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Jack Gottlieb

Jack GottliebBorn and raised in New Rochelle, N.Y., JACK GOTTLIEB (1930 – 2011) played clarinet as a child, taught himself piano and developed an interest in both jazz and Broadway. These interests heavily influ­enced him later in his career as a composer and author. He earned degrees from Queens College and Brandeis University and then a doctorate from the University of Illinois.

Among his composition teachers were Aaron Copland and the noted synagogue composer Max Helfman. Mr. Helfman was Dr. Gottlieb’s mentor and inspired him to write sacred music. Dr. Gottlieb considered Mr. Helfman his “spiritual father.” From 1958 to 1966, Dr. Gottlieb was Leonard Bernstein’s assistant at the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Bernstein lauded Dr. Gottlieb as “one of the most important talents on the American musical scene.” Described as the pre­eminent Bernstein scholar, Dr. Gottlieb’s most recent book, Working with Bernstein, chronicles the more than three decades of collaboration they shared. This 2010-2011 season, The New York Philharmonic named Dr. Gottlieb as the Leonard Bernstein scholar in residence.

Dr. Gottlieb was a highly regarded composer writing for the concert hall, the theater and the synagogue. He also lectured and wrote several books on how American popular, theatrical and film music was influenced by traditional Jewish liturgical and folk songs. He was the first full-time professor of music at the School of Sacred Music, Hebrew Union College-Jewish In­stitute of Religion. In 1993 he became the first recipient of the Ahad Ha’am Award from the Center for Jewish Creativity & Culture.

Sadly, Jack Gottlieb passed away on February 23, 2011. He will be missed.

— Cantor Lori Corrsin


On Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12, 2011, Temple Emanu-El presented an unprecedented weekend of Jack Gottlieb’s music at worship services, in honor of his 80th birthday. Listen to these recordings»


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