JMI Newsletter No. 3
Millennium Award Edition, Spring 2001
JMI becomes Millennium Commission Award Partner
The Jewish Music Institute is very excited to announce that it has been recognised by the Millennium Commission as an Award Partner. The Millennium Commission is giving JMI £248,035 specifically to give away in Millennium Awards over the next three years, according to a carefully devised set of criteria. This means that the JMI, which is continually approached to help with Jewish music projects, will be able for the first time to assist individuals, who comply with the criteria, in their endeavours, both with money and with expertise.
The scheme will operate nationwide from April this year and enable individuals from all backgrounds, whether they have experience in music or not, to undertake a project which will enhance their lives as well as be of benefit to their own community. Fifty Millennium Awards will be available for innovative projects that allow people to use Jewish music as a vehicle for increased understanding and tolerance in multicultural Britain.
In promoting this scheme JMI and its activities will come to the attention
of a wide public. Geraldine Auerbach, JMI director, said, 'We are delighted
at last, with the help of the Millennium Commission Awards, to fulfil
our mission of helping individuals in worthwhile projects in Jewish music.
The whole amount of funding to be received will be dedicated entirely
to the Award Scheme.'
JMI also announced plans for the coming year including development of the Doris and Bertie Black Jewish Music Library at SOAS; KlezFest London 14 July, JMI's four day Summer programme of Klezmer Music and Yiddish Arts; collaborations with the Bevis Marks Tercentenary celebrations and the 100th anniversary of music in the Liberal movement and also a concert series with the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Hampstead. This year's programme culminates with our usual JMI Jewish Culture Day on the South Bank on Sunday 25 November, which will be devoted to music that was banned by the Third Reich.
Founder Members and Patrons
We are delighted to welcome new Founder Members and Patrons of JMI. We are honoured to have as patron Prof Alexander Goehr. Now Professor Emeritus, Prof Goehr filled a Chair in Music at Cambridge University for 25 years. He is a composer of operas and orchestral and chamber music and his book, Finding the Key, is published by Faber & Faber. Prof Goehr was a keynote speaker in the second International Conference on Jewish Music at City University, and honoured JMI by officially 'launching' the Institute on 30 March 2000.
JMI welcomes new Patron, Peter Oppenheimer who has just become the Chairman of the Jewish Chronicle. He is also on the Board of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research. We have enjoyed a warm relationship with former Chairman Lionel Gordon and thank Lionel very much for all his support over the past years.
Joy Cohen and Stanley Cohen OBE, who have been supporters of JMI since 1998 have now become Founder Members. One of the most generous and modest couples in Britain, they are staunch supporters of Jewish Education and Israeli Welfare. Stanley is also the Chairman of the Shield Committee for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Joy is President of the Women's Division of the UJIA and a Trustee of WIZO. We warmly welcome them and are delighted to have them as Founder Members.
We are also pleased to welcome Sandra Blackman of Hampstead as a new Founder Member, a true campaigner putting her heart and soul into the fight to help Agunot, 'chained' women whose husbands refuse to give them a 'get', or Jewish divorce. The campaign of which she is the founder, has helped many women, and is aiming to see that biblical words are interpreted in helpful ways so that Jewish family laws remain in the forefront of justice and compassion in society.
The first KlezFest London
This could be the most important event that Jewish Music Institute has ever initiated. Book early to avoid disappointment. Places are limited. Plan your leave now. When else will you meet so many of the best exponents in the same place at the same time in this country?
What is KlezFest London?
Who is it for?
Why are we doing it?
Registration £280, Students £150 with early booking discounts of £15. Scholarships are available for young musicians and reductions for those willing to lend a hand at KlezFest. Discounts for ensembles.
Gregori Schechter's Klezmer Festival Band: the first decade
Gregori Schechter the dynamic virtuoso Russian-born Klezmer clarinettist and his Klezmer Festival Band celebrate ten years of achievement with a gala concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 13 March at 7.45pm.
