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JMI Newsletter No. 10
posted 09 October 2004

Libeskind, East West Dialogue and the Art of Cantor

From the Chairman
I was kept very busy with JMI this summer. I was especially proud to open our new School of Jewish Liturgical Music with a study week drawing 35 students from the UK Europe and
America, all eager to improve their skills of leading services in many traditions. I was also delighted to open the JMI Yiddish crash course and greet the 63 students (double the number we had last year). It was very special also to welcome the large crowd gathered at Regent's Park bandstand when we brought Klezmer resonating into London in August. We broke all previous records for creating the largest Klezmer band in the UK when Klezmer luminaries (usually only known from their CDs) taught 185 performers aged 6 to 86 (including me with a pair of maracas) a new klezmer tune. You can read about these programmes in this Newsletter.
I particularly welcome, as our Jewish Media Sponsor, the fine organ of the Jewish Community, the Jewish Chronicle. I heartily recommend that you consider a subscription to the paper to keep abreast not only of the national and international news of Jewish interest, but also to read about Jewish Culture. In-depth articles have appeared on the Cantorial Summer School, on studying Yiddish with JMI, and there was a whole page of delightful pictures of the Klezmer day in Regents Park which heralded the weeklong KlezFest that you can read about in this Newsletter.

My Mission
As you may know, my mission is to make sure that this great and useful work continues. It touches, even changes the lives of, so many. To do this we need adequate and regular funding. That is why I am appealing to each reader of this Newsletter to help me by making a donation to JMI to ensure that we can continue to make Jewish culture approachable and accessible to all. Sometimes, Jewish Culture seems to be at the bottom of everyone's agenda when giving. Of course health and welfare are important, and many people give to those causes. Surely you agree that our aesthetic needs are also important to cherish and nurture – specially in such a material and harsh world. Your contribution will make a difference to the preservation, and passing on, of a precious heritage - so please give as much as you can.

We will be pleased to receive donations of £10 (or more), those giving £25 or more will be made Friends of JMI for 2005. We will be delighted also to receive larger donations and to talk to you about sponsoring a JMI event or project for between £250 (lecture) and £25,000 (an orchestral concert). The future of the Jewish Music Institute depends on your support. I look forward to hearing from you and I hope to see you at many of our events in the autumn. As ever I am always interested to discuss any particular Jewish music project you may have in mind and to hear your comments and feedback on our activities. If you can't give right now, please consider leaving something to JMI in your will. It's a great satisfaction to think that you will be ensuring the passing on of culture from one generation to the next.
Walter Goldsmith, FCA
Chairman JMI

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Daniel Pearl Music Day - 'Harmony for Humanity'
8 -17 October

As the threat of terrorism deepens with never ending reports of hostage-takings and murders in the Middle East, it is sometimes hard to imagine that anything good and creative can come from such destructive atrocities. But the murder, nearly 2 years ago, of the kidnapped New York Journalist, Daniel Pearl, has been the catalyst for a world-wide musical event on an even greater scale than LiveAid. Around the world between 8 and 17 October (Daniels birthday) musical events and concerts under the framework 'Harmony for Humanity' will be dedicated to Daniel, who was himself a keen musician.

JMI is pleased to help promote four Daniel Pearl events in London. Show your support for the belief in creativity and music to counter hate and intolerance, and to help promote dialogue and mutual respect and understanding; come along to the following:

Monday 11 October: 'Taverna': The Spiro Ark together with many organisations presents a musical and culinary tour of the Mediterranean Basin against Prejudice and Terror with International Israeli, Greek, Turkish and Egyptian artists. 7.30pm at the London School of Business and Finance, Grosvenor Place, SW1 ( for tickets £50, Students £30. 020 7723 9991 spiroark [at]
Tuesday 12 October: Nomadica (Indie-Klezmer band sprung out of JMI's KlezFest) perform and jam with musicians from different traditions. 8.00pm at the Spiro Ark Yiddish Hoyz, Grays Inn Road, WC1. 020 7898 4307
Wednesday 13 October: She'koyokh Klezmer Ensemble (another JMI creation) perform 'From the Shtetl to the City' (presented by JMI as part of the Daniel Libeskind exhibition). 6.15pm —8.00pm at the Barbican Art Gallery
Free to same-day ticket holders for the Exhibition (£8 Concessions £6) 0845 121 6826 Thursday 21 October, Middle Eastern Harmonies: Rivers of Babylon in a Concert for Peace, 7pm St Ethelburga's Centre, 78 Bishopsgate EC2.
steve.alston [at]
See the Daniel Pearl website for more details and amazing events across the world

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Daniel Libeskind and Jewish Music

Daniel Libeskind

Four concerts of Jewish music presented by JMI to accompany
'Space of Encounter', exhibition of the architectural work of
Daniel Libeskind at the Barbican Art Gallery.

Daniel Libeskind has designed some of the most emotive buildings of our time. Steeped in narrative and metaphor his architectural vision marks a distinct departure from the bland commercial developments that have come to dominate many of our cities over recent decades. The Barbican Art Gallery honours Libeskind's extraordinary achievements with a major exhibition entitled 'Space of Encounter' which will run from mid September 2004 until 23 January 2005. What may be less widely known is that Libeskind originally trained as a musician before turning to architecture. Born in post war Poland in 1946, he emigrated with his family to Israel where he became a virtuoso performer on the accordion and piano winning an award from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. He and his family then moved to New York where he continued his music studies before switching to Architecture. For much of his early career Libeskind concentrated on teaching and writing. All this was to change when he won an international competition to design the much debated and exceptionally successful Jewish Museum Berlin.

This will be the first in-depth exploration of Daniel Libeskind's architecture since he rose to international stardom with the opening of this Jewish Museum Berlin five years ago. The exhibition will present sixteen major projects through an animated display of models, graphics, drawings, supporting text material, slide and film projections. One of the highlights of the exhibition will be a specially commissioned model of his competition-winning entry for the master plan to rebuild the World Trade Centre site in New York. Libeskind has repeatedly emphasised the ongoing importance of music as well as of his Jewish heritage to his intellectual and architectural vision. The Barbican exhibition curators wished to highlight this connection by inviting the Jewish Music Institute to present four concerts of Jewish music during this exhibition. The concerts take place on Wednesdays from 6.15pm —8.00pm and will include Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Liturgical and music suppressed by the Third Reich. Artists taking part areShe'koyokh Klezmer Ensemble (13 October) Lucie Skeaping and The Burning Bush (17 November) The Jewish Youth Choir and also Cantor Stephen Robins and the choir of Woodside Park Synagogue (in a Chanukah concert on 15 December) and the students of the Yehudi Menuhin School (12 January 2005) with a Holocaust memorial programme. The concerts are free to same-day ticket holders for the exhibition.

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First 'JMI Visiting Composer from Israel'

Menachem Wiesenberg to attend the Jewish Culture Day at the South Bank Centre Musical Dialogues of East and West. Menachem Wiesenberg, one of Israel's most acclaimed and versatile musicians, has been appointed 'Visiting Composer from Israel' by the newly formed Forum for Israeli Music of the Jewish Music Institute at London University. He was chosen for his wide range of accomplishments as a composer, arranger, pianist and educator and for the many styles that his music and his work encompass including classical, folk and jazz.

