Previous events

This page includes Jewish events covering 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2011-2012. Browse this website for details of my composing, arranging and writing about Jewish themes.

For information about my teaching of singing (along with videos and blog), go to Oxford Singing Lessons. For my teaching of  songwriting, go to Oxford Songwriting. And for information about my voicework, communication and personal development coaching (and blog), go to Authentic Voice.

2016Event details
2016Event details
21 February 2016

Jewish Music Fair

10:30am - Singing and Moving - Use gentle movement and gesture to embody personal and communal prayer, while we sing familiar prayers and verses to simple chants.

11:30am - Singing and Feeling - Taking the prayers we know and exploring the questions: What if I had made up these words myself, What if I had made up this music myself, How can I sing these familiar prayers and tunes in community so that they are shir chadash, a new song, every time?

3:10pm - Song Learning - Learn by ear some new prayer settings, chants and sounds that are filtering into communities in the UK and abroad. Music for many occasions in Jewish life, as well as more reflective moments. Bring your enthusiasm and a recording device (optional).

4.45pm - End of day Concert (one of several featured performers)

4 March 2016

London Ruach Chavurah

Kabbalat Shabbat - Cantorial leader and Dvar Torah (sermon) on Vayachel
13 March 2016, 8.20am

BBC Radio Oxford, with Charles Nove

Live - short interview and performing Yotzeir Or with Charles Nove on his Sunday morning programme "Music and conversation from the spiritual side of life".
14 March 2016, 7:30pm

UK Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) - Harris Manchester College, Mansfield Rd, Oxford OX1 3TD

Making music holy: connecting prayer, text and music - talk with live musical illustrations

Sacred music can delight us or express our deepest pain; soothe us or challenge and unsettle us; encourage complacency and unthinking habit, or inspire us to greater awareness and action; prompt us to respond like a consumer to music as a commodity, or to deepen our connection to sacred text, prayer, and the Divine. Learn how a contemporary composer can work with tradition, language and sound to create new vocal music for carrying kavanah - sacred intention.

16 April 2016

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial leader and community singing Elohai N'Shamah, Ashrei Yoshvei, Sim Shalom, Ana Eil Na, and Adon Olam No. 2
20 April 2016

United for Peace - Three Counties United Against Extremism - a service with readings interspersed with silent reflection and music

(By invitation only)

Representing the Jewish community, leading the singing of "And everyone ‘neath his vine and fig tree shall live in peace and harmony" (Micah 4:3)

This event is an initiative of The Oxford Foundation delivered in partnership with the Lord-Lieutenancies of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and the Oxford Diocese

21 April 2016

Interfaith, same-sex wedding - Somerset

First performance of two wedding songs: Kumi Lach and Libavtini achoti chalah.
4 May 2016

UK Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) - Oxford branch

Yom HaShoah Commemoration - two contemplative solos: I lift my eyes, followed by Nachamu, Nachamu.

Faith and fear wrestle in the human heart. Loss is real, and so is the chance for healing. Rabbi Benjamin Segal writes: “[Psalm 121] may … be one of the clearest indications of the nature of biblical faith. Trust does not erase doubt. The glass is first and foremost half full, but there is no attempt to hide the fact that partially, it is empty.” The ambiguity of this psalm is reflected in both the translation and the music. Nachamu, nachamu (Is. 40:1) means ‘be comforted, be comforted’. Why the repetition? The deepest and first comfort comes when grief is met with compassionate, wordless presence. There is a second kind of comfort, a healing, that can come, when we manage to embrace the ever-unfolding new possibilities of life, and accept that new growth and nourishment are attainable. The loss remains, but so also does hope.

20-22 May 2016

Men and boys weekend with the London Ruach Chavurah, for two boys coming up to their bar mitzvah.

Co-leading Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat and Saturday morning Shacharit services.
10 June 2016 (5-10pm)

Interfaith and International Vigil for Peace hosted by Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS)

With Prof Jonathan Bard (President, Oxford Jewish Congregation), co-leading 20 minute Jewish contribution to the Peace Vigil.

