An accomplished classical and jazz pianist, musical theatre composer and arranger, Aminadav Aloni z”l was, above all, a prolific synagogue composer who created Jewish sacred musical works of distinction.
Born in Tel Aviv, Aloni came to the U.S. in 1945 to study piano/music theory/ composition/conducting at Los Angeles City College. He then moved to New York to pursue advanced piano studies at Juilliard. Upon returning to L.A., he taught piano, performed in jazz clubs, improvised accompaniments for noted choreographers, co-authored nine musicals and composed numerous scores for film and television.
In 1966 Cantor Samuel Fordis of Valley Beth Shalom invited Aloni to accompany worship services there. This eventually led to his appointment as choir director and composer in residence, a role he held for almost thirty years.
Said Aloni: “I really was not planning to write any Jewish music. I was FORCED TO! Sam used a melody I wrote for a TV show on the life of the Baal Shem Tov as the refrain for ‘Lecha Dodi.’ That was nice…but…the in-between melodies were written by Sulzer, Lewandowski, etc., and the change in style from Germanic music to my Chassidic ditty was driving me crazy! So I just had to write something else –for health reasons, you understand!!” And thus was born the Chassidic Service in 1970 which was performed at Rabbi Schulweis’ z”l very first Erev Shabbat service.
At Valley Beth Shalom he began a long association with Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis which meant support for chazzanut and new music along with a proficient choir on site, a perfect spot for Ami to flourish. He became one of the world’s most prolific Jewish composers, including more than 100 commissioned compositions in his opus, such as “Ruth,” “Kohelet,” performed often in synagogues and concert halls worldwide.
Ami and Rabbi Schulweis collaborated not only on their oratorio “MOED” in the 1980’s, and hundreds of services over the years, but also on PassagesinPoetry, a collection of 12 Schulweis poems set to music by Aloni.
Diagnosed with cancer in 1994, Ami died August 9, 1999. Upon his death Rabbi Schulweis memorialized him so: “Ami’s immortality of influence is inextricably bound up with his music that has penetrated the life of many synagogues and which is destined to inspire future generations.”
And his works live on and inspire. In the MOED display, you are invited to enjoy many audios via posted QR codes. For more of his works, please visit www.hmsi.info, entering ALONI in Search Box.