WRTI 90.1 Marks the High Holidays With Special Programming

a shofar surrounded by pomegranates and a pot of honey
tomertu / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By WRTI Staff

WRTI 90.1 is marking the Days of Awe with special programming.

Throughout the 10-day holiday season on WRTI, listeners will hear a variety of music by artists and composers including Paul Ben-Haim, Carl Goldmark, Ora Bat Chaim, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Andrea Clearfield, Jaco do Bandolim, several works by Ernest Bloch, many traditional Jewish songs and more. The “Film at Five” feature, weekdays at about 5:05 PM after the NPR News, will include music from films with Jewish themes. And the Saturday morning Classical Coffeehouse on October 5th will offer wonderful songs such as “Shalom Rav” and “Avinu Malkeinu” and classical works with traditional, nostalgic melodies.

On Sunday, October 6th from 4 to 6 PM WRTI will bring you two beloved special programs featuring music about the high holidays.

4 to 5 PM: Sound the Shofar! An Ancient Instrument in Modern Times

5 to 6 PM: Musical Memories of the High Holidays with Itzhak Perlman
 or listen on-demand here.

The shofar has been heard in synagogues all over the world during the Jewish High Holidays since time immemorial. It has also been heard outside those contexts as a call to battle or a way for shepherds to summon their flocks.

The primeval, evocative sounds of the shofar have captivated many classical composers and its powerful influence shows up in places you might not expect. Elgar, Bernstein, Gershwin, and Golijov have all emulated the shofar in their music, and to this day composers continue to be inspired by its sound and history.

Miguel Kertsman’s new Concerto for Violin, Horn, and Shofar showcases this venerable and influential instrument, and provides the centerpiece of the special. 

Join WRTI on an aural journey filled with an abundance of musical examples from Kertsman and the musicians who brought his Concerto to life. Composer Osvaldo Golijov and shofar virtuoso Steven Ovitsky provide insightful commentary about the instrument’s cultural, historical and musical significance, and Jamie Bernstein shares the direct connection between the shofar and the music in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Sound the Shofar! concludes with a glimpse into Kertsman’s new composition as he pulls back the curtain on his creative process, revealing the secular motivation that inspired him and the sound world he intended to evoke. The hour finishes with a complete performance of the Concerto from the NAXOS debut recording, featuring Gergely Sugar, horn and shofar; Orsolya Korcsolan, violin; and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.

5 to 6 PM: Musical Memories of the High Holidays with Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman, one of the greatest violinists of our time, shares the memories and the recordings that mean the most to him this time of year — from cantorial singing to raucous klezmer fiddling, to classical favorites, including several of his own performances. The music will likely spark warm associations and an emotional response for all listeners.

This article was written for WRTI 90.1 and originally posted on wrti.org.


  1. Whatever happened to High Holiday services being broadcast locally from an area shul? Many of our Jewish brethren can niether physically our financially afford a ticket at most DelVal synagogues. Maybe a local radio station like KYW 1060 can air such, to add to its newly “diversified” community outreach coverage.


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