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A Brief History of Transcontinental Music Publications
A Division of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations

Transcontinental Music Publications (TMP), now the music publishing division of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the governing body of Reform Judaism, was founded by Joseph Freudenthal in 1938.  He was a composer and copyright lawyer who immigrated to the United States just in time to escape World War II and the Holocaust.  He found that he was not alone.  There were many immigrant Jewish composers searching for a way to express their Jewish identity and to be recognized for their contributions. When Freudenthal established TMP, he quickly attracted young, talented composers as well as those who had achieved national and international recognition. It quickly took its place alongside old, established companies that published works by Jewish composers such as Bloch Music Publishing and Mills Music Today; only TMP remains as the largest music publishing house of Jewish Art and Choral Music. Both Bloch and Mills have discontinued publication.

... only TMP remains as the largest music publishing house of Jewish Art and Choral Music.
When Joseph died in 1963, his wife Marie, a musician and recognized singer, assumed the administration and supervised sales for the company.  Her little store on Broadway was the second home of every musician in the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements.  It eventually became difficult for her to continue her one woman act, and in 1975 she approached the URJ to offer all the copyrights and all the stock as a gift. 

The rabbis of the URJ did not really know how to approach this gold mine, so they brought in Kurt Stone, one of the most recognized and respected editors in the music industry.  He was responsible for setting the standard of excellence for which Transcontinental is known today.  He did not know Hebrew well, however, and both he and the URJ agreed that knowledge of the language was mandatory if TMP was to fulfill its mission of supplying music materials to the movement.  Cantor Stephen Richards, then a cantor in the New York area, was called in as a part-time editor, trained by Kurt Stone, and remained in that position from 1977-1980.  When Cantor Richards accepted a position in Arizona, the URJ initiated a search for another editor. Dr. Judith Tischler, a member of the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary and a graduate of the City University of New York with an advanced degree in composition, was hired as the next part-time editor.  Also trained by Kurt Stone, she eventually became the full-time Director and Senior Editor of TMP and remained with the URJ until her retirement in December 1999.  She was succeeded by Joel Eglash and Mark Dunn (through 2004), each responsible for different directions in musical style to fit the different needs of the movement and the greater world of music

Today (2006), Transcontinental Music Publications is reaching even greater heights under the direction of Mike Boxer and Jayson Rodovsky. With forays into band music, klezmer, A capella, Jewish rock, and other new genres, the future looks very bright for this great organization.

Prepared 2002 by Dr. Judith Tischler

 

 


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