Frederick Piket

Composer of synagogue music

Frederick Piket was born in Hungary, and received his formal musical education in Europe. He was a successful secular music composer and conductor for several decades before turning to synagogue music composition. Piket spent his childhood and early career in Europe, and immigrated to the United States in 1940, at the age of 37. His interest in synagogue composition began after taking a position as an organist and as music director of the White Plains Jewish Community center in the early 1950’s.  Subsequently, Piket worked as a composition instructor at Hebrew Union College, and served on the faculty of the Hartt School of Music and New York University. Piket valued original self-expression over a collective historical approach in his synagogue compositions. He questioned strict adherence to synagogue modes, or nusach, and instead preferred a simple, direct and personally expressive style.