He graduated with a Masters degree from the Julliard School of Music and currently is head of the Jazz and Interdisciplinary Music Department and Senior Lecturer at the Academy of Music in Jerusalem. In addition, Mr. Wiesenberg is a Musical Advisor and Senior Instructor of the Young Musicians Group under the auspices of the Jerusalem Music Center founded by Maestro Isaac Stern. He has won many prestigious awards and has previously been invited to be Composer in Residence in Ireland, Italy and the USA. He himself has performed internationally and his music has been performed and recorded around the world. He has been commissioned to write works for Festivals in Europe and America. He is renowned for his arrangements of Israeli and Yiddish folk songs, and his interest in the folk music of his native land serves as a fundamental influence throughout all of his compositional activity.

Mr Wiesenberg will make his first visit to London on this Scheme in November 2004 where he will take part in a discussion at the South Bank Centre on Sunday 28th with other composers, on the impact of the meeting of Eastern and Western cultures, seen so clearly in the music and culture of Israel. Some of his music will be performed and he will be visiting music colleges and other
institutes to work with musicians and students.

JMI Forum for Israeli Music
While many international artists from Israel are widely known in the international arena, the music by composers in Israel is still unfamiliar in the UK and beyond. There is a vast output of music composed by successive generations of composers over the course of the history of modern Israel for all genres, which offers stimulating and enriching experience for musicians and audiences of all tastes. Unique to Israeli music is the particular symbiosis of East and West and the assimilation of elements from diverse traditions, the strands of Jewish traditions, Arab and Middle Eastern musics, with Western approaches. The Forum for Israeli Music was formed by a group of musicians and scholars in Britain interested in promoting the interpretation and appreciation of music in Israel in all its guises, through a variety of activities including concerts, workshops and courses, thus to enhance intercultural dialogue and understanding. The JMI Forum for Israeli Music is delighted to be presenting such an interesting and informative series of concerts and events at the South Bank and to have selected Mr Wiesenberg as its first Visiting Composer. More details can be found on his Website:
If you would like Mr Wiesenberg to visit your Institute or to discuss matters about the Forum for Israeli Music please contact Dr Malcolm Miller the Director JMI Forum for Israeli Music m.miller[at]

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Cantors in Concert

A joyous celebration of Jewish male-voice song on Monday 20
December, highlighting the Art of the Cantor with Musical
Director, Stephen Glass.

Stephen Glass
Stephen Glass

Never before will so many British Cantors have stood together on a stage to celebrate Jewish Male Voice Music and the beauty of the liturgy of the synagogue. This will be the first celebration and appreciation of the British Cantorate and the music of the synagogue on this scale. Stephen Glass, the Head of the JMI School of Liturgical Music, will be coming from Montreal to work with the cantors, creating a seamless blend of solo, duo and ensemble work. Stephen's vast knowledge, superb arrangements and compositions, his absolute dedication to synagogue music and superb, humorous and direct communication with singers have made him one of the most sought after accompanists and synagogue musical directors in the world.

Cantors taking part
Participating are David Apfel (Leeds)
Lionel Rosenfeld (Bournemouth)
Moshe Haschel (St. John's Wood),
Steven Leas (Great Portland Street),
Robert Brody (Kenton), Moshe Dubiner,
Gedalya Alexander, Lawrence Fine
(Belsize Square, retired), Nathan Gluck
(Munks), Adam Musikant (Lauderdale
Road), Stephen Robins (Woodside
Park), Geoffrey Shisler (New West End),
Yisroel Singer (Marble Arch)
Choirs that will perform include Shabbaton Choir conducted by Stephen Levey and the choirs of Woodside Park and Great Portland Street Synagogues. All the participants are donating their services to raise money for the Barry Weinberg Fund for Jewish Music, which since its foundation in February 2002 has funded two London choir Festivals, for adults and children; a School Choir's Festival; choral masterclasses and a Cantorial Summer School. Future plans include a Cantorial Winter School, (19-23 December and choral projects for children and adults in 2005. —a fitting legacy for Barry Weinberg.
'Cantors in Concert' takes place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Monday 20 December. It will an occasion not to be missed and tickets £19.50 - £12.50 are available from the Royal Festival Hall Box Office on 08703 800 400

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Study Jewish Music at Evening classes

For the first time one can study Jewish music every evening Monday —Thursday at SOAS London University from October. Each night there is at least one class: Mondays and Tuesdays Yiddish and Klezmer, Wednesday and Thursday Jewish Song and Practical Chazanut (The Cantorial Art). These classes are for professional and amateur instrumentalists and singers and those interested to know more about Jewish musical heritage and culture and learn the Yiddish language. Classes take place at SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG.

Klezmer classes
Klezmer classes continue as before on Tuesdays, from 7 to 9 starting on 5 October. Tutor Ilana Cravitz will focus this term on Eastern European Jewish dance music - khosidl, sher, freylekhs and bulgar. There will be opportunities to learn the dance steps at a Jam and Dance Session on a Sunday afternoon once a month —24 October, 21 November, 19 December —when there will also be an advanced class in the morning taught by Sophie Solomon, violinist of Oi-Va-Voi. At the end of the term (19 December), there'll be a seasonal social event where you can show off your new-found skills to your friends and family in a convivial atmosphere! Register with Laoise Davidson at JMI SOAS +44 (0)20 7898 4307 or email

School of Jewish Liturgical Music
Classes in this subject cover practical and historical aspects. On four Wednesday nights in November (only) Cantor Joseph Levine from Philadelphia, will be a guest lecturer and will impart his specialist knowledge on 'The Psalmodic Approach to Prayer Chant'. Cantor Levine, is a well-known specialist, tutor at the Academy for the Jewish Religion, New York and author of books on the subject.

Practical Chazanut and History of Jewish Liturgical Music
On Thursday nights Cantor Stephen Robins will start his Practical Chazanut course with the first of three terms focusing on the Sabbath service: prayer modes (nusach), congregational melodies (old and new) and cantorial recitatives. He will also offer one-toone or small group tuition in Voice Production, Sight Singing (learn to read music) and Cantorial Coaching. From January: Victor Tunkel will begin a course on the History and Development of Jewish Liturgical Music from biblical times to the present day. Students, men and women of all backgrounds are welcome to apply and every effort will be made to make each participant welcome and comfortable with their courses.

