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JMI Newsletter No. 7
posted 10 June 2003

Eastern European Jewish Culture

1. Yiddish Culture to be Honoured at the House of Commons

A reception will be held in the Members Dining Room at the House of Commons on Thursday July 10 from 4pm—6pm to inaugurate the Jewish Music Institute's International Forum for Yiddish Culture (IFYC). Host and Vice President of the Forum, Lord Janner said. 'I am delighted to welcome this sign of the rebirth of a great Jewish culture and where better than from the Mother of Parliaments'. This historic ceremony at the House of Commons, highlighting the importance of the culture that flourished in London's East End, will follow an evening of Songs and Stories of the Yiddish World, hosted by Michael Grade CBE (Chairman of Camelot, former Head of Channel 4 TV and a fluent Yiddish speaker) who is also a Vice President of the new Forum. This takes place at SOAS University of London at 8.00pm Wednesday 9 July. This event will be co-ordinated by Zalmen Mlotek, (the third of the Triumvirate of Vice Presidents) who is also the Director of the Yiddish Theatre in New York. These events will be the culmination of the JMI Summer programmes- in Yiddish language, folklore, music, song and dance at SOAS. Dating from the 10th century, Yiddish fuses Germanic dialects, Hebrew language and scripts and Slavic languages in what became the leading vernacular of European Jews. Immigrants brought it to the UK along with a rich tradition of literature, theatre and journalism, led by such writers as Sholem Aleichem and I.L. Peretz. It has a richness that English can't help but borrow: mensch for decent and good-hearted person; mitzvahs for good deeds and other things we admire; chutzpah, for audacity. During World War II, half of the world's 11 million Yiddish speakers were killed by the Nazis and their allies. Among Jews who settled in the US, the UK and Western Europe, Yiddish faded fast in the mill of assimilation. Now enrolment in Yiddish-language programmes has grown steadily over the past two decades at many secular universities, including Columbia NY; Oxford; UCL and SOAS both part of the university of london. The JMI International Forum for Yiddish Culture will collaborate with many organisations at home and abroad active in this field such as the newly founded Jewish East End Celebration Society, the Jewish Museum, The Spiro Ark, Springboard, Jewish Renaissance and SOAS, in programmes of Yiddish language, music and culture. Yiddish musical culture, along with the genres of Sephardi music, synagogue music, classical music and music suppressed by the Third Reich is one of the elements that make up the work of the Jewish Music Institute. Newsletter readers who would like to attend the summer courses or any of the celebratory events should telephone 020 8909 2445, or email.

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2. First UK Jewish Music Library Inaugurated

(l-r) Dr. Christian Meyer, Director of the Schoenberg Institute, Vienna opens the JMI Library SOAS with Nimrod Schwart Oud Player, Geraldine Auerbach MBE Director JMI, Lady Lipworth Joint Chairman of JMI, Lady Solti and Leopold Rothschild CBE Joint Presidents of JMI (Photo: John Rifkin)


The new Jewish Music Institute Library was opened on 18 March at SOAS by Dr Christian Meyer, Director of the Schoenberg Institute, Vienna. He brought greetings from his Institute which houses the Schoenberg archive as well as a concert hall and exhibition gallery. In his opening speech Dr Meyer remarked how Arnold Schoenberg had supported Jewish music Institutes and scholarship. Over 200 people enjoyed a variety of Jewish music from Yemenite love songs to Yiddish Tangos and choral music as well as being entertained by 20 members of the SOAS Klezmer Classes.

Message from Tessa Jowell
This is the first library in this country dedicated to books, scores, and recordings of Jewish music, open to scholars and the public. The Secretary of State for Culture media and Sport, the Rt. Hon. Tessa Jowell, MP sent the following message: 'Jewish music traces the development of a race with a recorded history of some 4000 years and one that has occupied just about every quarter of our inhabitable world. As a musical form it has a richness and variety that can hardly be equalled anywhere. Indeed, music is a strong thread that helps to keep alive the link between the traditional and modern Jewish worlds'. She went on to say 'I see one of the library's roles as helping to strengthen that link and to maintain the coherence of the Jewish communities across our country. But, more than that, I hope the library can play a full part towards what I believe is our growing interest and understanding of the diverse cultures that do so much to enrich the fabric of modern Britain'.
Leopold de Rothschild CBE who welcomed everyone including his Joint President, Lady Solti, remembered the unique Lord Menuhin — his predecessor as President of JMI — who had inaugurated Jewish Music Studies at SOAS four years ago. Leo paid tribute to SOAS for its vision in embracing Jewish music and in inviting JMI to join them. He praised the JMI 'for creating access to Jewish culture across all faiths and levels of involvement, a key manifestation of the age-old power of music to promote that cross-cultural understanding and empathy so crucial today'.

