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COMPOSER SHOWCASE

Charles Heller: Biography

Charles Heller
1946 -
Region: Ontario

Charles Heller

CHARLES HELLER graduated from Cambridge University, furthered his studies at Wilfrid Laurier and York Universities, received a B.Ed. in Music Education from the University of Toronto, and studied composition with Marjan Mozetich.

He taught high school and middle school music for over thirty years, and has been involved for over fifty years in synagogue music, beginning as a boy soprano aged eight. His work with Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue, Toronto, was recognized by the United Synagogue of America’s Solomon Schechter Award for Music in 1982. He performed with such major figures as Marvin Hamlisch, Cantor David Kusevitsky and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. His arrangements and original compositions are used in synagogues and in concerts throughout the world. He was Vice-President of Jewish Music Toronto and since 1986 has been on the editorial board of the Cantors Assembly, New York. His interest in the transmission and evolution of Jewish music is the basis of his award-winning book What To Listen For in Jewish Music (www.ecanthuspress.com). In 2015 he was appointed Composer in Residence for Strings Attached Orchestra (www.stringsattachedorchestra.com).

Recent vocal works include Tramvay Lider/ Streetcar Songs (supported with a grant from Canadian Heritage), Letters from Bozena (commissioned by Rivka Golani, English version commissioned by The Kiever Shul, Toronto) and The Ancient Mariner and the Albatross, commissioned by the Toronto Children’s Chorus. His 2014 work The Two Ravens for viola, flute and strings, commissioned by Rivka Golani and premiered at Head-Smashed-In, Alberta, was described by Marjan Mozetich as “very beautiful…very expressive”.

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