Alexander will offer a short dvar torah (teaching on the week's reading from the Jewish annual cycle), and then lead the singing of "And everyone ‘neath his vine and fig tree shall live in peace and harmony" (Micah 4:3)

18 June 2016

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial leading for Saturday morning davennen, including a dvar torah (teaching) on the Priestly/Aharonic Blessing.
2 July 2016

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial and music leader for Bar Mitzvah
15-17 July 2016

Annual Retreat of the London Ruach Chavurah.

Co-leading Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat and Saturday morning Shacharit services.

Leading an exploration of how prayer leaders can ensure group singing enhances, rather than interrupts, the prayerful experience of a service.

20 August 2016

London Ruach Chavurah

Leader of Saturday morning Shacharit service - including all music.
24 August 2016

Oxford Songwriters Meetup, 7.30-9.30pm, East Oxford Community Centre

'What makes a great songwriter?' - including learning about the 7 building blocks of a great song, and an overview of Alexander Massey's Oxford Songwriting syllabus.
26-28 August 2016

Cantor for interfaith marriage blessing (Jewish-Christian) at Villa Lario, Lake Como, Italy

The ceremony included my settings of Mi Adir and Y'varech'cha Adonai as well as my singing other songs, blessings and prayers.
7-8 September 2016

Branch Conference of UK Council of Christians and Jews

Evening solo performance for the conference delegates
25 September 2016

Oxford Songwriters Meetup, 7.30-9.30pm, East Oxford Community Centre

Finding a 'Big Idea' to Focus Your Song - In this meeting, we will look at two questions:

1. What is a BIG IDEA? (And how does it effect how you write your song, as well as the impact on the listener?)

2. What makes a good TITLE? (And how does it relate to your Big Idea, songwriting process, and impact on the listener?)

(This follows on from our last meeting, where we got an overview of 7 core elements of songwriting and the relationships between them: Big Idea, Title, Lyric, Melody, Harmony, Song Structure, Arrangement.)

3 October 2016

1st day Rosh Hashanah

Oxford Progressive Jewish Congregation

Cantorial soloist and music leader for Shacharit
4 October 2016

2nd day Rosh Hashanah

London Ruach Chavurah

Service leader and cantorial music leader for Mincha
11 October 2016

Yom Kippur (evening)

London Ruach Chavurah

Service leader and cantorial music leader for Kol Nidrei
12 October 2016

Yom Kippur (day)

London Ruach Chavurah

Service leader and cantorial music leader for Shacharit

Cantorial soloist and music leader for Musaf, Mincha, Yizkor and Ne'ilah.

5 November 2016

London Ruach Chavurah

Service leader and cantorial music leader for Bar Mitzvah at Shacharit.
2015Event details
2015Event details
3 January 2015

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial and music leader for Bat Mitzvah
21 February 2015

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial leading for Saturday morning davennen
27 February 2015

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Chaplaincy Team

Co-leading morning prayers, followed by leading a training seminar on 'Pastoral care in the Jewish tradition'
15 March 2015

Harrow Limmud

10am - Prayer in Slow Motion (1): Beginning the day with Elohai N'shamah - This prayer affirms the purity at the heart of each one of us. How can daily consciousness of this affect us? Make a deeper connection to this prayer, learn a simple tune for it, and how to use it as a regular personal morning practice, as well as a silent resource for moments throughout the day.

3:45pm - Prayer in Slow Motion (2): Ending the day with Hashkiveinu - What can we do at the end of each day, so that we go to bed ‘at peace’, and are ready to embrace what life brings us at the start of the next day? Make a deeper connection to this prayer, learn a simple tune for it, and how to use it as a regular personal evening practice, alone or with others.