Gregori arrived in the UK from Russia, via Israel at just the right moment. Britons had only just heard of Klezmer having been introduced to the soaring Jewish soul music of Giora Feidman through the Jewish Music Festivals and recordings from America through Jewish Music Distribution. Appetites had been whetted for the contagious rhythms but the long wait for groups to arrive from America did not satisfy the longing to hear the toe-tapping rhythms and melodies of Jewish villages all over Eastern Europe. Gregori's arrival has been more than adequate to fulfil those cravings. Now as he celebrates the end of his first decade on the UK stage, this is a celebration not only for him and the Klezmer Festival Band, but for the development of Jewish music in this country.
In a feature on new talent for the 90s published in the Jewish Chronicle, Gregori announced his intention to form a Klezmer band. Dovid Kornhauser, rabbinic student and tuba player, answered the call and the duo assembled a group of young professional musicians to performjust what the promoters of a day of Jewish entertainment on the South Bank were looking for and Gregori Schechter's Klezmer Festival Band was born.
Their first-ever public performance was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Sunday 23 June 1991. The band was an instant success. Simon Rocker wrote, 'With their jubilant début Anglo-Jewry's first professional Klezmer ensemble have established themselves as a force in the revival of this distinctive Jewish music.' The band instantly shot to fame, appearing on BBC radio and television and in the national papers. Gregori's stature has grown with every concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Logan Hall, Union Chapel and at folk festivals around the country. He has made four CDs, including one, The Eye of the Storm, of music he wrote for a film about a Yiddish painter. He has been invited to Italy, Switzerland, France and Belgium and performed on many films. Perhaps his finest hour was when he premièred his Klezmer Rhapsody for clarinet and orchestra, a work specially commissioned for the 9th London International Jewish Music Festival at the Barbican in 1998. The Times hailed him as 'one of Klezmer's most charismatic stars.'
Gregori has welcomed, among others, as guest stars in concerts over the last ten years, the veteran harmonica player, Larry Adler and the eight-year-old prodigy violinist Sacha Sitkovetsky. To celebrate with Gregori on Tuesday 13 March at the QEH many of his past associates such as Stewart Curtis and Dovid Kornhauser as well as new friends, will join him onstage. The UK is a richer place for having the joy and exuberance as well as poignancy of Gregori Schechter and his band.
Be there to join in the celebration at the South Bank Centre
JMI Visit to Cheltenham and Gloucester, 5 August 2001
An Act of Reconciliation in Gloucester Cathedral
JMI invites you to join us at this historic event. We go by coach from Golder's Green, and spend an interesting day with a stopover in Cheltenham Spa meeting with the vibrant Jewish community there for lunch at the beautiful Queen's Hotel overlooking the Imperial Gardens. We will have a guided visit to the historic Regency Synagogue, a grade II listed building with a talk by Michael Webber, Chairman of the Cheltenham Jewish Community. We will then be welcomed at Gloucester, taken on a special tour of the Cathedral and given tea before attending the Ceremony.
The cost of the coach from London, lunch, tea and snack supper on the way home will be £38.50 per person. (£35 for Friends of JMI). If you are taking the opportunity of a weekend in the Cotswolds or coming from elsewhere in the UK, you can join us for lunch and the programme for the rest of the day. Subtract £10.00 (coach and snack supper) from the cost. Booking is now open, and please book early to be sure of a place. Call JMI on 020 8909 2445 and look out for further details on the website.
Prize Draw for Friends of JMI from Bentley & Skinner
A pair of single-stone diamond earstuds
In order to help raise money for the Jewish Music Institute, Bentley & Skinner will also contribute to JMI 7.5% of any sale of jewellery to JMI supporters and friends. A further 7.5% discount will go to the purchaser as an incentive to participate in the scheme. A special Bentley & Skinner brochure of fine jewels will be given to all those attending Gregori Schechter's concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 13 March. JMI is very grateful to Managing Director Mark Evans for Bentley & Skinner's generous support.
Bentley & Skinner at 8 New Bond Street are Jewellers by Royal Appointment to both Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. They have been buying and selling the loveliest jewellery for over 180 years. Specialising in fine antique jewels, Fabergé and silver. Bentley & Skinner are also known for their wonderful selection of engagement rings.
Bentley & Skinner are renowned for purchasing jewellery privately. Their unrivalled knowledge of the current market puts them in an ideal position to offer the fairest of valuations which for insurance purposes are charged at only 0.5% plus VAT. The repair and re-modelling of jewellery is undertaken with the greatest care and attention to detail by expert craftsmen on their premises. As a family concern, personal service has always been Bentley & Skinner's hallmark and every enquiry is treated with courtesy and the utmost discretion.