See here for more information on JMI courses and classes

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Did you get your Naches from your Nusach?
Laoise Davidson appraises the first JMI Cantorial Summer School

Cantor Arie L Subar (Montreal) and Cantor Lionel Rosenfeld (back right) and Cantorial Summer School leaders Stephen Glass and Josee Wolff (front right) with students at the first JMI Cantorial Summer School


2004 will be remembered as the year that JMI set up its School of Jewish Liturgical Music. It kicked off with the first ever Cantorial Summer School in June, at SOAS University of London. Almost from the outset this school broke records with attendance double the expected intake and for the broad range of participants, men and women, setting off on a spiritual quest together. School Director Stephen Glass, originally from the UK, but now working as Musical Director of one of the largest synagogues in Montreal, brought Cantor Arie L. Subar from that city to teach the nusach as used in the orthodox community. They were joined by Cantor Josée Wolff from New York, who is a cantor and teacher in the progressive movement. Cantor Alberto Mizrahi from Chicago, and Cantor Lionel Rosenfeld from Israel, London and Bournemouth, completed the International faculty from different traditions, who came to teach nusach, congregational melodies and the cantorial art.
Most of the students, from the UK as well as from Europe and America, were actively involved with leading services in their congregations, and some simply had an abiding love of and interest in the music of the synagogue. Miraculously, they managed to look at the entire year's services in just 5 days. The best part came on the fourth day when the class covered Yom Kippur. Students and teachers alike felt the disorientation of hearing the Yom Kippur Nusach and repertoire, but without the hunger pangs. The course, which was welcomed by Dr Alex Knapp, the Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music, on behalf of the Department of Music at SOAS and also by Reverend Malcolm Weisman, the Chief Rabbi's minister for Small Communities and Chaplain to HM Forces, was a great success - but don't take my word for it. Here is what some of the students themselves had to say:
'it was fantastic - rejuvenating and inspiring. Lots to think about and a huge amount to put into my davening.' (Traditional orthodox Background)
'Highly enriching. Bringing people together with this interest who have a common goal of wanting to do it better.'(mainstream orthodox)
'Very stimulating. I davened the Friday night service on the day after the course, and it was probably the most spiritually uplifting davening I have ever done. (Intensely orthodox background - traditional/progressive in practice).
I was uplifted [it was] like a spiritual sauna/snow experience (Lapsed Catholic - Closet Satmar)
And from a progressive female practitioner, 'It was certainly challenging! To Stephen, a heartfelt thank you for making such a direct connection between the music and the divine, while being such a straightforward, humorous, alive, and sympathetic communicator. I have put some of his wise words into practice already in the service. To Cantor Subar, thank you for the magnificent singing, the expertise with Nusach, the jokes, and the realistic approach I am full of my Jewishness since the course! I felt really attached to my Jewish history and culture during the week; it was very moving.'

See here for more information on JMI courses and classes

Cantorial Winter School, 19 —23 December
If you would like to learn the art of the Cantor, in the relaxed and inclusive atmosphere of JMI and the University of London, but missed the course the first time round, don't worry, Stephen Glass and his team will be back in December 19 —23 to run our first Cantorial Winter School. Stephen will also conduct the biggest celebration of the British Cantorate (20 Cantors in Concert) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 20 December (see listings). See you there.

Weekly classes in Practical Chazanut starting October 2004
If you just can't wait, there will be regular weekly classes in practical chazanut led by Cantor Stephen Robins, starting mid October on a Thursday night and in addition, specially for the month of November guest lecturer Cantor Joseph Levine from Philadelphia, who teaches at the Academy for Jewish Religion on New York will teach a course each Wednesday night on 'The Psalmodic Approach to Prayer Chant' For details see here

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International Forum for Yiddish Culture (IFYC) strides ahead
Since the launch of our International Forum for Yiddish Culture at the House of Commons just over a year ago in July 2003, there has been a hotbed of interest and activity in Yiddish. Drama has been served with a rehearsed reading of a scene from an Anski play, directed by the TV and stage actor and comedian David Schneider at SOAS and Anna Tzelniker joined by Warren Mitchell was the focal point of a commemoration in the East End of the 60th anniversary of The King of Lampedusa– the Yiddish play that ran and ran at the Grand Palais from December 43 to July 44. For the first time the play has been published in Yiddish, in transliteration and in translation. (Available from JMI for £12.50 plus postage and packing – Anna's autobiography can also be purchased from JMI for £20 + p&p). for more information see here

A London Home for Yiddish activities
Most significantly, a home for Yiddish activities has been realised. A Yiddish supporter offered a marvellous space on a short-term basis and thus The Spiro Ark Yiddish Hoyz, in Grays Inn Road WC1 swung into existence with a joyous Yiddish New Year's Eve Party on 31 December last year. It is furnished with chairs and tables and we have been loaned a lovely Bechstein piano. It is ideal for small events, (up to 120 people) and if you would like to use it for a function, do contact The Spiro Ark on 020 7723 9991. There we have also established a wonderful Yiddish library, with books from South Africa, Britain, America and Argentina. If you have Yiddish books to donate or would like to join the Yiddish Book Club, please get in touch. This year the Hoyz has been the venue for a Yiddish Third Seder devised by Friends of Yiddish Chairman, Chaim Neslen (filmed by the V & A Museum), an all day Festival of Yiddish literature organised by David Mazower, and a Yiddish Cabaret, co-ordinated by Khayele Beer of UCL who is the Yiddish studies Director of IFYC.

Yiddish Literature Festival
Britain's most distinguished Yiddish literary specialists were brought together, by Yiddish Theatre historian David Mazower, for a day-long celebration of this rich and vivid literature with a unique Jewish perspective on life. Leading critics and translators introduced the life and work of famous writers many of whom settled or sojourned in the East End of London. Subjects included Gluckl of Hameln and the Yiddish Civilization of Ashkenaz by Paul Kriwaczeck; Yiddish in South Africa: Between Zionism and Apartheid by Dr Joseph Sherman of Oxford; Itsik Manger in London by Dr khayele Beer (University College, London) Leyb Rashkin's Novel of 1930s Warsaw: Discovering an Unknown Yiddish Literary Masterpiece by Dr Dafna Clifford (Oxford); Jewish Mystical Motifs in Isaac Bashevis Singer's Novel The Magician of Lublin by Dr Haike Beruriah Wiegand (London) and Esther Kreitman's Stories of Whitechapel and Warsaw by The afternoon session concluded with a tribute to the poet Avrom Nokhem Stencl (1897 - 1983) - the last major Yiddish writer from London's East End, with contributions by Majer Bogdanski (London), Dr Heather Valencia (University of Stirling), Barry Davis and Derek Reid (London).

'The First (and Last) Lady of Yiddish Theatre'
Malcolm Miller wrote of this event: Anna Tzelniker, enthralled a large audience with her magnetic stage personality. Her sparkling anecdotes and recollections of seventy years on the English and Yiddish stage (some drawn from her autobiography Three for the Price of One) were spiced with the three essential ingredients of the genre, 'A Song and a Laugh, with a Tear'. A scintillating reading of a Yiddish poem about the Hessel Street Jewish Market formed a worthy homage to her father, the renowned actor Meyer Tzelniker, illustrating his 'love affair' with London's East End. The highlight was a powerful, passionate characterisation of the 'Queen Lear' heroine from Mirele Ephros by the Russian-Yiddish playwright Jacob Gordin, which attained tragic nobility in the final lament for her lost husband. After this 'tear' we were treated to 'a laugh and a song' in the form of Yentle the Matchmaker from Fiddler on the Roof. In the original production, Anna Tzelniker played alongside all four Tevye's (including Topol and Alfie Bass) and recalled with a glint in her eye, “they were all best in their own way!” We heard about the miracles which kept London Yiddish theatre alive during its volatile history, including the smash hit The King of Lampedusa in the 1940s (recently revived for its 60th anniversary by the JMI) and the formation of a touring company which closed in the late 1980s. Since then Tzelniker has championed the revival of Yiddish, and here made an urgent appeal for support of a new Yiddish Theatre Fund to ensure its future survival. Aptly, her own dynastic continuity was emphasised in the stylish piano accompaniment of her daughter Ricky Barnard, while in the second half younger interpreters performed under the coordination of Khayele Beer, Yiddish lecturer at UCL. Yiddish expert Barry Davis's heart-rending soliloquy 'A Gafalener Shtern' (A fallen star) by Peretz Hirshbeyn, in which an actor recalls his heyday, brought a veritable lump to one's throat, and there was plenty of nostalgia too in Yiddish theatre songs sung with panache by Hilda Bronstein and Laoise Davidson with the present writer at the piano, and by folk singer Judith Silver who elicited audience participation in such favourites as the evergreen 'Roshinkes mit Mandeln'. With Anna Tzelniker once more on stage, the rousing finale 'Ale Brider' concluded on a suitably optimistic note of Yiddish camaraderie'.

