JMI Newsletter No. 2
Menuhin Tribute Edition, Autumn 2000
In the few months since its launch in March the Jewish Music Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London has been extraordinarily busy. Its main thrust has been the Tenth London International Jewish Music Festival sponsored by London Jewish News, which was part of the British Millennium Festival Celebrations with a grant from the Millennium Commission. JMI was honoured to have had Lord Brittan open the Festival at Sadler's Wells, saying that what was exciting to him was 'the very special combination of immense musical variety with the common bond of the link with the Jewish experience throughout the ages.'
Platforms for intensive activity
JMI has already set up several platforms to encourage activities in different areas of Jewish music and each one has proved fertile ground for extremely successful events, which were incorporated into the Festival. The JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music, with Michael Haas and Erik Levi at its helm, presented the first international conference (with concerts), on music suppressed by the Nazis. It focused on the composition students of Franz Schreker in Berlin in the 1920s. The BBC has taken a great interest in the idea since then and many new programmes are being developed. A publication is being planned. The JMI Forum for Young Contemporary Jewish Artists led by Josephine Burton and Jonathan Walton helped to crystallise and launch YaD, the independent organisation run by and for young artists in order to explore and celebrate their Jewish roots. YaD's highly successful inaugural event took place at the Rhythm Factory with art works, film, music, dancing and drinks as part of the Festival. YaD also co-hosted two Festival jazz evenings at the Union Chapel. The JMI Forum for Promotion of Israeli-Arab Dialogue Through Music, headed by Adel Salameh, Palestinian oud virtuoso, and Dr Sara Manasseh, Iraqi-Jewish music expert, put on a workshop and concert on Middle Eastern music. The South London Forum for Jewish Music is inclusive of all communities South of the river and mounted Eden to Sinai, a community pageant from creation through revelation to redemption. JMI is in discussion with several other individuals and organisations to facilitate promotion and knowledge of Jewish music. The British Society of Practitioners in Jewish Music is a forum set up by JMI for raising the profile ofperformers and awareness of Jewish music activities to a wide public.
New Founder Members and Patrons
Lord Brittan of Spennithorne and Lady Brittan
Sir Jack and Lady Lyons
Sir Tim Lankester
Jewish Music Festival and Conferences 2000: Round Up
Malcolm Miller reports and reviews
Third International Conference on Jewish Music
One unifying aspect of the Festival however can be pinpointed, and that is the astonishing resilience and enthusiasm of the Festival Director Geraldine Auerbach. To both Geraldine and Alexander Knapp, organiser of the Third International Conference on Jewish Music, great credit is due not only for impelling the field of Jewish Music towards its deservedly prominent role in the wider musical scene, but for recognising both the scholarly importance of the diversity of genre and style, and its unique insights into wider cultural and sociological issues; and also the artistic value of a repertoire which demonstrably inspires, enriches and entertains.
Excerpts from reviews of the Festival
Yiddishe Mamas and Papas, Steiner Theatre, 19-22 June
Salamone Rossi: Italian Baroque. Siena Ensemble, Purcell Room,
Hebrew Song and Prayer, Bevis Marks Synagogue, 29 June
Thwarted Voices: the Composition Students of Franz Schreker: Concert
Thwarted Voices, St John's, Smith Square, 5 July
Jewish Culture Day in the Millennium Dome, 9 July
Footnote from the Festival Director
The Festival preserved
Recordings of most of the music from the Festival is available from Jewish Music Distribution, email: jmduk[at]hotmail.com or Tel/Fax: 01323 832 863
A Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin
This year, our day at the South Bank pays tribute to our late President who was arguably the greatest musician of the twentieth century. There are five different events: two orchestral concerts, a film show, and a talk by Humphrey Burton, Menuhin's biographer. Yaltah Menuhin will be a special guest artist and throughout the day, at each event pupils from the Yehudi Menuhin School will perform works that made Yehudi famous during his childhood.
Alexandra Valavelska in Cabaret
After her sell-out Purcell Room concert Alexandra has been invited to
do a late night run in Hampstead. Ron Hart has woven a comic-tragic story
through the Berlin Cabaret with words and music by Weill, Eisler, Hollander,
Spoliansky and others. Songs immortalised by Garbo, Dietrich and Lenya
from the Blue Angel to the blues: sex, songs and satire, jackboots and
Max Bruch's Moses on the South Bank
Looking ahead to next spring JMI is mounting a special performance of Moses, the oratorio by Max Bruch. Having promoted the British première of the work in 1988, we now revisit it at the Royal Festival Hall with a special orchestra and chorus under the direction of Christopher Fifield, Bruch's biographer. The programme devised by Rudi Goldsmith will be preceded by the most fitting meal associated with Mosesa mock Passover Seder. More details available later.
Budowitz at The Spitz
For Klezmer lovers JMI hosts a concert of this very special international Klezmer ensemble. Led by Joshua Horowitz, a Vienna-based American, one of the most important of the younger generation of tsimbl players and a world authority on the Klezmorim of Eastern Europe, the ensemble includes the outstanding UK clarinettist Merlin Shepherd. The other three members are all from Hungary and their exciting sound is based on careful study of the Jewish and Gypsy musicians of Eastern Europe.
