil Shohat conductor. Soloists Maria Jette, Adriana Zabala, Thomas Cooley, James Bohn.

Syracuse Oratorio Society and Symphoria under John Warren (2013); Rochester Philharmonic (2015) under Eugene Tzigane; Florida Atlantic University (2010); Keene State College and University of NH, /Durham (2010); and Houston Grand Opera (2014).


KADDISH was broadcast nationally on NPR's SymphonyCast and Performance Today.


The World Premiere Performance, recorded live with the 130-voice VocalEssence Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Philip Brunelle, is available on the Navona label.

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kaddish at yad vashem, jerusalem, israel kaddish at yad vashem, jerusalem, israel

Watch the live performance of Kaddish at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.

KADDISH had a gravitas and an emotional immediacy that made even the familiar story of the Holocaust fresh and compelling.
- St. Paul Pioneer Press

kaddish performance, audience, orchestra, singers
Gil Shohat conducting the Jerusalem Symphony in Kaddish, at Yad Vashem.

Kaddish Project

Holocaust survivors tell their stories in their own words in composer Lawrence Siegel's KADDISH. An important new work for soloists, chorus and orchestra, KADDISH has already won the attention of orchestras, choral ensembles and audiences in the U.S. and abroad. Like the ancient Jewish Mourner's Kaddish, it is at once a hymn of lamentation in the face of death and a celebration of life, a call for peace. Extending beyond the Jewish experience, it speaks to the persecutions and genocides of our own time.

KADDISH has been acclaimed a masterpiece - a work of both personal memory and universal resonance. Drawing on musical styles from folk and klezmer to Sondheim, from Mozart and Handel to contemporary classical, it is an accessible piece of new music that stirs the heart. Its libretto, fashioned from the verbatim testimony of Survivors, gives KADDISH a passion and authenticity that is uniquely powerful.

kaddish performance, conductor gil shohat with soloists at yad vashim It was sweet, shocking, melancholy, uplifting, horrific, and finally, powerfully triumpant.
— Houston Examiner

The fifteen songs of KADDISH are grouped in three sections. The World Before sings of love, family, the fabric of Jewish life in the shtetl. The Holocaust is harrowing, stories of the ghettos, the trains, the camps, in music of searing intensity. The final section, Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World), mourns the dead and celebrates the survival of individuals and culture: "Nothing is as Whole as a Heart which has been Broken."

phillip brunelle, conducting vocalessence

KADDISH connects
with lyrical simplicity...
the final section...
rising to exaltation:

"I am here!
I survived,
and look who is with me."

After what has gone before, the impact of the conclusion is thrilling.

— Minneapolis Star Tribune

Philip Brunelle conducts Vocalessence which gave the
World Premiere of Kaddish in Minneapolis.

KADDISH has been performed more than a dozen times in the U.S. and abroad, by ensembles including the Houston Symphony & Houston Symphony Chorus, VocalEssence, the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Jerusalem Symphony at Yad Vashem, on Israel's Mount of Remembrance.

Please contact us for more information and to discuss a performance by your ensemble, or for your university, organization or community: manager@kaddishproject.net

The Kaddish Project  •  128 Paine Road  •  Westmoreland, New Hampshire 03467