Klezmatics party
In May, hosting a weekend with the famous Klezmatics band from New York was an extraordinary thrill for London Klezmorim. This event inspired a great write-up in the Jewish Quarterly by Rachel Lasserson, one of our most excited fiddlers. Resumes of this, and other events can be read in the JMI spring Newsletter now on the JMI Website More events are being planned for the coming year.

Yiddish Theatre Fund and Society

Yiddish Greenhorns
by Mick Rooney

Having lost one of our greatest Yiddish actors, Bernard Mendelovitch, this year, we were all stirred to find a way of preserving and bringing this special form of Yiddish culture and make it accessible to future generations. A Special Yiddish Theatre Fund was launched at the Yiddish Cabaret with an impassioned speech by Anna Tzelniker. There is also a Yiddish Society you can join, called to keep abreast with what is going on. This is also a reminder of the web address to find out more about Yiddish classes, events, publications and activities.

Ot Azoy! JMI's Yiddish Crash Course August 2004

An Appreciation from Professor Gideon Shimoni, Jerusalem:
We were the only Israelis in the Ot Azoy Yiddish crash course of August 2004; my wife, Toni, in the intermediate and I in the advanced course. Writing this appreciation a few weeks later, we are still feeling elated by the experience, sporadically breaking into Yiddish conversation. Our background knowledge was not the same. I had spoken Yiddish as a child and, as a university student and later professor in the field of modern Jewish history (at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem), had occasion to read many Yiddish texts. But my speech was very rusty, I had never attempted to write, and I hadn't a clue about Yiddish grammar. Toni had never spoken Yiddish but completed a beginner's course at the Hebrew University way back in the 1960s. Yet, we were equally excited by the Ot Azoy course, which, although only of one week's duration, revived and enhanced whatever residues of vocabulary, syntax and speech -- not to speak of songs -- still lay hidden in our conscious and subconscious minds. Not the least appreciated was our meeting with 60 other enthusiastic pupils from so many countries. But most valued by us was the exposure to the beautifully articulated Yiddish of our teachers, Khayele Beer, Peysakh Fiszman, Sonia Pinkusowitz accompanied by the lovely Yiddish singing of Shura Lipovsky. Their infectious love of Yiddish and the cultural heritage it conveys admirably complemented the friendly teaching methods they deployed, and all with remarkable effect, given the very brief span of teaching hours at our disposal. Any doubts I harboured, as one who is himself a teacher of sorts, about the value of a 'crash' course have been dispelled. This experience has proven that it works just fine -- ot azoy! A hartzik yosher ko'akhto the Jewish Music Summer Schools programme.

See here for more information on JMI courses and classes

KlezFest and Ot Azoy! - JMI Summer Programmes 2004
By all accounts this was the best year ever. 63 students enrolled for Ot Azoy!, twice as many as last year, and 120 students - a full compliment came to KlezFest. In line with our mission to serve the local population, half the participants were from the London area, another quarter from other parts of the UK and the rest from Eastern and Western Europe and as far afield as Israel, Canada and Brazil.
What the students particularly liked was the structure of the courses and the outstanding quality of the teachers.

Here are some of the comments from the students themselves: Comments from students
A wonderful celebration of music, dance and beautiful people. I was overjoyed to find the angle of the course coming from a place of Intelligent soulful, benign idealism expressed in our beautiful Jewish way. It has been both hugely nourishing and extremely hopeful to meet people that are doing this work in the world. (Ami Lee, Devon)

Intense, demanding, rewarding, surprising, bemusing, entrancing, moving, welcoming, informing, dancing (Peter Verity, Edinburgh)

Delving deeply into the manifold traditions and approaches that klezmer is, the realisation dawns that it is not so much a language exclusive to one community, but more an international voice that belongs to all. Connections between what I learn as a klezmer musician and what I do as a classical musician are constantly developing and my approach to my music correspondingly broadens. So thank you to KlezFest for moments of inspiration and joy, and thank you to everybody who makes it possible and helps it run in such a successful way. (Neyire Ashworth, London)

KlezFest was a comprehensive introduction to klezmer music that I found inspiring and was a fantastic opportunity to meet the top musicians in the field, something a beginner rarely has the chance to do!' (Kathyrn Greenhalgh, Reading)

' KlezFest was quite a magical experience. I so liked starting the day with dancing. Now I go around the house singing and I'm not a singer. I'm really excited about all the things I've learnt, I just wish I had more time to practise them.' (Jenny Dearn, Woodford Green)

KlezFest and Ot Azoy! 2004 were sponsored by a grant from the
Heritage Lottery Fund in order to preserve Yiddish culture and
make it accesible in an exciting environment to a new generation.

Dates for KlezFest and Ot Azoy! 2005 and 2006
Please diarise these so you can plan ahead.
KlezFest 2005 Sunday 10 to Friday 15 July
Ot Azoy! 2005 Sunday 17 to Friday 22 July
Ot Azoy! 2006 Sunday 6 to Friday 11 August
KlezFest 2006 Sunday 13 to Friday 18 August
To find out about these and weekly classes Tel 020 8909 2445 or e-mail or watch this website

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Krekhtsim of the Heart
Nancy Metashvili, newly arrived in York UK, via Alaska describes her feelings about KlezFest 04

Members of She'koyokh Klezmer Ensemble on the bandstand at Regent's
Park on the opening day of Klezfest