Other speakers were Keith Webster, Head of Information Services and Strategy at SOAS, who hoped the JMI Library would join his initiative of Reshet a database of Hebraica across several Institutes and become more closely associated with the SOAS library. Messages were also delivered by David Hughes, Chairman of the Department of Music at SOAS; Janet Topp Fargion Director, Director of the International Collection, British Library, Sound Archive and Pamela Thompson, Head of Music at the Royal College of Music and immediate Past President of the International Association of Music Libraries Archives and Documentation Centres. Messages were also received from Institutes across the world with which JMI has established collaboration such as Monash University in Melbourne, Brandeis and Pennsylvania Universities in the USA and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Geraldine Auerbach MBE Director of JMI, introduced a short film by TV producer Ruti Frensdorff, to illustrate some of the contents and the unique collections in the library. She described the special research database for printed and recorded music Keynote designed for JMI by Gregori Schechter's Dedoc Software Company, in consultation with British Library Sound Archive. Special features are full instrumentation and a searchable tune manager. All the data is easily uploaded onto the Web. This makes the Jewish Music Institute Library available not only at SOAS but worldwide. A prototype of keynote can be seen here. Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund JMI is able to preserve the collections and make them accessible to the public. The evening included music of the Balinese Gamelan indicating the enormous range of music taught at SOAS and this important milestone in Jewish music in this country concluded with refreshments and more music in the gallery.

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3. Jewish Music in Barbican Festival


Frank London and shimmering Brass

X-BLOC REUNION
Between 23—31 May, YaDarts and the Barbican will present X-BLOC REUNION a musically explosive Festival bringing over 30 'urban and ethnic' bands from all over the Eastern Bloc — a tremendous achievement for Yadarts, the young Jewish Arts organisation, which was encouraged into establishment by Geraldine Auerbach of JMI in 1999, and is spearheaded by the enthusiastic Oxford graduates Jonathan Walton and Josephine Burton.

Jewish Music in context
Jonathan, a fluent Russian speaker and music Masters Degree student at SOAS who has done fieldwork in Eastern Europe and who proposed the Festival to the Barbican, told JMI 'One of the main things we really wanted to do was to give Jewish music its rightful place in European music. I saw this Festival as a wonderful opportunity to show the context in which both Klezmer and Sephardic music flourished and made their impact across Central and Eastern Europe'. To emphasise this, The Barbican has invited Frank London the acclaimed trumpeter of the Klezmatics et al, to join forces with a Serbian Brass Band and invited Ankica Petrovic from Sarajevo, to give a talk on traditional Sevdah music from Bosnia which shows much Sephardic influence. The Barbican has also invited the Kharkov Klezmer Band, (which has been a regular visitor to JMI's London KlezFest) to show the revival of Jewish music in the Ukraine. X-BLOC REUNION will feature concerts in the Barbican Hall and Theatre and in the newly opened St Luke's Church. There will be afternoon performances on the Free Stage over the bank holiday weekend and on the postshow Clubstage. Thrilling, refined, outrageous, spiritual, wild, funky and indescribable doesn't begin to sum it up. The old bloc swings... For more details telephone the Barbican on 020 7638 8891

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4. Michael Haas Honoured for Suppressed Music


Michael Kohlhaas (left) with
Berthold Goldschmidt in discussion
about one of their recordings

IFSM Research Director, Michael Haas, has been honoured for his work in bringing to public attention the works of so many composers exiled, banned or murdered by the Third Reich.
For the second year running Michael has been awarded the JMI David Uri Memorial Fellowship particularly for his ongoing work in the field of 'Continental Britons — The Émigré Composers'. The award is the gift of Sandra Blackman and her family who admire the pioneering work that Michael is doing at JMI for composers who came to Britain. Following the two concerts and Seminar last year, Michael has recorded the little known works of Hans Gàl, Peter Gellhorn, Berthold Goldschmidt, Karl Rankl, Franz Reizenstein, Mátyás Seiber, Leopold Spinner, Vilém Tausky, Egon Wellesz. These works, which received welcome critical attention, will be issued on CD in the autumn on the prestigious Andante Label.

Music Award for Michael Haas
In the recent awards for Jewish Culture promoted by the LJCC, Michael was singled out for the music award for his work. In his acceptance speech Michael noted that the composers he represented would have been pleased to hear of the award. He also acknowledged the support of JMI's Geraldine Auerbach and all the JMI IFSM Committee for their contribution to his ongoing work in this field.