International Forum for Suppressed Music (IFSM) Newsletter
The JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music is expanding its work. Sir Simon Rattle is now the President and the Advisory Board includes Dr Christopher Hayley of the Schreker Foundation Los and Angeles and the Schoenberg Institute Vienna, and Albrecht Dumeling, of Musika Reanimata in Berlin.
Some funding has been received to enable the Forum to initiate a project to record personal memories from the few remaining composers, conductors and musicians who were active in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, when Hitler banned music of the Jews and labelled it 'Entartete Musik' ('Degenerate Music'). The interviews will be recorded on audio and video tape by Michael Haas, Executive Producer of the Decca recording project of that name. The first interviews take place in February with Vilem Tausky, the ninety-something conductor who came to London from Vienna. We are planning publications, including the proceedings of the conference on the students of the composer Franz Schreker in Berlin in the 1920s, 'Thwarted Voices' held by the Forum at SOAS in July 2000.
The Forum is constantly consulted regarding repertoire from this period by concert promoters, festival organisers and radio and television companies including the BBC. JMI will be promoting this repertoire this year in recitals in conjunction with the London Jewish Cultural Centre (25 March), the Hampstead and Highgate Festival (22 May) and at our Jewish culture day on the South Bank (November 25).
This Forum is now producing an e-newsletter. This will contain details of future events. It also gives contact addresses for the estates of these composers and musicians who are no longer alive. There will be reviews of performances and reports on conferences. If you would like to receive this e-mail newsletter, or you know anyone who would, please email us with your email address and we will add your name to the list. Email
We are pleased to announce that JMI and SOAS intend to establish a Senior Fellowship in Suppressed Music, and are seeking funds for this very important post.
Brundibar and The Trial at Riverside Studios
Dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust
As the JMI newsletter is the vehicle for important events in the Jewish musical calendar, we are happy to bring news of performances of Brundibar which is an enduring anti-Fascist allegory, a haunting musical parable of the triumph of innocence over evil. Its most famous performances were given in the Terezin concentration camp, before Krása was deported and murdered at Auschwitz in 1944. Krása's work, branded 'degenerate' by the Nazis, has been rediscovered and celebrated worldwide in recent years. In Kafka's The Trial, Joseph K. is under arrest; not accused of any particular crime, he is set on a comic course of horror and humiliation. This is arguably the seminal literary fable of the twentieth century.
'A brilliant lacerating dramatisation...a spell-binding performance.'
(The Evening Standard)
Tickets £15 (£9 concessions)
Jewish Music Library
Jewish Music Library in International Link-up
Geraldine Auerbach was able to meet up with the music librarians of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Meetings at the Holocaust Museum provided fruitful links to other Jewish library websites and organisations. A particular pleasure was her meeting with Bob and Molly Freedman who have placed their entire 45 years' collection of recorded Yiddish song at the University of Pennsylvania. This was an interesting model of how a private collection is being housed and curated through a major prestigious university, and the JMI library at the University of London is now collaborating with the Bob and Molly Freedman Collection of Jewish Music at the University of Pennsylvania.
A very interesting visit was to the new Center for Jewish History in New York where a library has been created jointly by four organisations who have come together for the first time: YIVO (the Yiddish Institute), the Leo Baeck Institute, the Sephardi Institute, and Hebrew Union College have retained their identity but pooled resources and have built their collections around a beautiful reading room. Archiving and preservation facilities are available to all the institutions. This complex also has a museum and a small auditorium.
We are very grateful to many of these institutions who have offered to donate duplicates, and to individuals who have given family collections, to enhance the Jewish Music Institute's library holdings.
A Jewish Library for London
JMI Doris and Bertie Black Jewish Music Library at SOAS
They report that the collection is representative of every genre of Jewish music of the 20th Century from very early European instrumental and Yiddish 78s through international cantors from the beginning of the century to the 1980s from across the world. There is something to interest everybody, Israeli, Chassidic, and Sephardi music and humour in Yiddish and English as well as spoken word in rabbinic teaching and Zionist tracts.
