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The Jewish Music Institute Library at SOAS

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
The Jewish Music Institute Library of recorded and printed Jewish music is a valuable resource for musicians, scholars, the media, teachers and the public. To visit the library please contact the Head of Information Laoise Davidson on 020 7898 4307 for an appointment, or send an email.

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JMI books catalogued online at SOAS library website

Note: all books with the prefix jmi are to be found in the library of the Jewish Music Institute. (For looking up items other than in English language that may include diacritics and other scripts, please click 'View in Unicode' first and then do your search).

Read about the Inaugural Event in March 2003


A British Gateway to Jewish Music

The Jewish Music Institute Library is the first public library in Britain devoted to recordings, books, manuscripts, and scores of Jewish music. It covers a period from the middle-ages to the 21st Century and genres from folk and ethnic to liturgical and art music, including choral, cantorial, jazz, klezmer, Yiddish, Sephardi, Israeli and classical music.

Where is it located and who is it for?

The library is located at the Jewish Music Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square Campus, University of London. There are 117 nationalities amongst the students of SOAS and the Department of Music, which specialises in the musical cultures of the world. The Department of Music of SOAS has set up a full time lectureship in Jewish music. The Jewish Music Institute, an independent Arts organisation, running programmes in education, performance and information on Jewish music is also based at SOAS. The University Department of Music holds regular international conferences in Jewish music as well as annual Summer Schools and weekly practical classes in association with the Jewish Music Institute.

This JMI library and archive is available to music students and all students at SOAS for instance in the Departments of Near and Middle East, of Jewish Studies, of Hebrew and Yiddish languages and of Religions. It is also open to the general public by appointment. It collaborates closely with the SOAS Library. JMI expresses its gratitude to Mr Peter Salinger of SOAS Judaica collections and Miss Yoshiko Yasumura of the SOAS music library for their encouragement and assistance. JMI books are already on the SOAS library catalogue.

The Jewish Music Institute Library has connections with Jewish music collections in other parts of the world and will establish joint projects and share information with libraries in Paris, Pennsylvania, Boka Raton, Haifa, Jerusalem, New York and Washington DC.

The Jewish Music Institute Library is thus more than a library - it is also a growing, internationally available encyclopaedia, intended to become an essential source of information on historic and current activity in Jewish music. It is envisaged that this will eventually become a significant portal and key to finding Jewish or Suppressed Music, wherever it may be.

The Library holdings

Apart from commercial books and scores, and recordings on vinyl, old 78s and CDs, the library holds sound and video recordings of Jewish Music Institute and other concerts, broadcasts, and talks as well as concert programmes. It also has received the personal collections of significant British cantors, choirmasters and enthusiasts in many different fields of Jewish music such as the music of the Synagogue, of Eastern European Yiddish Culture, of the Sephardi diaspora and of the Land of Israel. In addition there will, in time, be an archive and online database dedicated to Music Suppressed by the Third Reich and other totalitarian regimes.

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last modified: 19 March 2007

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The Jewish Music Institute is an independent Arts organisation based at SOAS, University of London. It is an international focus bringing the ancient yet contemporary musical culture of the Jews to the mainstream British cultural, academic and social life. Its programmes of education, performance and information highlight many aspects of Jewish music throughout the ages and across the globe for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.