Marsha Bryan Edelman studied at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where she earned degrees in general music, Jewish music, Jewish studies and education. She spent many years teaching music in a variety of formal and informal settings, to students ranging in age from 2 – 92. Much of her career was spent at Gratz College, in Melrose Park PA, where she was Professor of Music and Education (as well as Dean for Academic Affairs for nine years); she is currently an Adjunct Professor of Music in the Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In addition to her teaching, Marsha has also written extensively on the nature and history of Jewish music; her book, Discovering Jewish Music (Jewish Publication Society, 2003; paper, 2007) continues to impress as an accessible one-volume introduction to the breadth of Jewish musical history from the Bible through the 20th century. She has also had an active career as a musician, conducting, arranging and producing the music for several recordings, and arranging choral selections that have been performed by a variety of ensembles. She is the Founding Conductor of HaZamir Philadelphia, a chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, as well as the conductor of Lashir, the (adult) Jewish choir of Princeton, NJ and of Shirah: The Community Chorus of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades.
Marsha has also served in a range of musical and managerial roles for the Zamir Choral Foundation. A singer in the Zamir Chorale since 1971, she also served as the choir’s business manager for several years. Becoming a member of the Board of Directors of the Zamir Choral Foundation, she served as Treasurer and later as President. She assumed her role as Administrator of the Foundation in 2004. Marsha has supported Matthew Lazar in his creation of the North American Jewish Choral Festival since its inception.