Preferred Name

Katie Rudnik

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of Music


Beth Chandler Cahill

Pedro R. Aponte

Katherine Axtell

Jeanette Zyko


Music has been a part of Jewish life since Biblical times and remains an integral part of the culture. Within Jewish music, instruments have also played an important role historically. The flute has been traced through Judaism back to Biblical times; however, it has lost prominence in modern synagogue and religious services. As Western music has developed into the twenty-first century, composers, both Jewish and Gentile, have been exposed to the music of the Jewish communities, some of whom have utilized it in their own compositions. Compositions based on Jewish prayer melodies have brought up the question of whether the music is “Jewish” enough and if they even should be considered “Jewish music.”

Flute music by Jewish composers and/or based on Jewish themes is limited. One route to expansion of the repertoire is through transcriptions of works originally written for other instruments. For this project, three pieces were selected for transcription: Kaddisch, for violin and piano by Maurice Ravel, Prayer, From Jewish Life, for cello and piano by Ernest Bloch, and Kol Nidrei, Op. 47, for cello and piano by Max Bruch. Additionally, Oriental Prayer: Kol Nidre with Variations by David Ehrlich, an original work for flute and piano, was selected for study. These works were chosen because they all feature a connection to the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and/or Yom Kippur, with the exception of Ravel’s Kaddisch which comes from liturgy performed year-round. The liturgies for these observances are especially rich in musical content. Each of the selected compositions is based on a popular Jewish prayer and in some instances, its corresponding melody as well. In order to appreciate the extent of Jewish influence on these compositions, it is important to understand the history, both liturgical and musical, of these prayers. This document will provide an in-depth look into the relationship between traditional Jewish prayer and Western composition techniques and will offer a route to incorporating the flute into High Holidays observances.



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