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JMI Newsletter No. 6
posted 10 October 2002

JMI Concerts and events Autumn 2002

The Jewish Music Institute has 23 exciting new events this autumn with klezmer, classical and jazz concerts, lecture recitals and fascinating walks and talks in the Jewish East End.

Klezmer to Cabaret

Six events on the South Bank on 1 December 2002 begin with a puppet show and include Lucie Skeaping and The Burning Bush, Klezmer en Buenos Aires, Berlin Cabaret and a recital by Lovro Pogorelich focusing on Szpilman, the subject of the Prize-winning Polanski film, 'The Pianist'. The amazing day ends with Symphonic Klezmer devised and performed by The World Quintet together with the London Mozart Players.

Virtuoso clarinettist Gregori Schechter has a brand new ensemble The Wandering Few (QEH 27 November 2002). The programme includes actors Saul Reichlin and Penelope Solomon with stories by Chekhov and Babel and wonderful music of the travelling vagabonds. Classical concerts feature composers of the St Petersburg Society of Jewish Folk Music at St Giles, Cripplegate (13 and 14 November), a guitar recital at the Wigmore Hall (11 November) A recital of works by Moscheles (16 November) and recitals of songs and piano music at the Luke & A Gallery in Mayfair (7 and 18 November) where you can enjoy words, music and delicious food.

For the London Jazz Festival JMI will feature Oi-Va-Voi and Klezmer en Buenos Aires at the Spitz, in Old Spitalfields Market. Also at this venue we host a wonderful new programme of Yiddish Tango performed by sultry mezzo Lloica Czackis and ensemble.

JMI events start on 3 November with a Walk in Spitalfields. You can also read about these events in 'Jewish What's happening in London'. Booking is now open.

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London ArtsFest

Several JMI events this season will be presented as part of the prestigious new London ArtsFest. This festival called Bridging Cultures features the very best of music by composers and musicians from the various cultures of Eastern Europe. There will be art exhibitions, family events and film as well as a feast of concerts and recitals in interesting venues across London from 31 October–3 December 2002. For details of events in London ArtsFest call JMI for a London ArtsFest brochure or see their website:
www.londonartsfest.org.uk

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The Mendelssohn Society

Mrs Jackie Rosenfeld, OBE, the admired and respected music organiser and supporter, who is the inspiration of many charities, has delighted JMI Trustees and the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, by becoming the Chairman of this new society. The inaugural event takes place at the Royal Academy on Thursday 24 October 2002 . The outstanding young Jerusalem String Quartet will perform Mendelssohn and Haydn quartets on Guarneri instruments, loaned by JMI Vice President, Dr David Josefowitz, who will introduce each instrument. This will be followed by a buffet and preceded by a tour of the Mendelssohn memorabilia in the York Gate Collection.

Dr. Curtis Price, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music and Professor Malcolm Troup and the other Trustees of the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation invited JMI to be a partner in raising funds for the Mendelssohn Scholarship that is awarded every two years to a young composer. This Scholarship has been in existence since the year after Mendelssohn's death 1849. Funds will be shared with JMI educational projects.

Further exciting events are in preparation. Entrance is by donation of £100 to become a Member of the Society (£175 for a couple). Please call Jackie Rosenfeld c/o JMI if you would like to join The Mendelssohn Society. Tel 020 8909 2445.

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'Jewish What's Happening in London'

Apart from JMI concerts, there is a wealth of cultural events awaiting Londoners this Autumn. This is all to be seen in a new brochure, Jewish What's Happening in London that was enclosed with the mail-out this Newsletter. It has been published on the initiative of The Jewish Music Institute, the Jewish Museum, the London Jewish Cultural Centre and the Ben Uri Art Gallery, who have come together to sponsor this digest. This is a major step forward in cooperation and collaboration between major Jewish cultural providers in London. They have established a Forum that meets on a regular basis and the first manifestation of their deliberations has been to create and publish this document on a seasonal basis. Collating and printing has been done by Jewish Renaissance, a magazine whose sole purpose is to promote Jewish culture in London and beyond.

For further details of how to be included in or how to advertise in this digest of which nearly 50,000 are distributed, or to subscribe to the magazine Jewish Renaissance with articles and pictures relating to these and many other Jewish cultural events around the country and abroad, contact info[at]jewishrenaissance.org.uk.

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Beethoven and Suppressed Composers

In a series of free lunchtime concerts funded by a JMI Millennium Award to Harry Atterbury, you can hear outstanding artists who have chosen a major work of Beethoven and coupled it with music by a composer who suffered or died at the hands of the Nazi's or other political regimes. Harry is presenting this series in conjunction with the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe and the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music.

As a result of this series the pianists have been introduced to a new repertoire that they will retain and develop for the future. Jacqueline Cole has gone so far as to establish a major Viktor Ullmann Foundation with plans for concerts, newsletters, recitals and publications including a complete cycle of Ullmann operas in 2014.

