Women of Valor (Version for Chamber Ensemble)

chamber version for soprano, mezzo-soprano (1 or 2), narrator, violin, percussion and piano (2000)

Study Score

by Andrea Clearfield


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Andrea Clearfield’s "Women of Valor" is a celebration of women from the Hebrew Bible, inspired by a midrash, where each line of Proverbs 31 represents a biblical woman, but redefined in contemporary terms.

Video Credit: Stephen Burr, SeeHearStudios.com
Album Cover Artwork: Louise Clearfield

Musical excerpt from the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony’s performance of "Miriam" from Andrea Clearfield's Women of Valor at the Gindi Auditorium, American Jewish University, Los Angeles, on April 30, 2017. Featured soloists: Grammy award-winning soprano Hila Plitmann, soprano Rachel Reich Freed and mezzo-soprano Phyllis Fleschler. Dr. Noreen Green, conductor.

Women of Valor by Andrea Clearfield

Anne Slovin, soprano
Michael Gaertner, piano

April 14th, 2018
Auer Hall
Jacobs School of Music
Indiana University


69 min


April 16, 2000,
Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Hila Plitmann, soprano
Gail Dubinbaum, mezzo-soprano
Valerie Harper, narrator
Los Angeles Jewish Symphony / Noreen Green, artistic director


Commissioned by The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, Noreen Green, artistic director


soprano, mezzo-soprano, narrator, violin, percussion, piano


Alicia Ostriker
Marge Piercy
Rivka Miriam (translated from the Hebrew by Linda Zisquit)
Robert Friend (translator of "Rachel" from the Hebrew)
Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael
Sandy Sahnin
Roza Yakubovitsh (translated from the Yiddish by Kathryn Hellerstein)
Isidor Lillian
Ellen Frankel
Andrea Clearfield

Program Notes

(Excerpt from full program notes)

Women of Valor is a celebration of women from the Old Testament. The cantata was inspired by a midrash (biblical commentary) on Proverbs where each line of the biblical text from Proverbs 31 represents a biblical woman. Women of Valor highlights the stories of Sarah, Leah, Rachel, Jocheved, Miriam, Hannah, Jael, Michal, Ruth and Esther. The hour-long work is scored for soprano and 1 or 2 mezzo-soprano soloists, narrator and symphony orchestra. It was given its world premiere in Los Angeles on April 16th, 2000 by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony under the direction of Dr. Noreen Green and was favorably reviewed in the Los Angeles Times. Soloists were Hila Plittman, soprano and Gail Dubinbaum, mezzo-soprano, and the narrator was noted television actress Valerie Harper. The performance was sponsored by Hadassah Southern California, who created educational programs around the work. A story on Women of Valor was broadcast nationally on NPR’s All Things Considered in April, 2000. “Ruth’s Aria” was awarded First Prize in the Classical Category of the American Jewish Music Festival 2000 Competition. The chamber version of Women of Valor is scored for soprano and mezzo-soprano soloists, violin, Middle Eastern percussion, piano and narrator and has been performed at the University of Pennsylvania as part of the international colloquium “Jewish Biblical Interpretation in Comparative Context” sponsored by the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and at numerous synagogues. “Hannah’s Prayer” (“Prayer”) for soprano, harp and string orchestra has been performed at the Liacoras Center in Philadelphia at the Opening Ceremonies for the National Maccabi Games in honor of the Munich 11 athletes and was also performed in the fall of 2001 in Beverly Hills as a memoriam to those who died on September 11, 2001. “Jocheved” is arranged for women’s chorus and has been performed in England, Germany and the U.S. by the Lady Chapel Singers and is published in the Episcopal Church Hymnal Supplement “Voices Found: Women in the Church’s Song” by Church Publishing. The arias from Women of Valor are also arranged for voice with piano accompaniment. The Lehigh Valley Orchestra presented the East Coast premiere of Women of Valor in January, 2004 in Allentown, Pennsylvania sponsored by the Jewish/Christian Institute for Understanding, and an arrangement of the work for chamber orchestra was performed by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony in March, 2004 with celebrity narrator, Laraine Newman.

–Andrea Clearfield