28 March 2015

(Eynsham Hall, Oxfordshire)

Interfaith marriage blessing - Celebrant & cantor
30 March 2015

4th SOAS Interfaith Music Festival

Performing and co-presenting with Judith SilverDean Staker, and David Hoffman
11 April 2015

Oxford Progressive Community

Teaching on haftarah of Sh'mini - 2 Samuel 6:1-19 - King David returns the Ark to the Temple; the death of Uzzah
12 April 2015

Jewish Music Fair

10:30am - Prayer in Slow Motion (1): Beginning the day with Modeh/Modah Ani - This prayer puts God and gratitude at the centre of our awareness as we start the day. Make a deeper connection to this prayer, learn a simple tune for it, and how to use it as a regular personal morning practice, as well as a silent resource for moments throughout the day.

2pm - Introducing New British Music - This is a group of UK-based composers of Jewish music, formed to spotlight and develop our home grown talent and bring it into our communities and services. It first convened in October 2011 and has been meeting, gathering members and sharing songs since then. Join us to hear and learn some new British Jewish music from some of our group, if you are a composer yourself, you are welcome to come and find out more about the network.

4pm - Prayer in Slow Motion (2): Ending the day with Hashkiveinu - What can we do at the end of each day, so that we go to bed ‘at peace’, and are ready to embrace what life brings us at the start of the next day? Make a deeper connection to this prayer, learn a simple tune for it, and how to use it as a regular personal evening practice, alone or with others.

5pm - End of day Concert (one of several featured performers)

2 May 2015

50th Birthday Party (London)

Concert: Performing Holy Mountain (voice and piano) and Hashkiveinu (voice and guitar), as well as pianist partner for other performers.
4 May 2015

Thames Valley Limmud

Prayer in Slow Motion: Beginning the day with Elohai N'shamah - This prayer affirms the purity at the heart of each one of us. How can daily consciousness of this affect us? Make a deeper connection to this prayer, learn a simple tune for it, and how to use it as a regular personal morning practice, as well as a silent resource for moments throughout the day.

End of Day Performance to the full conference - "Alexander Masseywhose songs and nigunim have been filtering into Jewish communities in the UK, Continent, and USA, will perform a mixture of lively, thoughtful, fun and touching songs on Jewish themes."

15 June 2015

UK Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) - AGM and Annual Soirée of the Oxford branch

Solo lecture-recital

An unplanned extra to my diary, as the scheduled performers were unable to attend at the last minute, and I was asked to take their place at 30 minutes notice!

A performance of my songs and stories, accompanying myself on guitar and piano (but not simultaneously ...)

20 June 2015

Cambridgeshire

Interfaith marriage blessing - Celebrant and Cantor (Cambridge)
24-26 July 2015

London Ruach Chavurah Annual Retreat

FRIDAY

Facing the Future - co-leading session on 'end of life matters'

SATURDAY

1) Leading morning meditation and chant on Modeh Ani.

2) Cantorial and music leading for morning davennen

3) Evening duo recital (piano) with David Roth (violn, ex-member of the Allegri Quartet)

SUNDAY

Singing extracts from Lamentations (Eicha) for David Bash's interactive session on Tisha B'Av

14 September 2015

Oxford Progressive Community

Rosh Hashanah 1st day: Shacharit cantorial and music leader
15 September 2015

London Ruach Chavurah

Rosh Hashanah 2nd day: coleading and cantorial / music leader for Mincha
22 September 2015 - Kol Nidrei

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial soloist and music leader
23 September 2015 - Yom Kippur

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial soloist and music leader for all services
15 November 2015

Harwell, Oxfordshire

Leading prayers for Chanukat HaBayit (dedication of a home)
20 November 2015

Unicorn Group, Oxford

Making music holy: connecting prayer, text and music (talk with live musical illustrations)

Sacred music can delight us or express our deepest pain; soothe us or challenge and unsettle us; encourage complacency and unthinking habit, or inspire us to greater awareness and action; prompt us to respond like a consumer to music as a commodity, or to deepen our connection to sacred text, prayer, and the Divine. Learn how a contemporary composer can work with tradition, language and sound to create new vocal music for carrying kavanah - sacred intention.