The pain in my danced-out oysgematert (worn out) knees is receding, the aching shoulders and wrists are a happy memory, and the frantic freylekhs that spin through my mind are slowing (though Merlin's haunting tish nign (table song) still ghosts around in my deepest heart). My Klez soul, mayn yiddishe neshama, has been refreshed with such verve, panache and an intensity that is rather rare in my jaded life.
Like a nign, words fail...
It was the 2004 London KlezFest, and the stars of the Klezmer world were gathered, once again, teaching and living the music and dance traditions of the Jews of Eastern Europe. Merlin Shepherd was there, and Alan Bern, Michael Alpert, Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Strauss, Stuart Brotman, Christian Dawid, Sanne Moericke, Josh Dolgin, Sophie Solomon, Jon Walton, Shura Lipovsky, Adrienne Cooper... so many folks I know only from a CD. Sing brider sing, fergessen alle tsuris (Sing brother sing, forget all sorrows) One could have been summering in the Catskills in years gone by, or celebrating a wedding in your shtetl village. Fiddles and accordions, clarinets and piccolos leading us in joyous dance, always the music spiralling upwards to a frenetic pitch, sweat splashing, fingers flying, feet stamping- joy in being Jewish (or not, as were several of the attendees); joy in being lovingly, laughingly, kvetchingly, (can't translate really, means kind of grumble) hungrily soul-brimmingly alive!
Oy, the schedule was so full: dance classes starting at – yes! – 9am, followed by lectures, hands-on classes, instrumental workshops, ensembles, choir, masterclasses, dinner, performances by fellow students ' Klezmer; the Next Generation' and then MORE DANCING – until the last train home. Singers, dancers and musicians had gathered from all over the world. There were Russians and Czechs, Belgians and French, one Brazilian, a Scotsman with a santouri and a big Turkish drum, a gorgeous chachem from South Africa, 3 foxy Irish chicks representing the Yiddish Gaeltacht, and folks from Persia, Germany and North America. There was an elderly violinist whose heritage was Iraqi Jewish brought up in Burma, Baghdad and Israel. There were lots and lots from London. There was the young and talented 'Brat Pack', classically trained, and at the other end of the time line, a fabulous 86 year old lady in a bright pink cowboy hat, bangles to the elbows, singing away in the choir and able to converse in English, Russian, Yiddish, Polish, Hebrew etc. And there was the ubiquitous British Punkette in yellow polka dot tights, green top and purple micro mini skirt, Bowler hat and loads of Tattoosshlepping around a cello in an artwork of stickergrafitti case.
The weather was hot and sticky, but ah, what a glorious mishegass it all was! To play the music I love so much, get to sing my heart out, dance like a dervish laughing like a little kid at Purim; there's Michael Alpert playing with his infatuation with the deep ethnomusicological meaning of 'hokey-pokey' and it's application to real life. 'That's what it's all about'. There's solidarity, intimacy, arrogance, virtuosity, bandaged feet, Truth, comedy and Pain - There's Polina Achkenazi-Shepherd, as graceful as a Russian woodsprite Merlin's humour and drive, the dour Stu Brotman surprising us occasionally with a tsimbl solo to echo down eternity, Jeff Warschauer, my favourite mandolin player since my Mum.
My ensemble, directed by Michael Alpert (bless him, he still raves about Alaska) sang and played soulful Carpathian Shabbes shabbes shabbes songs…. Totally unexpected was the lady from Prague, whose blindness and lack of English had left her a bit isolated, wandering around with that goofy one-with-god look the unsighted can have... when she took the stage her voice exploded like the Big Bang, rich deep and powerfully expressive. I suspect mine were not the only eyes with tears in them.
But the heart-stopping highlight for me had to be the unassuming chubby woman in a wheelchair who took the stage and started singing a bland and average set - and somehow we all ended up in a parallel musical universe as she belted out Holly Near's 'Rise Up': I ain't afraid - of your Yahweh - I ain't afraid - of your Allah - I ain't afraid - of your Jesus - I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God!
Everyone in the room was on their feet, electricity zinging wildly. I ain't afraid – clapping, wailing, writhing, I ain't afraid - get down - shout it - feel it - shake it. Rise up – hair crackling - eyes glowing - hearts united, Rise up, to your higher power, Don't let the letter of the law kill the spirit of your love.
Yes, mes amis, that's exactly what we should do, rise up. It was a good KlezFest.
Zay gesunt, Nancy (Alaska, via York, UK)

See here for more information on JMI courses and classes

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Franz Schreker Exhibition in Vienna

Franz Schreker, (1878-1934) is virtually unknown in the music world today. Yet in the 1920s he was arguably the best known and most eagerly anticipated composer in the world. With 'Der Ferne Klang', 'Die Gezeichneten', 'Der Schatzgräber' and 'Irrelohe', he was one of the leading opera composers of his generation. His use of dramatic material would anticipate cinema and his seductive sound-scapes were legendary and opened perspectives that were only developed decades later by the likes of Witold Lutoslawski and György Ligeti. As the writer of his own libretti, he was able to illustrate the many themes of a world in transition. The Jewish Museum in Vienna will highlight Franz Schreker in the third of its groundbreaking exhibitions on music entitled 'Franz Schreker: Border Crossing, Sound Frontiers' This follows the 2002 exhibition on the Jew in the Musical City of Vienna that went on to New York and the second on two 'Continental Britons - The Émigré Composers' Hans Gal and Egon Wellesz. JMI ICSM would like to bring to Britain, this exhibition on two outstanding figures who contributed so much to British musical life and is seeking a suitable venue, partner and funding for this project.
Born in Monaco, the son of a Czech Jewish Court photographer and a mother from the Austrian Aristocracy, he was able from an early age, to understand the contradictions and stresses of an Empire in decline. The young pupil of Robert Fuchs and Arnold Rosé first rose to prominence in Vienna as a conductor (among his premieres was Schoenberg's Gurrelieder) and teacher (his students included the composers Ernst Krenek, Karol Rathaus and Alois Haba and the conductors Jascha Horenstein, Josef Rosenstock and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt).

Not only was he a popular and highly regarded composer, but in 1920 he was appointed director of the Berlin Academy of Music, which under his leadership became the worlds pre-eminent conservatory. In 1933 he fell victim to the Nazi purge of Jewish officials and died of a stroke shortly thereafter. Schreker's life and works are thus divided between fin-de-siecle Vienna and the Berlin of the Weimar Republic making his biography a cultural history of two of the most dynamic epochs of the modern era. The exhibition opening this autumn at the Jewish Museum in Vienna co-curated by Head of the Franz Schreker Foundation, Dr Christopher Hailey, offers a unique glimpse of music and opera on its collision course between Jugendstil in Vienna and Neuer Sachlichkeit in Berlin, between Romantic and Modern. Curator of the Exhibition, the JMI ICSM Research Director Michael Haas, says 'It also deals with the situation of Austria's Jews and their rapid assimilation during the years between the birth of Schreker's father in 1834 and their subsequent persecution by the Third Reich by the time of Schreker's own death 100 years later in 1934. For the first time, scores, sets and costume designs from historic performances, autographs as well as personal documents and photos will be displayed'. An audio-guide of Schreker's works with readings from his correspondence will accompany the exhibition as will a catalogue, priced at 29.90 euros published by Mandelbaum Verlag, including two CDs (ISBN 3-85476-133-3). Hopefully after this major exhibition the name and music and Franz Schreker will once more enter the consciousness of the music world, which will give a further glimpse of how music was developing in the early 20th Century.

