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It comprises an impressive collection of books, sheet music, 78s, CDs, tapes and scores covering Jewish music from the middle-ages to the 21st century and spanning all genres including choral, cantorial, jazz, klezmer, Yiddish, Sephardi, Israeli and classical music. The library includes the personal collections of significant British cantors, choirmasters and enthusiasts in many different fields of Jewish music such as the music of the Synagogue, Eastern European Yiddish culture, the songs of the Sephardi diaspora and Israeli music. In addition there will, in time, be an archive and online database dedicated to Music Suppressed by the Third Reich and other totalitarian regimes.
The library is kept at the JMI in SOAS and is open to all SOAS students. It is also open to the general public by appointment. You can search the JMI Library using our Keynote online search engine by clicking here.
If you would like to visit JMI to use the library or to discuss bequesting a collection to the JMI please email JMI’s Administrator or call the JMI Office on 0207 898 4307.
The JMI is in the process of digitising its extensive collection of rare 78s and other vinyl recordings in collaboration with the Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire in the US. For an online archive of these, visit the DJSA (djsa.dartmouth.edu)
The library was inaugurated in March 2003 by Dr Christian Meyer, Director of the Schoenberg Institute, Vienna at an event hosted by JMI Presidents Lady Solti and Leopold de Rothschild. The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell MP, expressed her support:
‘Jewish music traces the development of a race with a recorded history of some 4000 years and one that has occupied just about every quarter of our inhabitable world. As a musical form it has a richness and variety that can hardly be equalled anywhere else. It is music that spans the spiritual and secular worlds of the Jewish people – from the cantillation of the scriptures to the joyous folk tunes played at family gatherings and celebrations. It is a form that gives meaning to Jewish identity and that has helped to sustain that identity throughout some of the darker days of world history. Indeed, music is a strong thread that helps to keep alive the link between the traditional and modern Jewish worlds. I see one of the library’s roles as helping to strengthen that link and to maintain the coherence of the Jewish communities across our country. But, more than that, I hope the library can play a full part towards what I believe is our growing interest and understanding of the diverse cultures that do so much to enrich the fabric of modern Britain. May I extend my warmest congratulations to all concerned on the opening of the new Jewish Music Library and my particular thanks to all those that have made it happen’.