Alexander Massey is a composer, singer (classical, opera, folk, jazz) and multi-instrumentalist, prayer leader, celebrant, creative liturgist and cantorial soloist for a number of Jewish communities, teacher and writer. He has performed, taught, been published and won composition awards internationally. Alexander’s interfaith work has included training teachers for The Association for the Teaching of Religious Education in Scotland; teaching the interfaith chaplaincy team of the Oxford NHS Trust; performances and compositions for the UK Council of Christians and Jews, appearances at the Portland Festival of Sacred Music, annual Interfaith Music Festival at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and the Jewish-Christian Bible Week in Germany. He was an invited by the Institute of Composing to join a panel alongside the composer and broadcaster Lord Michael Berkeley discussing the future of sacred music composition.

21 November 2015

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial and music leader for Bat Mitzvah
28 November 2015

Liberal Judaism UK, South West Regional Shabbaton, Swindon

10:20am Prayer Before Prayer: preparation for prayer through music and meditation - Waking up, thanking the Divine.
12 December 2015

Oxford Progressive Community

Co-leading Human Rights Shabbat davennen and music

Dvar Torah (sermon) on Miketz, Dreams, Chanukah and Human RIghts

12 December 2015Baby blessing - Welcoming a baby girl into the covenant

First performance of B'ruchah Haba'ah

2014Event details
2014Event details
26 Jan 2014

Oxford Unitarians, Harris Manchester College, Oxford

Sermon on Psalm 87Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), performing 'Holy Mountain' (Ps 87) and world première of 'I lift my eyes' (Ps 121)
23 Feb 2014

Jewish Music Fair

Making Music Holy – Connecting Text, Prayer and Music. How can new music illuminate text, enhance prayer, honour tradition and the search for holiness, and be accessible? Talk, with live examples of Alexander’s music, and a little singing along.

Introducing New British Music (with Judith Silver & David Hoffman)

26 April 2014

Oxford Progressive Community

Leading Shabbat davennen and music
10 May 2014

Oxford Progressive Community

Co-leading Shabbat davennen and music
11 July 2014

Oxford Progressive Community

Leading Kabbalat Shabbat
19 July 2014

Norfolk

Performance of my songs: Violin, Voice and Piano. With David Roth (Allegri Quartet)
25 Sept 2014

Oxford Progressive Community

Rosh Hashanah 1st day: Shacharit cantorial and music leader
26 Sept 2014

London Ruach Chavurah

Rosh Hashanah 2nd day: Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat, cantorial and music leader
3 Oct 2014 - Kol Nidrei

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial soloist and music leader
4 Oct 2014 - Yom Kippur

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial soloist and music leader
8 Oct 2014

Bulls Cross Ride Jewish Cemetery

Cantor (El male rachamim) for funeral
20 Dec 2014

London Ruach Chavurah

Shabbat cantorial and music leader
2013Event details
2013Event details
25 Jan 2013

Oxford Progressive Community

Shabbat Shirah (shabbat celebrating Shirat Hayam, the 'Song at the Sea') - Leading Kabbalat Shabbat
17 Feb 2013

Jewish Music Fair

Shira Britannia - UK Jewish composers showcase
28 Feb 2013

School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) London University

Interfaith Music Festival - solo performance
18 Mar 2013

Runner up in Oxford Today 2012-13 Music Composition Competition

My song Come Down, God was shortlisted in the competition. Oxford Today is a magazine for the University of Oxford’s 200,000+ alumni body.
13 Apr 2013

Oxford Progressive Community

Leading davennen and music
1 May 2013

University of the Third Age, Oxford

Living the Text, Living the Music: a layperson’s glimpse into a composer’s world - Talk with live musical illustrations
11 May 2013

Oxford Progressive Community

Co-leading davennen and music 
26 May 2013

Thames Valley Limmud

Sing-A-Gogue! New songs, rounds and chants for synagogue (singing workshop)
9 June 2013

Liberal Judaism Day of Celebration

Presentation on Sing-A-Gogue! books
12 July 2013

Movement for Reform Judaism Music Conference 2013

UK Jewish composers panel discussion 
5 Sept 2013 - 1st day Rosh Hashanah

Oxford Progressive Congregation

Cantorial Soloist 
13 Sept 2013 - Kol Nidrei

London Ruach Chavurah

Leading the service
14 Sept 2013 - Yom Kippur

London Ruach Chavurah

Cantorial Soloist
4 Dec 2013

Institute of Composing at Club Inégales (London)