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Mátyás Seiber Centenary 2005

The Hungarian-born composer Mátyás Seiber (1905–60) was a major influence on the musical life of his adoptive Britain. The centenary of Seiber's birth falls on 4 May 2005, and a number of concerts, publications and recordings are planned to mark the event.
Seiber was born into a secular Jewish musical family living in Budapest. After excelling at school, he studied with Kodály at the Liszt Academy. In 1928, he was appointed lecturer in composition at the Hoch Conservatorium in Frankfurt, where his innovations included the first course in jazz. With the rise of Hitler, he left Germany and settled in London, where he lived from 1935 until his premature death in a car accident while on a lecture tour in South Africa, on 24 September 1960.
In England he gained a reputation as a teacher of music and composition and Michael Tippett invited him to teach at Morley College, also training his choir, the Dorian Singers, who performed many of his choral pieces. He also taught from home, in Caterham, Surrey, where he moved after marrying Lilla Bauer, an émigrée dancer with the Ballet Joos.
Many rising young composers were numbered among his students, and his many musician friends included the percussionist Jimmy Blades, the Amadeus Quartet, the folklorist Bert Lloyd and the composers Luigi Nono and György Ligeti. His style initially reflected the Hungarian nationalism of his teacher, Zoltán Kodály, but gradually expanded its frame of reference to embrace an entirely personal, lyrical use of dodecaphony. His compositions encompass choral music as well as chamber music. He also continued his interest in Jazz. Perhaps his best-known composition was the Joyce-inspired cantata Ulysses (1946–47). He also composed film music for some innovative Halas & Bachelor animations, including Animal Farm, and for two Australian movies, A Town Like Alice and Robbery Under Arms.
He was a co-founder, in 1942, of the Society for the Promotion of New Music, and was prominent in other British musical institutions. His premature death in 1960 was commemorated by memorial pieces by Kodály and Ligeti. Mátyás Seiber's centenary provides a timely opportunity to encourage interest in his music. His Violin Sonata was performed at the JMI IFSM 'Continental Britons – The Émigré Composers' concert series in the Wigmore Hall in 2002 and is available on the CD of that name, performed by the violinist Nurit Pacht and pianist Konstantin Lifschitz (Nimbus NI 5730/1). There is lots more wonderful music waiting to be rediscovered. A website – – has been set up to commemorate the centenary. It contains a fuller biographical note as well as a list of suggested works for performance next year – and beyond. Most of his scores are now in the British Library and there is a link to this catalogue. The site also lists the events already planned (and it will be updated as required). These include a 'themed' event at Morley College, with concerts, film and a lecture, accompanied by an exhibition of memorabilia and music. There are also concerts planned in Glasgow to accompany the launch of Professor Graham Hair's book on Seiber, who will also be editing a collection of his writings. The three string quartets, in performances by the Edinburgh Quartet, will be released on the Meridian label, and the Ensemble Europe is recording a further CD of chamber music for Hungaroton. Interest in performing Seiber's works has been expressed by the Cheltenham Festival, Frankfurt and other places. There will also be events in Budapest and at the Kodály Institute.
The site also contains details for further contacts. More ideas for events and links will be welcome. Go to for the latest information or telephone +44/0 1223 506064 for more details.

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New Library Collections: Gottleib, Freeman and Alman

Photograph taken in about 1894 of Yankl Gottlieb (1852 - 1900) with his travelling choir including his three sons - who all became cantors and also including Isador Freeman and the coachman

Victor Tunkel describes three important archives deposited in the Jewish Music Institute Library Following the recent deposit of the Emmanuel Fisher archive, the JMI collection has recently acquired three further archives of original documents, recordings and memorabilia, each significant for the history of synagogue music in this country.

The Gottlieb Archive
Jacob Hayim Gottlieb (1852-1900), was born in Trastanyetz, near Odessa. Better known as "Yankel der Heizeriker" on account of his husky-voice, he was a travelling cantor, celebrated throughout Jewish Russia from his base in Bielo Tserkov. He is the reputed composer of the well-known Hasidic schluss-kaddish, sung everywhere on the High Holidays at the end of services. The archive has been donated by Yankel's great-niece, Mrs Adela Lassman and her family. It had already been helpfully worked on by his grandson, the late Dr Isaac Gottlieb, himself an accomplished part-time cantor. Isaac identified some of the unnamed compositions and did a partial index. In 1977 he published a volume Hakol Kol Yaacov of select pieces from the manuscripts. The archive consists of manuscript volumes: Yankel's own choir books; choir settings by his son David Gottlieb, cantor in Ungvar/Uzherod (then in Slovakia, now in Ukraine); and an edited compilation from these by Isaac Gottlieb, seemingly in preparation for his 1977 publication. The famous kaddish is included but in a four-part version rather different from the one now generally sung. The content of all the volumes is mainly settings for sabbaths and festivals, and the high holidays. A photograph of Yankel with his travelling choir, taken in about 1894, includes his three sons (all of whom became cantors), Isidor Freeman, and their coachman.

The Freeman Archive
The Freeman archive consists of personal papers, musicological studies, music manuscripts and one 33rpm gramophone record. Isidor Freeman (1881-1966) who sang as a boy with the Gottliebs, came to this country at the beginning of the 20th century. He was for a while second cantor at St John's Wood synagogue before being appointed cantor in Liverpool at Hope Place and then at Greenbank Drive following the amalgamation of those synagogues.
Freeman was all his life a tireless advocate and enthusiast for the spreading of the knowledge of Jewish music, lecturing and publishing articles. At a time when scientific research into Jewish musicology had hardly begun, he wrote several articles identifying the various elements in an effort to "reclaim Israel's ancient musical culture". In the light of all the studies since then, his ideas and analyses may seem somewhat simplistic, but in their time they must have been influential in stimulating his readers to appreciate and explore the subject. He pressed repeatedly for a Londonfestival of Jewish music; it took more than half a century to happen. He remains an interesting and admirable figure in the history of the study of Jewish music. The record in the archive is of the memorial service held for him in March 1973 and includes his voice from older recordings.
The whole collection has been donated to the JMI by his granddaughter, Mrs Angella Carne.

The Alman archive
Samuel Alman (1878-1947) was the dominant figure in Anglo- Jewish synagogue music in the 20th century. Born in Sobolevka, he came to England in 1903, continuing his musical studies here. He was a prolific composer and arranger of settings of the liturgy, of Hebrew and Yiddish folk songs, of music for strings and for organ, and a Yiddish grand opera, King Ahaz, performed in London in 1911. He was for many years choirmaster at the Great Synagogue and at Hampstead, and founder-director of the Halevy Choral Society. His compositions for these have entered the repertoire of choirs throughout the Jewish world.
The archive includes much of his printed and published music; some unpublished manuscripts, the score and orchestral parts of King Ahaz, personal documents, letters, press cuttings and photographs. There are also a number of 78-rpm records, which belonged to Alman, featuring him as composer, conductor or accompanist. Some are private recordings made in England, Germany or Russia in the 1920s and 1930s that must be unique or very rare survivals. It is hoped that these can be reproduced as CDs and made available. The archive has come down through Alman's two nieces, Gertrude Hardie who died last year, and Clara Alman.
The JMI is very grateful to the donors of these archives, which will help to establish the Institute's collection as a centre for research. A project of researching the development of Anglo- Jewish synagogue music is being set up. Anyone wishing to participate, or with any relevant material, should please contact the library on 020 7898 4307.

