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Biography of Bob Applebaum

For many years, music was an abiding love but a professional sideline for Bob Applebaum, who taught physics and chemistry at New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL, from 1965 until his retirement in June 2000.

While an undergraduate at the University of Chicago (1959-1963) he composed the scores for three student-written musicals as well as for two professional revues, Six Ages of Man and Hands Around in Love, that played nightly in downtown Chicago from 1964-1966. In 1980, he began composing choral music for the Jewish liturgy. Since then Bob has written three complete Sabbath services, including one for choir and jazz trio. Bob has composed choral settings of many psalms as well as non-secular texts. E.C. Schirmer, Opus Music and Transcontinental Music publish several of these pieces.

Professional, community, and children’s choirs throughout the country have performed Applebaum’s music. Since 1999 his music has had frequent performance at the annual Zamir Foundation North American Choral Festival, His work has been featured on many programs of the New York City women’s a cappella ensemble, SHE. In 2000, the Chicago Children’s Choir performed his setting of V’ahavta at the White House.

Many Chicago-area ensembles have premiered his music: the Chicago Children’s Choir, Kol Zimrah, Hazmir Chicago, the New Trier High School Winter Festival Choir, Coriolis, the Music Institute Chorale, Chicago a cappella, and the choir of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston.

Recent commissions include works for Chicago a cappella, the Children’s Cantate, Orland Park, IL, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Libertyville, IL, and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City, IA, New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL, Congregation Beth Elohim, Acton, MA, Sears Middle School, Kenilworth, IL, and Loyola Academy High School, Winnetka, IL.

Two of his Chanukah songs have been included on the 2002 Chicago a cappella album Holidays a cappella Live! Three of his settings of Shakespeare texts are included on Chicago a cappella’s acclaimed 2005 Çedille release Shall I Compare Thee?

As a jazz pianist, Bob has three albums to his credit: Hora and Blue (with the Modern Klezmer Quartet, on the Global Village label, 1993), The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree (jazz piano duos with his son Mark Applebaum, on the Innova label, 2002), and Friday Night Jazz Service (2007).

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Bob can be reached by e-mail at

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