They said, 'working with and listening to this material, connects me with what I am. It is part of my background, part of my genes and I want to know about it. Many of these cantors died in the concentration camps, Yiddish as a living language is all but finished, but here is this whole world encapsulated for me to experience. Its like we have defied the Holocaust as we still have this material with us. It is a valuable resource for students and scholars, and so interesting to have all these recordings together so that we can compare.'
The collection is now being catalogued onto JMI's dedicated database, Keynote, developed in consultation with the British Library. We are setting up a Library Management Committee under the guidance of Paul Holden, former Senior Music Librarian of the Guildhall School of Music. We would welcome volunteers to help with the cataloguing and sorting and managing the library. We also need a Library Funding committee, to help with writing applications and seeing that we have funds to care for and store the material in the optimum conditions, and make it available to students as soon as possible. Anyone who would be willing to give a few hours a week to help on these committees will be welcome.
Telephone the Doris and Bertie Black Jewish Music Library 020 7898 4308.
Yehudi Menuhin Tribute
'It would take a week to fully pay tribute to the career of Yehudi Menuhin, but a day-long celebration did its best. ... Perhaps it was in the young soloists that the Menuhin Spirit of hope and joy was best seen' (The Times)
'Your day in memory of Yehudi was a hugely moving experience and the way everything was co-ordinated was a triumph which I think only few could pull off with such panache and real feeling for and understanding of the man. You honoured my father and he was there, I believe, basking in the music played by his Russian Jewish colleagues, his beloved school and his sister. Thank you and everyone involved.' (Zamira Menuhin Benthall)
JMI expresses its thanks to Zamira and all the participants who gave so generously and enthusiastically of their time and talent for this special day in Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin the great musician, educator and humanist.
It was an honour to have had HRH The Prince Charles as Patron of the day and Yaltah Menuhin as special guest soloist.
Humphrey Burton CBE, Menuhin's biographer, wove a thread through the six events in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room as he introduced a different pair of students from the Yehudi Menuhin School in works that Yehudi was famous for as a child. Fifteen-year-old Alina Ibragimova gave a stunning performance of the youthful Mendelssohn Concerto 'We were putty in her hands from the first note' (The Times). Malcolm Singer arranged a new setting of Kurt Weill's Kiddush for viola and strings in the School's concert in the afternoon. There was a fascinating exhibition by Anne Simor and Graham Whatley in the foyer with memorabilia of early triumphs not often seen, and John Hill provided beautiful lighting in the halls. Ruth Rosen read some of Yehudi's writings and the reminiscences by members of the public in the 'video box' all testified to Yehudi's selfless concern for the welfare and progress of others.
Yehudi Menuhin had been an inspiring President and had been present at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London to inaugurate Jewish music studies there in his last public appearance in the UK. JMI has now established the Yehudi Menuhin Memorial Lecture, and was delighted to have had writer and broadcaster Humphrey Burton to give the first of these on that day, entitled, 'Yehudi Menuhin, the Legend and the Legacy'.
The excellent musicians from Live Music Now! brought in an audience that might otherwise not have been able to hear such exciting music-making. The Ashdod Chamber orchestra, formed from Russian émigrés to Israel gave a towering performance of Shostakovich's mighty 14th symphony under their conductor Omri Hadari. Bruno Monsaingeon's filmed biography of Menuhin began the day, and it ended perfectly with Singer's elegy for solo violin performed by pupil Yibo Bau, written for Yehudi Menuhin's funeral.
Humphrey Burton conducts 600 voices in Verdi's Requiem
Verdi's Requiem provides a universal and profound expression of human faith. Jews in Theresienstadt saw no contradiction in mounting their many performances of this powerful work by the orchestra and chorus bravely assembled in their camp. Compelling combination of pathos, drama, expressive harmony and heart-tugging melody permeate this extraordinary masterpiece which was composed in 1874. Humphrey Burton, the biographer of Yehudi Menuhin, who was such a gracious and impelling host to JMI's Menuhin celebrations at the South Bank in November last year, exchanges his pen for the baton in an extraordinary performance with soloists from English National Opera and the Philharmonia Orchestra on 18 March. Patrons of the event are HRH the Prince of Wales as well as Placido Domingo and Bernard Haitink.