Recitals are on Wednesdays at 1.00pm at St James's Piccadilly:

21 October 2002
Inon Barnaton performing Gideon Klein Sonata written in Terezin 1943

27 November 2002
Wu Qian performing Schnittke, Skryiabin, Schedrin

22 January 2003
Daniel Bard, violin, Noam Greenberg, piano Beethoven 'Kreutzer' Sonata, Ben- Haim Solo Sonata

19 February 2003
Radoslav Kvapil plays Viktor Ullmann, Piano Sonata no 6,

On Sunday 16 February 2003 at 3.00pm Radoslav Kvapil, internationally renowned Czech pianist, will give a masterclass at the Royal Academy of Music examining the piano music of Hans Krasa, Viktor Ullmann, Pavel Haas and Gideon Klein. This is free of charge thanks to the Millennium Award but please reserve your place in advance on 020 7259 2379.

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Jewish and Christian Music at Norwich Cathedral

On Wednesday 16 October at 7.30pm, The Zemel Choir, Alyth Choral Society, the Choir of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John's Wood and the Choristers of Norwich Cathedral, will perform Psalms and a new Cantata by Ronnie Cass. The concert celebrates the sixtieth Anniversary of the Council of Christians and Jews and their work in combating anti-Semitism through knowledge and understanding. The Dean of Norwich will introduce the concert and many dignitaries will be present. The event is organised by the Jewish Music Institute and we hope to see many of you there. Tickets for the concert are £18–£6. There are also packages including lunch, a talk about the Jews of medieval Norwich and a tour of cathedral and high tea. Details and tickets from CCJ London, 020 7820 0090.

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Suppressed voices brought to life

'The music of the generation of composers killed or exiled by the Nazis in the Thirties and Forties has been slowly regaining life, thanks not least to the work of the Jewish Music Institute's International Forum for Suppressed Music'. So said The Daily Telegraph reviewer Matthew Rye of the two concerts at the Wigmore Hall London in June under the title of 'Continental Britons'.

He praised highly the playing of the Israeli-American violinist Nurit Pacht, with Konstantin Lifschitz at the piano, and the singing of German baritone Christian Immler with pianist Erik Levi. He noted that besides an emotionally powerful piece by Berthold Goldschmidt (someone who had already been on the way to re-discovery in his later years) the works of two significant pre-war composers, Egon Wellesz, a Schoenberg pupil who ended up a don at Oxford, and Hans Gal, who managed to obtain an academic post in Edinburgh, revealed just what rich treasures there are to be found.

Malcolm Miller, writing in the Jewish Chronicle, pointed out the extraordinary range of styles of these Jewish composers from Vienna, Berlin and Brno. The gem for him was the Reizenstein Wind Quintet performed by the Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt. The most poignant moments were when Peter Gellhorn and Vilem Tausky, both in or near their 90s, stood to receive the audience's applause.

Michael Haas, Chairman of the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music, points out that the works of these composers are significant in their own right, and also that they fill in the gaps of how music evolved from the romanticism of the 19th Century to the more angular and austere musical language of the 20th. Michael has just been made Curator of Music at the Jewish Museum in Vienna in time for their special programme 'The Jew in Musical Vienna' with which JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music is collaborating, in June 2003. This year Michael was also awarded the David Uri Memorial Fellowship for his work in promoting Music Suppressed by the Third Reich

Lewis Foreman writer and broadcaster who chaired the pre-concert seminar, said that it had taken over fifty years for the full extent of the artistic achievements of the large number of composers who were silenced by the Nazis to become apparent. Suppressed for being Jewish, for being avant garde and then for being conservative, for a time, even very distinguished names were almost totally forgotten. We are now aware of many fine works that have been overlooked but the voyage of discovery is only just beginning.

JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music will be continuing the project of 'Continental Britons' with further concerts, lecture-recitals, recordings, publications and interviews.

For those who missed these concerts, a boxed set of CDs will shortly be issued on the prestigious new record label and website Andante.
See www.andante.com for details.

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JMI summer schools 2002

KlezFest and Ot Azoy!
Sing, Dance and Play Klezmer! – Read, write and speak Yiddish in a week!!

Can this really be achieved. We can honestly say, 'Yes it can—because we did it!' How did we do it? By bringing the world's most skilled and admired instructors and performers to London to teach and demonstrate Yiddish language, singing, instrumental styles and techniques, ensemble building and Yiddish dance.

"A wonderful two weeks—a continuous treat" enthused Vetta Alexis, one of our happy participants from London, one of 16 who enrolled for both Ot Azoy! and KlezFest and who as a direct result has now enrolled on a post graduate Yiddish course at UCL.

KlezFest
It is difficult to describe KlezFest until you have been there. One can't imagine the power of the music and the Yiddish language to move you, physically to dance and sing and to take you on a spiritual journey into your heritage. The newcomers were as enthusiastically caught up with the rich atmosphere as those who had returned for a second year. Many of the participants had no other connection to their Jewish heritage. They felt they had "come home" and had "discovered their family".

