Allan Naplan

Allan Naplan maintains an active career as an arts administrator, composer and cantorial soloist.  Since 2013, Allan has served as Executive and Producing Director of Arizona Musicfest in Scottsdale, AZ.  Prior to this position, Naplan enjoyed a 20-year career in the field of opera, both as a performer (6 years) and administrator (14 years). Under his current leadership of Arizona Musicfest, he oversees all concert season programming and business operations of the acclaimed non-profit arts organization.  An accomplished musician, Allan has enjoyed a long career as a composer of choral music and solo repertoire, for both secular and religious settings. An award-winning composer, his works have been heard at Carnegie Hall, The White House, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in space on-board Space Shuttle Columbia (Mission STS-107) and in distinguished concert venues around the world.    As a cantorial soloist and composer of contemporary Jewish music, Allan’s settings of prayers and related texts have become popular repertoire for Jewish services and other cultural events.

Allan Naplan’s choral works have sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide.

Naplan’s first two choral works were published in 1994, while Allan was still a student at the Ithaca College School of Music.  These early works—Al Shlosha D’Varim and Hine Ma Tov (both published by Boosey & Hawkes)—remain as Naplan’s top-selling pieces, as well as two of the best-selling choral works in the children’s choral repertoire.

Naplan’s Al Shlosha D’Varim, originally composed for 2-part choir, has been performed at Carnegie Hall, The White House, Musikverein Wien (Austria) The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Musei Vaticani (Rome), Lincoln Center, Gran Teatre del Liceu (Spain) and many other distinguished venues.  The popular work is regularly featured on All-State and Festival choir repertoire lists.  In 2009, Boosey & Hawkes released Naplan’s SATB version of the work.  Originally commissioned by the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington Combined Choir, the 4-part version had its world premiere at Washington’s National Cathedral.  This setting has gone on to become standard repertoire for mixed choirs.

Soon after being released in print, Naplan’s Hine Ma Tov gained significant attention when it was programmed as the closing work of the 1995 ACDA National Honors Children’s Chorus concert in Washington, DC (Janet Galvan, conductor). From this early and high profile exposure, the work quickly became standard repertoire for children’s choirs around America, and ultimately around the globe.  Hine Ma Tov received national broadcast exposure when it was featured on Disney’s 6th Annual American Teachers Awards.  TV audiences heard it again as part of a 2013 ABC World News with Diane Sawyer report profiling the racial integration efforts of the Boston Children’s Chorus.  More recently, the work was featured in the 2002 Academy Award-nominated documentary SING!.  Published for SATB mixed choir in 2009, this work continues to be a popular repertoire staple for both children’s and adult choirs alike.

In the spring of 2001, Naplan was commissioned by the Texas Choral Directors Association to compose a piece for the 2002 TCDA Elementary Honors Choir (Joan Gregoryk, conductor).   A few months after receiving the commission, 9/11 happened.  Inspired by the reactions of Americans following the 9/11 tragedy, Naplan decided to compose a work which musically represented the coming together of America—a diverse population of individuals all unified in sympathy and strength.  Combining two patriotic works which are musically unrelated (different meters, dissimilar melody and rhythm) Naplan created An American Anthem, a blended setting of America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner.  On the early morning of January 17, 2003, An American Anthem served as the inaugural wake-up song for the NASA astronauts on-board Space Shuttle Columbia, Mission STS-107—the tragic mission which broke-up during its reentry into the earth’s atmosphere. This piece has since gone on to be performed by choirs and orchestras around the country. Notably, on September 11, 2011, an excerpt from Naplan’s An American Anthem served as the national anthem for the September 11th/Ground Zero 10th anniversary memorial event, attended by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

Naplan’s Al Shlosha D’Varim was a featured work at the Columbine High School memorial service in Littleton, Colorado, days after the 1999 tragic school shootings. This performance led to a commission to compose a piece for the one-year anniversary of the Columbine event. In May of 2000, the Young Voices of Colorado premiered Naplan’s Sim Shalom.