Summer Workshop on Eastern European Culture
JMI will be working in collaboration with the Oxford Institute for Yiddish Studies, and the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC) on a summer programme in the first week of July 2001, on Jewish culture in Eastern Europe, covering language, literature, theatre and film and specially featuring intensive workshops of instrumental and vocal music with the top scholars and musicians from Europe and America.
MBE for the Director of the Jewish Music Institute
The establishment of the Jewish Music Institute this year was aptly 'crowned' in June by the award in the Queen's Birthday Honours list of the MBE to the Institute's Director, Geraldine Auerbach. She will receive this at Buckingham Palace on 10 October. Lady Lipworth, Joint Chairman of JMI says 'This is well-deserved recognition. The Jewish Music Institute, now part of the University of London, is almost entirely due to her vision, hard work and determination. She has worked tirelessly, virtually single-handedly and with very little money, for nearly two decades, to bring Jewish music to the mainstream of British academic and cultural life. We are all delighted that all her efforts have been recognised and that she has been honoured by Her Majesty in this way.'
Mrs Auerbach is the founder-director of the London International Jewish Music Festival, a biennial month-long Festival in London's prime concert halls of music of significance to the Jewish people throughout the ages and across the globe. Since 1984 there have been ten Festivals each one more impressive and exciting than the last. Special events have included a Jewish oratorio in Canterbury Cathedral in 1986, a Rothschild soirée at one of the family's stately homes in 1997, a whole weekend in 1990 commemorating the 800th anniversary of the infamous massacre of Jews in York and Yehudi Menuhin conducting Ernest Bloch's Hebrew Sacred Service in St Paul's Cathedral in 1995.
Mrs Auerbach's work in Jewish music has included setting up the Jewish Music Heritage Trust, initiating a record label for Jewish music, creating Jewish Music Distribution to take Jewish music to the public and to record shops. She has set up a number of performing groups, commissioned many new works on Jewish themes. Her inspiration has enabled the Joe Loss Lectureship in Jewish Music to be inaugurated and led to the establishment this year of the Jewish Music Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. As Director of this Institute she is developing wide-ranging programmes in education, performance and information and collaborations with other organisations and institutes. A Jewish music library is being established with scores, printed books and recorded Jewish music from all over the world.
Mrs Auerbach came to Britain from South Africa in 1962 with her husband Ronald Auerbach who is a well known ENT surgeon in London. She taught Art at a secondary school in Harrow for 26 years. The couple live in Harrow and have three grown up children, all involved in the arts. Mrs Auerbach, said, 'I am delighted with the honour and wish I could share it with all the devoted and talented people who have supported and worked with me over the last two decades to make Jewish music an important part of British musical culture.' Geraldine received many letters of congratulation. We reprint a few excerpts here:
Chris Smith, Secretary of State, Dept of Culture Media and Sport
Neville Nagler, Director General, Board of Deputies of British Jews
Lord Janner of Braunstone
Chief Rabbi Professor Jonathan Sacks
Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy, the Spanish and Portuguese Jews congregation
David J Goldberg, Senior Rabbi, The Liberal Jewish Synagogue
Doris and Bertie Black Library
Cantor Benjamin Stein Collection
Rev Isidore Freeman collection
Other donors to the library
We would be happy to advise anyone who has material on any aspect of Jewish music or musicology that they may be thinking of donating to the Jewish Music Institute. We are also planning to purchase equipment for transferring material from fragile media and for listening to the recordings. If you would like to help the creation of this first Jewish Music Library in the UK, by donating materials or money or anyone who would like to give some time to cataloguing the collection you would be most welcome. Please contact Victor Tunkel, JMI Library Consultant, The Doris and Bertie Black Jewish Music Library on tel: 020 8909 2445 or email
New Funds for Jewish Music
JMI is continually approached by individuals for help to accomplish projects and activities in Jewish music. Up to now most applications have had to be turned down due to lack of funds. This year JMI has approached the Millennium Commission to become a grant-awarding partner. Funds from this scheme, if we are successful in our application, would enable us to give up to 50 grants of between £500 and £5000 each, to individuals, from all backgrounds and cultures, who want to accomplish something in Jewish music that will change their lives and enable them to achieve something they might not otherwise be able to do as well as benefit their community. We have passed through to the second round. We know that this ability would lead to a rapid growth of interest and activity in Jewish music and would be a lasting benefit to the community at large and hope that our application will succeed.
To strengthen our ability to help individuals with projects in Jewish music, and to comply with the Millennium Commission requirements, JMI is setting up two new funds. These funds are in the names of two outstanding Jewish musicians who have each made a great contribution to entertainment and culture the world over for most of the last century Larry Adler and Yehudi Menuhin. Both have been closely associated with the Jewish Music Heritage Trust, now the Jewish Music Institute. JMI is organising events in their honour this autumn and winter and members of the public are invited to contribute to these funds to enable many more projects to be undertaken by more individuals in Jewish music.
The JMI Larry Adler Jewish Music Fund for Individuals
The JMI Yehudi Menuhin Fund for Jewish Music Projects
Members of the public are invited to donate to these funds. Please send contributions made out to JMI and say to which fund you would like your contribution to go. Contact 020 909 2445 or email
|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.|