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CDs, Vinyl and Videotape…
Laoise Davidson surveys what's new in the Jewish Music
Institute Library

Did you know that the JMI library, based at SOAS, is free to use and you can borrow books and CDs, up to 6 items for 6 weeks? All you have to do to join is come in and register by giving your name and contact details. The JMI sound archive and book collection includes music from six areas of Jewish Music, Ashkenazi (Klezmer and Yiddish song) Sephardi song, Israeli and Middle Eastern music, Liturgical music, Western Classical music with Jewish connections, and we also have a collection of music by composers, banned, exiled or murdered by the Third Reich. We also provide a home for Jewish interest records, especially humorous 78's and LPs – remarkably preserving Jewish culture and humour of the 20th Century – the things that your grandparents (or parents) found funny!

In each Newsletter I will be highlighting some of the new acquisitions in the Library. Among our most recent and exciting acquisitions are the three collections of memorabilia, recordings and sheet music from distinguished cantors and choirmasters: Gottlieb, Freeman and Alman, described in detail in the article by Victor Tunkel, who met the donors and has assessed the collections for us.
Our existing CD collection covers all types of music with a Jewish flavour. To demonstrate the breadth of scope of our collection I have selected a few to give you a taste - no easy task with over 600 CDs to choose from:

Max Stern: This contemporary Israeli Composer, who attended our last International Conference on Jewish music, has sent us recordings of works set to Biblical texts including 'Haazinu' Cantata for Contrabass and Orchestra (1898) based on 'The Song of Moses' (Deuteronomy 32).

Alberto Mizrahi: Festival Delights. Known as the 'Jewish Pavarotti' Mizrahi performs selections from the Jewish holiday services accompanied by the Choir of his synagogue the Anshe Emet in Chicago.

Schreker: Die Gezeichneten. This opera, based on “the tragedy of the ugly man” derived from an Oscar Wilde story, was performed to huge acclaim in 1918, however its composer fell victim to political and musical developments between the wars and after being thrown out of his job as the top composition teacher at the Berlin Hochschiule for music, died in 1934 of a stroke at the age of 56. This is just one of a series or 25 CDs, produced for Decca by Michael Haas, our Research Director of the JMI International Centre for Suppressed Music.

Sarband: Sephardic songs in the Hispano-Arabic tradition of medieval Spain. This collection of songs performed by musicians from the UK, Turkey, Bulgaria and Lebanon, demonstrates the links between European music, Islamic and Jewish musical cultures.

The Baghdaddies: Last Tango in Babylon. For something completely different, a UK band which started out in the 90's mixing Klezmer with gypsy, Jazz and Reggae.

Alejandra Czarny: Bajo Las Blancas Estrellas. Canciones en Isdish. Yiddish songs, sung with a fresh, haunting and compelling voice accompanied by world-class musicians Cesar Lerner and Marcelo Moguilevsky.

Even if you do not know what you are looking for, I would be pleased to help you. You can listen to items in the Library to try before you borrow. Please phone or email me to make an appointment to come into the Library and browse some of our incredible collection of CDs, songbooks, text books, LPs, 78s, videos and more. Tel 020 7898 4307. Email: info[at]

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Continental Britons - The Émigré Composers

Two CDs of music recorded during the summer of 2002 at JMI IFSM Wigmore Hall series were issued on Nimbus Records at the end of February. Timed to coincide with a major exhibition in Vienna regarding the life and work of Viennese Composers Egon Wellesz and Hans Gál, who fled to Britain, these recordings add valuable recorded repertoire of music in the early part of the 20th Century. The CDs include as well as Gál and Wellesz, music by Peter Gellhorn, and Vilem Tausky who were both present at the concert and both died earlier this year. Other featured composers are Franz Reizenstein, Matyas Seiber, Berthold Goldschmidt, Leopold Spinner and Karl Rankl. There is vocal music performed by the young Baritone Christian Immler accompanied by Erik Levi; violin and piano works performed by Nurit Pacht and Konstantin Lifschitz, with viola obligato by Paul Silverthorne as well as wind and mixed chamber works performed by Frankfurt's famous Ensemble Modern.

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Cantor Charles Lowy: The Lost Recordings (and Book)

Cantor Charles Lowy

This autumn sees the release of the 6th CD of Jewish Music Heritage Recordings. This is of lost (or rather, recently found ) recordings by Rev Charles Lowy, who was the much loved cantor of the Hampstead Synagogue. He was a modest man who, uniquely for his profession, shunned the concert stage, preferring to devote his talents to the synagogue. That might go some way towards explaining why these remarkable recordings lay in a box in his garage for decades without anyone else even knowing they were there. Recorded over forty years ago, the selections include Cantor Lowy's celebrated Sheva B'rochos recorded at London's Hampstead Synagogue in 1960 during the wedding ceremony of Dudley Cohen, founder and erstwhile choirmaster both of Hampstead and the Zemel Choir. Also discovered were renditions of three compositions by the cantor's late grandfather Oberkantor Làzàr Löwy, who served the community in Pápa, North-West Hungary, as chief cantor for 40 years.
With the aid of modern studio technology the original recordings have been 'cleaned up' in a careful process designed to avoid compromising either the integrity or the beauty of the original performances. The CD is a treasure and it is very special to have retrieved some more recordings by one of Britain's most respected cantors.
Charles Lowy was born in Pressburg, Bratislava, in 1911. He studied in the religious seminaries of Galanta and Tselem, finishing up at the renowned Chatam Sofer Yeshiva in Pressburg. In 1937, he took up an appointment at Munich's Reichenbach Synagogue, while studying music and voice production at the Trapp Conservatory. He subsequently became chief cantor in Szolnok, Hungary, and later served at Budapest's Rombach Synagogue, and as assistant chief cantor at the magnificent Dohány Street Synagogue. In 1947, after an arduous period of forced labour during the war, he was appointed cantor of the Queens Park Synagogue in Glasgow, Scotland, before joining the Hampstead Synagogue in London where he served as cantor for 28 years, retiring in 1987. He passed away in July 1998.

Also found and published by his family are Cantor Lowy's own stories of his life during the Hitler Era. In this slim volume, called In and Out of Harmony, Cantor Lowy transforms what was a horrific period of European life into 23 gentle, anecdotal tales of when the world went mad, told in a soft minor key. The flashes of humour and irony serve both to relieve his story and underline the darkness of the clouds that gathered around him, as well as to suggest to the reader how his spirit survived its time of trial.

See here for more information on how to purchase the CD and the Book.

