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Sun, Jun 23

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Morton Grove Public Library

Ukrainian vs Jewish: Musical Borrowings as Means of Expression

with Cantor Pavel Roytman and Sofi Fraser

Ukrainian vs Jewish: Musical Borrowings as Means of Expression
Ukrainian vs Jewish: Musical Borrowings as Means of Expression

Time & Location

Jun 23, 2024, 3:00 PM CDT

Morton Grove Public Library, 6140 Lincoln Ave, Morton Grove, IL 60053, USA

About the Event

Ukrainian vs Jewish: Musical Borrowings as Means of Expression is an educational program that highlights the intricate and multi-layered relationship between Jewish and Ukrainian culture and music. Presented by Cantor Roytman and Chicago based Ukrainian singer songwriter Sofi Fraser, this interactive musical presentation was created to build bridges between the Ukrainian and Jewish people. It is also meant to raise awareness of the war in Ukraine and encourage support of the Ukrainians in their struggle for independence and peace.

Cantor Pavel Roytman is a native of Nikolaev, Ukraine. In 1994, Cantor Roytman immigrated to the United States where he obtained his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from DePaul University and Master of Music in Musicology from Northwestern University. In 2006 Cantor Roytman was certified as a cantor through Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. In 2015 Cantor Roytman completed his certification as a Conservative Cantor and became a full-fledged member of the Cantor’s Assembly. Cantor’s Assembly. In Chicago, Cantor Roytman has performed as a conductor and soloist with Kol Zimrah Jewish Community Singers and Queen of All Saints Basilica Choir. He also served as conductor for Milwaukee Jewish Community Chorale and an executive director and co-founder of the Zemer Am, the Chicago’s Annual Festival of Jewish Choral Music. Cantor Roytman currently serves as a cantor for Beth Hillel B’nai Emunah, a Conservative egalitarian congregation in Wilmette Illinois.  He is a member of the American Conference of Cantors, Chicago-Milwaukee Association of Synagogue Music, and the Cantor’s Assembly.

Sofi Fraser is a Chicago-based composer, pianist, and vocalist who is well known for being an ambassador of Ukrainian culture in Europe, Canada and the US. Born in Stryi Ukraine, Sofi began her music career at the age of six performing as a child and appearing at concerts and festivals in Ukraine. Sofi received her formal training in piano and voice from Lviv National Music Academy graduating with Masters in Piano performance. Sofi made multiple appearances at the Greater Chicago Jewish Folk Arts Festival, Ukrainian Festival of Culture, Latvian Cultural Center, The Historic Chicago Loop Synagogue, Beth Shalom Congregation, St. Joseph Ukrainian Catholic Church, Ukrainian Museum of Culture, Tet-a Tet Theater, Old Town School of Folk Music, and Epiphany Center for the Arts. Sofi also performed at Vatra, a Festival of Ukrainian Culture in Orlando and the Cantors Assembly convention in LA. She is a winner of the SheFest2021 Grand Prix for “Best Song and Performance” based on the words of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko and the Grand Prix for “Public Choice.” In addition to her performances, Sofi made multiple recordings with Chicago based performing artists Ian Maksin, Ira Antelis, Lynne Jordan and others. Her voice is featured on singles Snova Doshi (It Rains Again), My Land, Little Dove and We Sing for Ukraine. She recently composed and recorded several lullabies for children featuring some of her own students. Sofi works as an educator at the Creative Minds Academy in Chicago where she teaches piano and voice to children. She also assists as an accompanist and vocal coach to Hazamir Jewish Teen Choir, Temple Jeremiah in Northfield and Or Shalom Congregation in Vernon Hills. In addition, Sofi is a member of the “Subcarpathian” – a vocal group specializing in Ukrainian liturgical and folk music. Since the beginning of the war Sofi passionately engaged in raising money in support of Ukraine. She sang at multiple fundraisers organized by the Jewish United Fund, Lifeway Kefir, the Cantors Assembly of America, and others. Besides being a musician, Sofi is a recognized creative artist and maker of Vyttinanki, Ukrainian paper art. Her work has been featured in galleries and private collections including the Museum of Ukrainian Culture in Chicago.

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