Nicholas Weininger, software engineer and composer, joins me this week to discuss the power of the Hebrew language in choral settings. Both in terms of its sonority and aspects of diction, but also in the contributions many ancient Hebrew texts can make to our philosophical discourses to this day.
We discuss the difficulties finding choral music with rich Hebrew text, we also analyze a passage from Ecclesiastes that is the basis of a new Cantata that Nicholas composed after the pandemic. The discussion then moves to the coincidence of the new cantata’s birth into the world during a time of surging anti-Semitism and post pandemic searches for accountability and reflection. This was a very thought provoking discussion, and we hope you will join us!
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Nicholas Weininger (b. 1978) is a composer, singer, software engineering manager, and leadership coach. Nick’s works have been performed by the International Orange Chorale of San Francisco, Sacred and Profane, Choral Chameleon, Empire City Men’s Chorus, Coro Mundi, West Genesee High School Chorale, and the Germantown Friends School Concert Choir, among others. In March 2023, the Empire City Men’s Chorus premiered Nick’s cantata Hakol Hevel (All is Mere Breath) for TTBB chorus, orchestra, and soloists; the album of the same name, from Navona Records, is available on all major streaming services. Nick’s works are published through Personage Press and ArrangeMe.
Nick has sung with the International Orange Chorale of San Francisco (IOCSF) since 2007. He began composing for IOCSF in 2011 and in 2015-2016 served as IOCSF’s inaugural Composer-in-Residence; the ensemble has performed eleven of his works in all and recorded four on the albums The Unknown Region and Hope in Times of Disquiet. Nick’s 2016 setting of “As kingfishers catch fire”, commissioned by IOCSF, was awarded second prize in the Ithaca College Choral Composition Competition and was a finalist for the 2020 American Prize. Nick’s singing experience also includes stints with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Festival Napa Valley Volti Chorale, and Coro Mundi.
In Nick’s non-musical life, he has spent most of his career managing teams of software engineers and mentoring software engineering leaders, notably at Google from 2005 to 2020. He received a PhD in pure mathematics from Rutgers University in 2005. Initially an autodidact composer, Nick took up private composition study with Joseph Stillwell in 2014 and now studies with Vince Peterson. Nick lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.
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