The Gala Concert is in aid of Prostate Research Campaign UK. Box office: 020 7589 8212
Esther: The Mask, première at St Albans Abbey
A new Malcolm Singer/Michelene Wandor collaboration
Now a joint commission from St Albans Chamber Choir and The Zemel Choir
has allowed them to look afresh at the biblical story of Esther. The libretto
is an evocative and original approach to this story. Drawing on the Old
Testament, pre-Biblical and secular myths, as well as elements from the
feast of Purim, Michelene has written a text which is a mixture of clear
narrative, poetic impression
The first performance will be given by the two choirs on Wednesday 23 May 2001 in St Albans Abbey at 8.00pm. Also in the concert will be a joint performance of Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Nachamu by Chonon Lewis and settings for double choir of Psalms 2, 43 and 22 by Mendelssohn from his opus 78.
Tickets are available from Rachel Johnston: 27 Corinium Gate, St Albans, Herts AL3 4HY Tel: 01727 842822
JMI piano finds happy home at LJCC
The Jewish Music Institute is thrilled to have taken delivery of our first grand piano, a valuable asset to any music institute. This Bluthner Grand belonged to Mrs Judith Cohen, who was the Director of the WIZO Choir for many years. She wished it to give pleasure to others in an educational and if possible Jewish context. It has been kindly donated to JMI by her daughters Rina Gilmont and Carmel Toffler. We have placed this piano in the beautiful drawing room at the London Jewish Cultural Centre in the Old House in Kidderpore Avenue.
The piano was 'launched' at a special event on 12 December with a short recital by Norma Fisher, who knew the owner of the piano and her daughters very well and is pictured left with Rina Gilmont, and Geraldine Auerbach, Director of the Jewish Music Institute.
On the strength of this, JMI and LJCC are mounting a series, of lunchtime and evening recitals, starting at 12.45 on Thursday 15 February. Sandwiches and snacks are available at the Centre, and you can also join fascinating classes in Jewish history and culture.
JMI and LJCC launch Concert Series in Hampstead
Lunchtime concerts at LJCC
Alexandra Valavelska, accompanied by Matthew Freeman. Sparkling melodies
and witty texts of Europe in the Weimar period.
Thursday 15 March, 12.451.30pm
Noa Lachman, soprano accompanied by William Hancox in a programme of composed songs from the Sephardi tradition.
Thursday 24 May, 12.451.30pm
Works by Ernest Bloch, Camille Saint Saens and David Popper. This concert is in association with the Hampstead and Highgate Festival.
Tickets £5, Friends of JMI, LJCC and students £3, 020 7431 0345. The LJCC café will be open and you can also find out about the fascinating courses run by this centre.
Two Evening Concerts in association with the
Thursday 25 March at LJCC
Helen Lawrence, soprano, William Hancox, piano,
Goldschmidt was one of the outstanding pupils of Franz Schreker in Berlin. His operas and concert pieces were performed all over Germany until he was forced to flee after 1933. He came to Britain and although he won the First Prize for his new opera, Beatrice Cenci in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, the opera was never performed until the 1980s when at last the quality of his compositions became recognised and he was sought after as a composer into his nineties, until he died. Helen Lawrence, who knew Berthold well and helped to present Beatrice Cenci, will sing some of his songs and William Hancox will play the Variations on a Palestine Shepherd's Song for piano as well as his Marche Militaire and Bernard Keeffe lifelong friend and executor of his estate, will talk about his life.
Tickets £10, Friends of JMI, LJCC and students £8, 020 7431 0345
Tuesday 22 May, 7.30pm, Belsize Square Synagogue
This concert, is part of the Hampstead and Highgate Festival and features the Andrusier Ensemble who performed outstandingly in the 10th London International Jewish Music Festival in a concert associated with the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music at St John's Smith Square. Barry Millington, The Times and BBC Music Magazine critic who heard them there immediately engaged them for the Hampstead and Highgate Festival of which he is Artistic Director. The ensemble, under the direction of Tamar Andrusier, is dedicated to featuring the music of composers whose lives were disrupted by the Holocaust, particularly composers who spent time in Terezin and were killed in Auschwitz such as Victor Ullman, Pavel Haas, and Gideon Klein. In fact, those who were present or watched the BBC2 Holocaust Commemoration will have seen the Andrusier Ensemble exquisitely performing the slow movement from Gideon Klein's String Trio, which is also in the programme of this concert.
|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.|