The plight of sacred music: the blight of the mundane - Talk, followed by panel discussion, alongside Rolf Hind, Michael Berkeley, Stef Connor
22-26 Dec 2013

Limmud UK - Warwick University

1. Receiving the blessings of Y’varech’cha Adonai [Sun 12:00]

2. Prayer, text and music - What’s hidden in the prayers we thought we knew? [Mon 13:30]

3. The New British Jewish Songbook [Mon 14:50]

4. Making music holy (prayer, text, & music) – the challenge of creating new synagogue music [Tue 10:40]

5. Sing a New Song – group singing workshop [Tue 13:30]

2011 & 2012Event details
2011 & 2012Event details
Summer 2011Yotzeir Or and Bnei Mitzvah Nigun were published in Shirei Ha-t'fillot (‘Songs of Prayer’) by Reform Judaism UK, announced in the Jewish Chronicle (14 Jul 2011) and thought to be the first major new collection of synagogue music published in the UK for nearly a century (the last one being ‘The Voice of Prayer and Praise’ in 1914, commonly known as the Blue Book).
Autumn 2011Yedid Nefesh won an international competition run by Transcontinental Music (USA), the official publishing wing for the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ). The piece has been included in their prestigious Shabbat Anthology series. Others who have also been published by Transcontinental are Sol Zim, Debbie Friedman, Meir Finkelstein, Danny Maseng, and Josh Nelson. The compilation CD with the anthology includes Alexander singing Yedid Nefesh. Shabbat Anthology VI (with CD) was launched at the USA-wide URJ Biennial conference in Washington DC.
12 Jan-12 Feb 2012

Sydney, Australia

Writing sabbatical and teaching
8 Feb 2012 - Tu Bi'Shvat

Progressive, Conservative and Jewish Renewal Communities, Bronte Beach, Sydney

Singing, teaching & meditation
16 Mar 2012

London Ruach Chavurah

'Building the mishkan - building community' - Experiential session
17 Mar 2012

London Ruach Chavurah

Song performance with David Roth (Allegri Quartet) 
23 Mar 2012

Oxford Progressive Community

Leading Kabbalat Shabbat Music and Meditation
29 May 2012

Oxford, UK

Tenor soloist & premiere of SATB version of Ahavat Olam - Council of Christians and Jews - 70th Anniversary Concert
8 June 2012

European Academy for Jewish Liturgy

Dvar Torah - Friday night, Prayer Leaders' Retreat
9 June 2012

European Academy for Jewish Liturgy

Ma'ariv and pre-Havdalah meditation, Prayer Leaders' Retreat
20 June 2013

Oxford UK

Premiére of 'Holy Mountain', Council of Christians and Jews, 70th Anniversary
5-12 August 2012

Haus-Ohrbeck, Germany

'Modern Midrashic Melodies' - 44th Jewish-Christian Bible Week - Featured Solo Performer
16 Sept 2012 - Erev Rosh Hashanah 5773

Beit Klal Yisrael Liberal Jewish Community

Leading the music
17, 25, 26 Sept 2012 - High Holy Days 5773

Oxford Progressive Community

Cantorial soloist and music leader
28 Sept 2012

Temple Israel, City of New York

Performance by Cantor Sheera Ben-David of Shalom Aleichem & Shabbat Shalom (round)
24-25 Dec 2012

Limmud UK - Warwick University

1. Modern Midrashic Melodies - Songs and Teachings (performance with talk) [25 Dec, 2-3.310pm]

2. Sing-A-Gogue! New songs, Rounds and Chants for Synagogue (singing workshop) [24 Dec, 3.30-4.40pm]

3. The 21st Century British Jewish Songbook (presenting with David Hoffman, Emily Simon, Jess Gold, Judith Silver) [24 Dec, 12.20-1.30pm]