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JMI Newsletter No. 2
posted Autumn 2000

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.

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New Founder Members and Patrons

Lord Brittan of Spennithorne and Lady Brittan
Joint Chairmen, Lady Lipworth and Jonathon Lyons, and the Trustees of JMI welcome Lord and Lady Brittan as Patrons. Lord Brittan, who opened this year's Jewish Music Festival, is Vice Chairman of UBS Warburg. He is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Yale and an Advisory Director at Unilever. He served as Member and Vice President of the European Commission for ten years and expressed his pleasure in seeing the collaboration in the Festival with so many European Embassies.

Sir Jack and Lady Lyons
JMI is delighted to announce that Sir Jack and Lady Lyons have joined the ranks of Founder Members. Sir Jack, whose name is closely associated with great benevolence to the Royal Academy of Music in London and who has given vast help to the Department of Music of the University of York, which bears his name, has graciously decided to support the new Jewish Music Institute. We welcome both him and Lady Lyons among the Founder Members who help JMI succeed in its mission to serve the needs of the wider public of all backgrounds in the study and performance of Jewish music at the highest levels.

Sir Tim Lankester
We have come to know and admire Sir Tim Lankester who as the Director of SOAS, jointly hosted the evening in February 1999 with the late President of JMHT Lord Menuhin when we introduced Jewish music studies to SOAS. Again he was host when the Jewish Music Institute was launched in March 2000. Apart from appointments in Education, Sir Tim's career has taken him to senior positions all over the world as an economist with the World Bank and with HM Treasury. Now he is to leave SOAS for Oxford. JMI is delighted to retain its contact with Sir Tim and welcome him as a Patron of the Jewish Music Institute.

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Jewish Music Festival and Conferences 2000: Round Up

Malcolm Miller reports and reviews
The sheer range of topical aspects on offer was thrilling. Among the explicit themes was 'Hungary in Focus' in which two concerts, a talk and an exhibition underlined the contribution of Hungarian Jewish composers and artists and featured UK premières of significant new works. Another thread was that of Sephardi music, whether of the Greek tradition, as in the special appearance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall of Savina Yannatou, or Judeo-Spanish music as portrayed by the ever popular Lucie Skeaping and the Burning Bush at the Barbican, or Jewish Life in Andalusia with Yvonne Behar and ensemble at the Sephardi Centre, or the more contemporary oriental Peaceful Promenade with a Jewish-Palestinian-Algerian ensemble at SOAS. And of course the exuberant swing of Klezmer framed the Festival with Kol Simcha from Switzerland and Klezmer en Buenos Aires at the start, and at the end, Gregori Schechter at the Spitz and Brave Old World at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. At the heart of the month-long Festival were two conferences, the Third London International Conference on Jewish Music and Thwarted Voices: the Composition class of Franz Schreker, both at SOAS and both combining stimulating research papers with an array of associated concerts.

Third International Conference on Jewish Music
Over seventy delegates from Austria, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Israel, South Africa, UK and USA enjoyed five days of musical, spiritual, intellectual and social stimulation at SOAS, University of London. This conference organised by Alex Knapp the Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music, SOAS, University of London and the Department of Music in association with the JMI, confirms London as a major world centre for Jewish music studies.

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
'This was a show of style, Gallic flair, innovation and lots of chutzpah. Great.' (Mike Davidson London Jewish News)

Salamone Rossi: Italian Baroque. Siena Ensemble, Purcell Room, 20 Jun
'The ensemble playing was quite exemplary ... Only three examples of Rossi's sacred music were included, but sufficient to illustrate what synagogue music might have become had the Jewish ecclesiastical authorities not opposed his use of contemporary styles.' (Mike Davidson London Jewish News)

Hebrew Song and Prayer, Bevis Marks Synagogue, 29 June
'There was a sense of excitement as the three choirs, spatially separated around the synagogue, began with three different versions of the welcoming ode, Baruch Haba, showing off the distinct styles of each. The feast concluded with a finale for all three choirs united in Psalm 150, Halleluyah in Lewandowsky's ebullient arrangement. A fascinating as well as enriching highlight of the Festival and Conference, the concert showed the richness of the variant traditions within our Jewish musical heritage.' (Malcolm Miller)

Thwarted Voices: the Composition Students of Franz Schreker: Concert
St John's, Smith Square, 2 July
'In the hands of the British-based Andrusier Ensemble, Der Wind (Schreker) made a fitting end to a programme that had also featured Goldschmidt's Retrospectrum for string trio and the British Première of an enchanting early Serenade for clarinet quartet by Krenek. Now we need a wholehearted revival of these composers' operas.' (Matthew Rye Daily Telegraph)

Thwarted Voices, St John's, Smith Square, 5 July
At St John's in the evening Kolja Lessing gave a virtuoso performance (the UK première) of Karol Rathaus's Piano Sonata no. 1, an extraordinary work, improvisatory in nature, switching manically between triads in a way far removed from Schreker's languorous style. (of Krenek's Serenade for clarinet and string trio) Even the composers widow Gladys, happily present, had not previously heard this piece: undoubtedly there are many such treasures still waiting to be unearthed. (Barry Millington, The Times)

Jewish Culture Day in the Millennium Dome, 9 July
'It was not only the over 500 performers from home and away who made the day something different. From the strictly orthodox to the laid back and liberal there was a distinctive buzz from a very identifiable and very proud group of visitors [to the Dome] the Jewish community. (David Sonin London Jewish News)

Footnote from the Festival Director
Special thanks are due to the wonderful team who ran the festival, Festival Manager Noa Lachman, (also for bringing JMD every day) Director's assistant Betty Collick, treasurer Judith Unikower, Technical manager John Hill, Dome co-ordinator, Joan Noble, Simcha Choir co-ordinators, Suzy Fishburn, Henny Levin and Louis Friedman, Administrative assistant Anne Allen, Conference co-ordinator, Barbara Rosenberg, press and marketing David Sonin and Maureen Phillips, Anthony and Karen Auerbach for design, Tricia Kaye and Graham Halsey at Cavalier Printers, our generous and welcoming sponsors: London Jewish News and all those who helped in so many ways.

