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Passages: Abraham Kaplan, renowned choral conductor and longtime UW Music faculty member

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on September 16, 2023 - 6:35pm
Choral conductor Abe Kaplan

Read complete obituary in the Seattle Times

Abraham Kaplan, affectionately known to most of his family and friends as "Kappy," passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by loved ones in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, the 6th of September, 2023.

Born in Israel before the founding of the country, he followed in the professional footsteps of his father, Shlomo Kaplan to become a renowned choral conductor.

Kaplan came to America in 1954 to study at The Juilliard School. Soon after graduation, he was invited to join the Juilliard faculty as Director of Choral Studies, a position he held with distinction from 1961 - 1977.

During his time at Juilliard, Kaplan conducted professional choruses and formed a long-lasting musical collaboration with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, and with the Park Avenue Synagogue.

In 1977 he relocated to Seattle and directed choral studies at the University of Washington. He later became an associate director for choral activities of the Seattle Symphony.

As a composer, Kaplan's most famous composition was his oratorio, Glorious, recorded with the Camerata Singers in 1973. A full list of his recordings and sheet music can be found on his website (

He also published a college textbook, Choral Conducting, and his professional memoirs, Splendid Encounters.

Kaplan loved teaching almost as much as he loved music. Along with his family, he is survived by the thousands of music students with whom he felt a deep and loving connection through music.

He is survived by his two sisters, Tzfira and Yael; his son, David and daughter-in-law, Melora, his daughter, Dafna and her partner Nick, his son, Michael and daughter-in-law Denise; his four grandchildren, Liam, Eva, Casey and Dylan, and his two step-grandchildren, Sophie and Stella.

Services were held privately in Tel Aviv.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Seattle Food Bank, The School of Music at The University of Washington, The Juilliard School and The Academy of Music at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.