MARTIN KALMANOFF (1920 – 2007) was born in Woodmere, N.Y., where his father was one of the founders of Temple Beth-El. Mr. Kalmanoff studied with Walter Piston at Harvard University, where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His principal instrument was the piano, and he supported himself early on by accompanying, conducting and playing the organ at Temple Beth-El.
Mr. Kalmanoff is the author of The Joy of Prayer, a full Sabbath service that was writen for Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York in 1980. It later was performed at the Kennedy Center and recorded with baritone Sherrill Milnes as the cantorial soloist. Other Jewish-themed works of his include the theatrical presentation The Victory at Masada and King David and David King, a children’s opera about King David.
However, it is for American popular music that Mr. Kalmanoff is most well-known, including Just Say I Love Her, A Night to Remember, At a Sidewalk Penny Arcade and My Dream House. More than 200 recordings of his work have been made by such singers as Dean Martin, Steve Lawrence and Elvis Presley. In addition, Mr. Kalmanoff has written numerous opera/operatic-type pieces — a number of which are for children’s performances — ranging from one-act to full-length productions and art songs, which include a cycle on poetry by Emily Dickinson.
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