The Festival preserved
A documentary film is being made from the hundreds of hours of broadcast quality footage that were shot during the Festival and several TV stations have already shown an interest. TV and radio stations from Switzerland, Hungary, Germany and the UK made programmes and news items about the Festival. Souvenir programme books of the Festival are still available from JMI, price £5 including postage and dispatch.

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

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Future Events

A Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin
Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales
Five events: 26 November 2000, 10.00am–10.00pm
Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room

Yehudi Menuhin
The late Lord 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
New End Theatre Tuesday 14 NovemberŠSunday 3 December 2000, 9.30pm

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 jazz.
Box Office: 020 7794 0022

Max Bruch's Moses on the South Bank
Sun 18 February 2001

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 Moses—a mock Passover Seder. More details available later.

Budowitz at The Spitz
Tuesday 20 March 2001

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.

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MBE for the Director of the Jewish Music Institute

Geraldine Auerbach MBE
Mrs Geraldine Auerbach MBE

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:

Dear Geraldine:

Chris Smith, Secretary of State, Dept of Culture Media and Sport
'This is a well deserved tribute to your role in raising the profile of Jewish music and culture both in this country and abroad. The success of the Jewish Music Heritage Trust in involving young people and helping to introduce Jewish music and culture to thousands of people is a testament to your expertise, popularity and—perhaps most importantly—enthusiasm. I am delighted that your achievements have been recognised in this way.'

Neville Nagler, Director General, Board of Deputies of British Jews
'This is a richly deserved distinction and a fitting tribute to all that you have achieved. All members of the Jewish community take pride in your honour and share a sense of reflected glory from your achievement.'

Lord Janner of Braunstone
'Bravissimo! Fanfares of delight indeed, from all your colleagues and friends. We are proud of you. Greville.'

Chief Rabbi Professor Jonathan Sacks
'Elaine and I take enormous pride in seeing your outstanding achievements publicly recognised. You have conferred honour on the Anglo-Jewish community through your many years of dedicated service to Jewish music. We owe you a deep dept of gratitude for all your successful endeavours — you are a wonderful example of a determined activist.'

Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy, the Spanish and Portuguese Jews congregation
'Your award is richly deserved — we have all admired the way you have promoted Jewish music in this country and we thank you for all that you have done in this connection'.

David J Goldberg, Senior Rabbi, The Liberal Jewish Synagogue
' Having worked with you over the years on the Jewish Music Heritage Trust, and having witnessed your dedication, dynamic endurance and incredible ability to inspire others with your own enthusiasm, I can think of no-one who more richly merits being officially recognised for your contribution to our musical heritage.'

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Doris and Bertie Black Library

Cantor Benjamin Stein Collection
The Institute's Doris and Bertie Black Jewish Music Library has been given nearly seventy volumes of printed Jewish music collected by Cantor Benjamin Stein of Jerusalem. The collection is especially strong in cantorial music and contains the six-volume Cantorial Anthology by Ephros as well as almost all the published synagogue compositions of Weisser and Kwartin and volumes of Yiddish and modern Israeli songs. Cantor Stein was cantor of the Temple Neve Shalom, New Jersey. He had the good fortune to study with Henry Rosenblatt, David Kussevitsky and some of the greats from the end of the 'golden age' of the cantor. After emigrating with his family to Israel in 1973 he established himself there as a leading consulting engineer and teacher as well as, becoming cantor at the Sha'arei T'filla synagogue, Bet HaKerem where he still officiates. The Institute expresses deep appreciation to Cantor Stein.

Rev Isidore Freeman collection
The JMI is also grateful to Mrs Angella Carne of Stockport who has donated the musical archive of her grandfather the Rev Isidore Freeman who was cantor in Liverpool for over forty years from 1910. Rev Freeman was devoted to the music of the Jewish people and his dearest (and thwarted) wishes from the 1920s were to establish a syllabus for teaching it and to hold a Jewish Musical Festival in the UK.

Other donors to the library
We also thank the following who have donated funds as well as books and CDs for the library: the estate of Lionel Benjamin, Mrs Bessie Carr, Peter Altoft, Majer Bogdanski, Anne Clark, Prof and Mrs S. I. Cohen, Edith Eden, Joan Freeman, Ron and Carmel Hart, Rev B. Koschland, Irene Kurer, Jack Lass, L. I. Lerner, David and Sylvia Lewin, Iris Markson, Rita Mathews, J. Pesate, A. Rawel, Seymour Saideman, R. Segal, Malcolm Singer and Sarah Nathan, Fred Worms OBE.

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

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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
This fund will help individuals from any background or culture to study, learn to play, research, compose or perform any aspect of Jewish music. Larry himself will launch this fund at a recital he is giving with the young Australian prodigy Simon Tedeschi, in aid of the JMI, at St John's, Smith Square on 20 September this year.

The JMI Yehudi Menuhin Fund for Jewish Music Projects
This fund is to make possible educational, information or performance projects in Jewish music, such as setting up of children's choirs, creating a catalogue system for Jewish music, making specific recordings, transferring fragile materials onto safe formats, creating packs for primary schools of Jewish music to fit in with the national curriculum, composing a new work, setting up a new performance group, making a directory of Jewish music performers etc

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

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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.