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5. JMI Presents Concert in Vienna Festival

JMI IFSM will be presenting a concert of 'Continental Britons' in Vienna on 13 May for the opening of an amazing exhibition at the Jewish Museum there, on Jews and the Music Metropolis Vienna. This concert and exhibition are also part of the Vienna Festival. IFSM is taking Erik Levi (pianist and lecturer in music at Royal Holloway University of London and author of Music in the Third Reich) and Christian Immler, the prize-winning baritone, who has taken this repertoire to his heart, to Vienna for the opening concert of this exhibition. They will be performing songs by Mahler, Gàl, Rankl and Wellesz. Michael Haas is one of the curators of this major exhibition called Quasi una Fantasia and of its associated concerts. For the first time the role of Jews in Viennese musical life is examined in detail. In 1881 the Ringtheater went up in flames. More than 900 people died in the inferno, almost half of them Jews. Nearly a third of the students at the Conservatory in 1895 were Jewish. Music had become the language of assimilation for the children of immigrants. Soon Jewish composers, performers and sponsors were considerably influencing Vienna's music scene. Many, like Mahler and Schoenberg, were pioneers of modern music, while others, like Kàlman and Oscar Straus, contributed to Vienna's reputation as a city of music through their operettas. Quasi una Fantasia, which will be presented in the framework of Wiener Festwochen 2003, highlights these developments, while also showing the limits of music as a language of assimilation. It documents the expulsion and murder of Jewish musicians between 1938 and 1945, follows them into exile and takes a critical look at Vienna as a city of music since 1945.
See the website for further details www.jmw.at

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6. Goldschmidt Discovery Day Hampstead — Berthold's Words and Music in Hampstead on Sunday 18 May

JMI is supporting the Hampstead and Highgate Festival in presenting a special day-long event in celebration of the centenary of Berthold Goldschmidt, refugee composer, who spent the last half century of his life in Hampstead. The event on 18 May is at Jackson's Lane, Archway Road, N6 and consists of a Seminar from 2.30—6.00pm on Goldschmidt and his music. These will be discussed and illustrated, with archive recordings, by Bernard Keeffe, Lewis Foreman, David Matthews, Daniel Snowman and others. There will be an evening concert of Goldschmidt's chamber music and songs. You can book for both events together at a special price of £15 (£12 concessions) from 020 7794 0022.
The website is www.hampsteadandhighgatefestival.co.uk.
You can also go to the Boosey and Hawkes site to see all the performances of Goldschmidt 's music scheduled for the centenary year.

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7. JMI Newsletter Wins Award

The JMI newsletter was awarded first prize in the non-Synagogue section at the recent annual Board of Deputies seminar for community magazine editors and Newsletters. It was praised for its good design, variety of photographs and wide range of interesting articles for its readership — from 'Continental Britons' to Spitalfields Festival, Jewish and Christian music at Norwich Cathedral and summer Yiddish programmes. Thanks must go to Geraldine Auerbach MBE Director of JMI who Edits the Newsletter and Anthony Auerbach of Vargas Organisation Design Strategies for the excellent design for the Newsletter and for JMI letterheads, programmes and publications. Many thanks too to Betty Collick the Deputy Editor and all those who contribute articles and ideas, proofread and supply photographs and to Graham and Tricia at Cavalier who set and print it.

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8. JMI Summer Programmes: Choral Festival


Shabaton Choir in Selichot Service at Heydon Synagogue
(Photograph: Alan Fish)

First Jewish Choral Festival in London 16—26 June 2003 For ten days in June, London will resound with Jewish choral music when choirs and choristers from all over Europe come together for the first JMI international Choir Festival in London, set up in memory of colleague Barry Weinberg. A JMI Millennium award to Vivienne Bellos will bring renowned choral director, Stephen Glass from Montreal to run workshops and masterclasses for choirmasters and choristers each evening focusing on the music of the Synagogue. These will be hosted by London's most significant choirs: The Zemel Choir, Alyth Choral Society, Neimah Singers, Shabbaton Choir and the London Jewish Male Choir. Stephen will cover all aspects of choral singing and conduct rehearsals each evening for massed male voice, children's voice and mixed voice choirs, culminating in a final concert at St John's, Smith Square on Thursday 26 June. This concert is open to the public. Telephone 020 7222 1061 for tickets.
During the afternoons Stephen will go into schools to work with the teachers and children. The Jewish Youth Choir will be hosting the massed children's choir rehearsals and will begin weekly rehearsals of the repertoire in the summer term. All children between the ages of 8 and 16 who wish to participate in this very exciting event are encouraged to attend these weekly rehearsals.
There will be a full day of workshops and masterclasses on Sunday 22 June, particularly useful for choirs out of London. That evening the participating choirs will sing to each other and to the public in a choir to choir concert at SOAS, which is free of charge.
If you sing in your synagogue, community or school; if you have a successful choir or would like to improve; if you are a music teacher and need help inspiring your children to sing; if you are interested in participating in any kind of Jewish choral singing, then this is for you!
The cost of participating in the whole event is only £25 per person. For children it's £5 and any choirmaster bringing at least ten choristers will be welcomed free.
The JMI Barry Weinberg Choral Festival is supported by the Barry Weinberg Fund for Jewish Music and the Jewish Chronicle. It is being organised by Vivienne Bellos. Please contact Viv on 020 8883 1773 or email for further details.

