Ochila La'Eil
Hayes Biggs

Ochila laEil, for mixed chorus, horn and organ, was written in response to a commission from the New York City based Florilegium Chamber Choir and its conductor, Cantor JoAnn Rice. It was with considerable trepidation and humility that I embarked on my first attempt at setting Hebrew words to music. The text is taken from the Rosh Hashanah liturgy. At this particular point in the service the cantor, in a unique moment of turning inward, requests fitness of speech, in order to be made worthy to pray on behalf of the congregation.

—Hayes Biggs

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Hayes Biggs studied at Columbia University, Southern Methodist University and Rhodes College. He has enjoyed residencies, commissions and fellowships from the Composers Conference at Wellesley, the Tanglewood Music Center, Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Fromm Foundation, the American Composers Forum, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and Copland House. Since 1992 he has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and sings professionally in a number of choruses in the New York City area. Biggs' music is published by C. F. Peters Corporation, APNM, and Margun Music, Inc. He is a member of BMI.

Image: Aramaic amulet with a representation of the binding of Isaac. West Semitic Research Project, Moussaieff collection.

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