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Candlelit Concert at Bevis Marks Synagogue (4 December)
Launch of Sephardi recording project

The Spanish & Portuguese community has always taken pride in its musical heritage and has a unique collection of tunes, with special melodies for almost every occasion. JMI is pleased to be associated with a candlelit concert at Bevis Marks Synagogue featuring selections from the repertoire of the Spanish & Portuguese Jews' Congregation of London. It will be performed by Adam Musikant, Honorary Cantor of Lauderdale Road Synagogue, and a specially selected choir. The concert also serves as the launch for the first of a series of CDs of this repertoire, preserving this music for the future. Adam, with the backing of the Sephardi Centre, was able to initiate and mastermind a timely project of collecting, transcribing and recording these melodies using old recordings, previously published and un-published sheet music and almost illegible choir books. The music has for the first time been written down for tunes that previously were only transmitted orally. There is now sheet music for definitive versions of all the songs. And a studio recording has been made of this rich body of music that was in danger of disappearing and being forgotten.
All who attend Bevis Marks on 4 December at 8.00pm will surely enjoy an emotionally uplifting evening. See listings for booking details. The CD will be on sale on the night at the introductory price of £10. Candlelit Concert at Bevis Marks Synagogue (4 December) JMI is offering Newsletter readers a special opportunity to purchase both the CD and the book. The CD normally £12.50 will be on offer @ £10 (until 31 December 04) and the book, usually £8 for £6.50. As a package you can have the book and CD for £15.00 (all plus postage and packing). Contact Jewish Music Distribution: orders [at] or telephone 0800 7811 686 for this and all your Jewish music recording or sheetmusic needs. For those who cant attend the concert, you can purchase the CD @ £12.00 plus postage and packing through Jewish Music Distribution: orders [at] or 0800 7811 686

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Phoenix from the Flames - The Jews of Europe rise from the ashes

Laoise Davidson reports on representing JMI at the 3rd General Assembly of European Jewish Communities in Budapest Nearly 60 years after the end of the Holocaust and the almost total devastation of the European Jews, I was honoured to spend a weekend in Budapest to witness the re-unification of European Jews at the 3rd General Assembly of European Jewry, 20th —23rd May, 2004. It was a heart-warming experience, to witness Leaders of Jewish community and cultural organisations from Eastern European countries that had recently joined as part of a greater Europe, meeting their Western European counterparts to unite as “European Jewry”. It was apt to have the event in Budapest; a culturally alive city, it is also a city of contrasts, divided in the middle by the River Danube, on one side Buda - majestic, palacelike buildings proudly sitting on a green-clad hillside, while on the other Pest - a low-rise city-scape with walls and roofs blackened from years of heavy industry. 1000 Jewish Delegates from 40 countries poured into the Conference, which was held in the Intercontinental Hotel on the bank of the Danube. Safety was taken care of with Israeli security officers and iron gates protecting the conference areas. There were numerous sessions to choose from throughout the day with discussions and presentations given on subjects including Education, Jewish Community Centres, Culture and Heritage, Social Welfare and Fundraising.

I was asked to make a presentation on behalf of the JMI and British Jewish Cultural organisations on the rise of Yiddish culture in the UK in the Culture and Heritage Track. Among the other speakers in this track were Lena Stanley-Clamp from the JPR (Jewish Policy Research) who looked at the rising interest in Jewish Culture across Europe, Karen Sarhon from Istanbul who talked about the threats facing Sephardic culture in Turkey, Hungarian writer and poet Gabor T Szanto who delivered some harsh words on what appeared to be all Jewish political ideologies and Jonathan Webber who provided a well illustrated insight into the work involved in preserving Jewish heritage sites in Europe. For the plenary sessions all 1000 delegates managed to squeeze into the large hall, which was well equipped with several translator booths feeding streams of live translations into hightech earphones. The third plenary session was particularly colourful with delegates looking at the challenges and threats to Jewish life in Europe and a lively outburst from the Israeli Ambassador. While most speakers seemed to concentrate on rising anti-Semitism, the threat of terror from Islamic groups and difficulties facing Israel, Henry Grunwald, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was one of the few who looked at changes happening in Europe and how these could be potentially useful to Jewish unity and stability. There were several highlights of the weekend including the party on the boat travelling up and down the river entertained by some local Klezmer bands and the veteran Israeli performer Yoram Gaon, or to the strains of music from the ages, from 50's rock to currently trendy dance music. There was also a Shabbat walking tour of the old Jewish quarter and the ghetto, including a visit to the second largest synagogue in the world. I also managed to fit in a quick trip to the Holocaust exhibition which illustrated in horrific photos taken by Nazi officers, the plight of so many Hungarian Jews. This reminded me more than anything, of how far we have travelled in the last 60 years!

Muwashshahaat: International Conference and Concert:
Arabic and Hebrew strophic poetry from the Middle Ages to the present day, at SOAS, 8-10 October 2004

Entitled 'The Muwashshah: Arabic and Hebrew Strophic Poetry and its Romance Parallels', this conference brings together an international panel of professors of Arabic, Hebrew and Romance studies. Their subject: the roots and origins of the song form known as the “muwashshah”. The song form (pronounced moo - wa - sha - haat) has a 1,000- year history in the Arab world. It began life in Arab Andalus c. 960 CE, and by the 12th Century was eagerly taken up by the greatest Jewish poets of the 'Golden Age', writing in Hebrew. Among them Moshe Ibn Ezra and Yehudah Ha-Levi. A sign of education, wit and distinction, the muwashshah form celebrates the sharing of cultures between Arabs and Jews in the Middle Ages.
The conference website is
Free Concert Saturday 9 October of Arab, Jewish and Romance songs from the Middle Ages to the present day at Brunei Gallery Theatre, SOAS.

JMI at Potsdam Conference
JMI Director, Geraldine Auerbach was invited to present a paper on the Jewish Music Institute at the University of Potsdam. This was part of a conference looking at the New Jewish Music School which started in St. Petersburg in 1908, Composition students inspired by Rimsky Korsakov were encouraged to research the folk music of their culture and bring it into the concert arena. Papers were given by representatives of various institutes, including the Theological Seminary in New York. A longer article on this Conference, written by Malcolm Miller will appear on this website.

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What Remains to be Seen - Art & Political Conflict.
Views from Britain Israel Palestine & Northern Ireland,
Compiled and Published by Multi-Exposure
Book Launch Thursday 11 November

How is it possible that art has been made and exhibited in Ramallah during one of the most brutal periods in recent Palestinian history? How do Israeli artists who have always believed in a peaceful future for Israel see their state now? Is all art 'political'? And if so, what are the implications of this? This richly-illustrated collection is a mix of visual and written works joined by their shared commitments to and criticallyrefreshing relationships with the many ways in which contemporary art might confront the diverse issues that traverse the political conflicts of the Middle East and Northern Ireland. What Remains to be Seen thus reveals the intricacy of contemporary art's engagement with the politics of both nationstates and 'everyday life', while also subtly offering alternative ways through which we might reconsider our relationships both to art and one another. Multi-Exposure is joined for this book launch on Thursday 11 November by Exiled Writers Ink who will be launching a book of poetry and prose from Muslim-Jewish-Arab writing workshops. entitled Across the Divide' The launch taks place at 7.30pm at Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research, Stanhope House, 2 Stanhope Place, London W2 2HH [nearest Tube Marble Arch] Guest speaker: journalist and BBC Foreign Correspondent Lyse Doucet, presenter of BBC world service's Talking Points

To purchase the books see the websites of
www.multiexposure. com
Multi-Exposure is a member of the Building Bridges Forum facilitated by JMI where several artists and arts organisations have got together to share their experiences and activities in Building Bridges between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East and Jews and Muslims in this country.
See the website

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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.