For many years, music was an abiding love but a professional sideline for Robert Applebaum, who taught physics and chemistry at New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL from 1965 until his retirement in June 2000.
As an undergraduate at the University of Chicago he composed scores for student-written musicals. His show music was featured in two professional revues, Six Ages of Man and Hands Around in Love, that played nightly in Chicago from 1964-1966. He began composing choral music for the Jewish liturgy in 1980 and has written three Sabbath services including one for choir and jazz trio. He has composed choral settings of many psalms as well as non-secular texts.
Professional, community, and children’s choirs throughout the country have performed Applebaum’s music. His music has received many premiers by Chicago-land choirs: the Chicago Children’s Choir, Kol Zimrah, Hazmir Chicago, the New Trier High School Winter Festival Choir, Coriolis, the Music Institute Chorale, Chicago a cappella,and the choir of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston.
Recent commissions include works for Chicago a cappella, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Libertyville, IL, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, Congregation Beth Elohim (Acton, MA), Sears Middle School (Kenilworth, IL), and Loyola Academy High School (Wilmette, IL). Chicago a cappella has included two of his Chanukah pieces on their 2002 CD Holidays Live! and three of his settings of Shakespeare texts on their highly acclaimed 2005 Çedille release, Shall I Compare Thee?
As a jazz pianist/composer he has three albums to his credit: Hora and Blue (with the Modern Klezmer Quartet, on the Global Village label, 1993), The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree (jazz piano duos with his son Mark Applebaum, on the Innova label, 2002), and Friday Night Jazz Service (2007).