Naplan’s Schlof Main Kinda Yiddish lullaby was entered into the music archives of the United States Holocaust Museum in 1998. This piece is frequently performed in association with Yom Ha Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance) commemorations, as well as with the Violins of Hope, a rare collection of violins recovered from the Holocaust.  The orchestral version of the work debuted in February 2019 at Arizona Musicfest, as part of the Violins of Hope residency in Phoenix/Scottsdale.  Along with the Arizona premiere, the full work for SSA Choir and Orchestra has since been performed by choirs and orchestras at Washington’s National Cathedral, at Oregon State University, and in Los Angeles, as part of the LA County-wide Violins of Hope residency.

Naplan’s arrangement of Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem, debuted in 1998, on a series of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra concerts in celebration of “Israel@50” (Robyn Lana, conductor). During the year-long anniversary celebration, Naplan’s arrangement of the anthem was performed at a Jewish National Fund gala event before an audience including then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

For reasons still unclear to the composer(!), Shalom To You, My Friend, released in 1997, has become a hugely popular work for choirs in Asia.  Most frequently, the work is performed by school children and community choirs in South Korea and Hong Kong.  Many of the Asian performances of Shalom include choreographed dances for the singers. While some of the Asian choirs perform the work in English, Naplan’s lyrics have also been translated into both Korean and Chinese.  Additionally, translations of this work are also frequently performed in Spanish by choral ensembles throughout South America.

In 2002, Naplan’s ever-growing catalogue of published works increased with the release of Shiru, as well as an arrangement of Shalom Aleichem. The latter was included in a new edition of music textbooks published by the Silver Burdett company.

A frequently commissioned composer, in 2005 Naplan served as Composer in Residence for Keynote Arts’ Children in Harmony choral festival at Disney World, where his work, Let Me Know Beauty, received its world premiere.

A two-time winner of the Guild of Temple Musicians “Young Composers Award” for his settings of Mi Chamocha and Yitgadal, Naplan’s music has been featured as part of regional, national and international conferences and concerts of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Guild of Temple Musicians, the American Conference of Cantors, the Cantor’s Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and Hadassah.

Naplan’s Mi Chamocha and Ein Kamocha were featured in the Shabbat worship services and published songbooks of the URJ’s 2007, 2009 and 2019 Biennial Conventions.

Naplan’s We Celebrate Chanukah debuted at a 1997 concert of the Westminster Conservatory Youth Chorale at Westminster Choir College.  The work was later recorded for the ensemble’s 1998 CD titled “Celebrate Chanukah”.

In 2001 TARA Music released “Thank God Its Shabbat”, a CD of Shabbat service music, as performed by Hazzan David Propis and Allan Naplan at Congregation Beth Yeshurun (Houston, TX).  Naplan served as Artist in Residence for the temple for six years.  The TGIS CD contained Naplan’s original settings of Oseh Shalom and Shiru L’Adonai.

In 2014, Naplan’s arrangement of Kol Nidre and a second setting of Oseh Shalom debuted as part of High Holiday services at Temple Chai (Phoenix, AZ).  Naplan’s Hashkiveynu and L’cha Dodi also made their debuts at Temple Chai, where Allan can often be heard leading services.

Naplan’s With You As My Shepherd premiered at Congregation Beth David (San Luis Obispo, CA) as part of its 2017 High Holiday services.  Allan has served as High Holidays cantor for CBD since 2015.  His Yih’yu L’Ratzon and Gershon’s Niggun also received their premieres at this temple.

In 2022, Naplan’s work We Remember Them was published in Transcontinental Music Publications’ collection titled Mikraei Kodesh, Music for Life Cycle & Sacred Moments.  Since 2000, this work has become part of the annual soundtrack for Hospice of the Valley’s “Light Up The Night” Community Remembrance event in Phoenix, AZ.

Allan Naplan’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, Transcontinental Music Publications, Shawnee Press, Silver Burdett/Pearson Education, and Colla Voce Music and LeDor Publishing.

Naplan began his professional career as an opera singer.  In that capacity, he appeared with numerous opera companies around the US, including Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Nashville Opera, Sarasota Opera, Tulsa Opera and others.

Following his singing career, he spent 13 years as an opera administrator, serving in key positions with Houston Grand Opera (Assistant Artistic Administrator), Pittsburgh Opera (Director of Artistic Administration), Madison Opera (General Director) and Minnesota Opera (President and General Director).

Originally from Marblehead, MA, Allan Naplan now lives in Phoenix, AZ, along with his wife Christina Harrop and their sons Jonah and Elliot.