Parts of London also rang out with the glories of KlezFest with music and dancing in Regents Park, a sold out concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and new bands featured at The Spitz.

Klezmer Klimax
Simon Broughton, writer and broadcaster wrote in the Evening Standard about the Klezmer Klimax concert at QEH:

'This concert already seems to be going down in klezmer history as something special. The 'hosts' were Frank London and his Klezmer Brass Allstars, a punchy eight-piece outfit of clarinets and brass, and they were joined by a veritable Who's Who of (mainly American) performers of Klezmer and Yiddish music in London for a week-long workshop at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). As Frank London said, this was a world-premiere concert that would probably never happen again—and you could feel the excitement of genuine spontaneity. Frank looked like a devilish pied piper as he leapt around the stage in a flame-red shirt, holding his trumpet with one hand and making cabbalistic gestures to the musicians with the other. This was ballsy music—Jewish meets Balkan Gypsy wedding band—that fizzed with energy and nervous tension. ... More than a sum of its parts, the evening was a reminder of the sheer power of musicians firmly rooted in their tradition and able to take liberties with it.'

Simon Broughton will give a pre-concert talk at the QEH on Wed 27 November before the Gregori Schechter concert.

"Thanks for organising the KlezFest. It was a marvellous experience with superb music all around, so much good teaching and encouragement" – Peter Verity, Edinburgh.

"I had big hopes for KlezFest and they all came true" – Hjortur Hjartarson, Iceland.

It was a week that changed lives, brought people into the family and gave them something that they can perform, teach to others or just look back on with great pleasure.

Klezmer Classes at SOAS
If you would like to continue (or indeed start) with Klezmer lessons, JMI, with the Department of Music at SOAS, is holding weekly Wednesday classes at SOAS led by violinist Ilana Cravitz, starting on 9 October.

There will also be workshops on Jan 1 and 2 2003 with much loved international instructors Deborah Strauss and Jeff Warschauer. You might like to come to our first ever Klezmer New Year's Eve Party telephone 020 8909 2445 or email for details.

Next year's KlezFest is scheduled for 6–10 July 2003.

Ot Azoy! This is the Way...
The model of a one-week intensive high quality Yiddish course proved outstandingly successful. Fifty people from the UK, Germany, Israel and America came together and could not believe what they were beingoffered.

"The teachers immediately imbued us with such enthusiasm with their obvious passion and love - and we have been 'injected' with their generosity of spirit and talent—amazing!" … "at the end of this week, I feel different inside — not more Jewish — just more emotionally attached to my cultural background"….

The success of these courses was due to the wonderful quality commitment, generosity and passion of the teachers. If you would like to sign up for Ot Azoy 2003 (29 June–4 July) telephone 020 8909 2445 or email.

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JMI Millennium Awards

The Jewish Music Institute continues to see the fruits of the JMI Millennium Grants where Awardees with brilliant projects use Jewish music to benefit their communities and to increase understanding and awareness of the Jewish heritage for all.

Vivien Ellis looked at the Jewish heritage in London's East End. She brought together children from a local East End school and elders from the Stepney Jewish Day Centre. In their musical interaction the youngsters learned about the past and it was also a therapeutic activity for the elders as through their reminiscences their memories were stirred.

Together with two musicians and the children from the Ben Johnson School she participated in the Spitalfields Festival earlier this Summer. Joan Noble the JMI Millennium Award Manager found it a truly emotional experience, fulfilling all the aspirations of the award scheme as she, a Jewess, sat in church, hearing and watching Christian, Hindu and Muslim children sing Yiddish songs led and inspired by a Christian teacher.

The complex topic of Music and Racial Politics has benefited from two awards, one to Alex Rehding, who held a four-day meeting in Cambridge in August. Another conference will take place at Royal Holloway University of London in October, arranged by Awardee Julie Brown. Both have been able to bring eminent speakers together from the UK and abroad and publish the papers for the JMI library.

Klezmer up north has had a huge boost with awards to a group of four amateur musicians in Sheffield, mentored by David Hayes, who are offering workshops, and masterclasses in klezmer music and dance. See their website www.klezmercontact.org.uk for all the details. Manchester is also celebrating klezmer as Sue Cooper and Ros Hawley set up their workshops and masterclasses in Bridgewater Hall and bring all participants together for a concert at the end of the year called 'Klezmer Big Band'.

JMI has now given away 50 awards. Fifty projects of Jewish music are being pursued across the country. There are still outstanding applicants knocking at our doors for grants and sadly our Millennium funds are used up. We are looking for alternative sources of funding. If you know someone who might like to endow or donate an award of approximately £2,500–£3000 please contact Joan Noble joan.n[at]btinternet.com or 020 8909 2966.

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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.