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9. Yiddish Language Course, Ot Azoy!

Ot Azoy! — This is the way
(Sunday 29 June — Friday 4 July 2003)

The hugely enjoyable and effective course called Ot Azoy! This is the way — to speak, read and write Yiddish in a week! is ideal for those who never before dared to join a longer programme, but would love to see if they could engage with Yiddish. It is also for those who are already at intermediate level and even above. The course is led, as last year, by the popular faculty of Khayele Beer, of University College London with Pesakh Fiszman of Columbia NY and Sonia Dratwa-Pinkusowitz of the Martin Buber Institute Brussels.
Ot Azoy! opens on Sunday 29th June with registration at SOAS at 11:00am, followed by an afternoon from 2.30pm at the Bandstand in Regent's Park. Khayele will set some yiddish nature tasks and everyone will be taught a Yiddish song. The public is also invited to bring an instrument and join in Klezmer music and dance as well as listen to Yiddish songs and Klezmer bands.
Evenings will be filled with interesting Yiddish events, free to those registered for Ot Azoy! and open to friends, family and the public for a small charge. Tel JMI on 020 8909 2445

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10. KlezFest: Music, Dance and Song

KlezFest London 2003 (6—10 July 2003)
KlezFest opens at the South Bank on Sunday 6 July, with a workshop, films and performances open to the public, who are also invited to bring an instrument and join the biggest klezmer band in the UK. Writer, filmmaker and broadcaster, Simon Broughton will introduce his BBC film on the history and revival of Klezmer. Bands attending as a group will perform to the public in 'Klezmer: the New Generation' in the RFH foyer on Sunday afternoon.
Music co-ordinator Alan Bern (piano and accordion) has prepared a vigorous curriculum for the following four days at SOAS with clear emphasis on the origin, technique and repertoire of klezmer music. He will be joined by Klezmer luminaries Michael Alpert for dance, Frank London for brass, Deborah Strauss and Sophie Solomon for violin, Kurt Bjorling and Christian Dawid for clarinet, Jeff Warschauer plucked strings, Stuart Brotman for the bass line instruments, and Josh Dolgin the master of Hip Hop Klez. There will be masterclasses for Yiddish song as well as the fabulous Yiddish chorus, led by the incomparable Zalmen Mlotek.

Concerts Open to the Public:
Solomon and Socalled's HipHopKhasene
On Sunday 6 July, klezmer Klimax II at the Queen Elizabeth Hall will feature the world's ultimate klezmer performers and the première of the traditional wedding suite — hip hop style. In Solomon and Socalled's HipHopKhasene acclaimed clarinettist David Krakauer (Klezmer Madness et al) is the 'best man', violinist Sophie Solomon (Oi-Va-Voi) the 'bride'. They combine haunting Old World refrains with the cutting-edge New World beats, and samples of 'groom' Socalled (Josh Dolgin). Shtetl MC will be none other than Yiddish scholar, teacher and performer Michael Alpert, Wedding guests will be Frank London (Klezmatics et al), Alan Bern (Brave Old World) and others. This project was developed by Sophie with a grant from the JMI Millennium awards. DJ Max Reinhardt has called it A work of great chutzpah and genius. This will be a landmark British klezmer event. The CD will be issued shortly by Pirahna. The concert will also feature Klezmer stars such as Brave Old World, The Strauss Warschauer Duo, Christian Dawid and others. Tickets £25, £20, £15, £10 concessions £2 off from the Royal Festival Hall Box Office 020 7960 4242.

Songs and Stories of the Yiddish World hosted by Michael Grade
CBE Michael Grade CBE, Chairman of Camelot and a fluent Yiddish Speaker, hosts a concert that will evoke the Yiddish world of music, poetry and literature. Yiddish songs will be presented by Zalmen Mlotek of the Yiddish Theatre and stories will be told by Pesakh Fiszman of Columbia University, New York. This concert at SOAS on 9 July at 8.00pm, (together with a ceremony at the House of Commons, hosted by Lord Janner, on 10 July) marks the inauguration of the JMI International Forum for Yiddish Culture. Tickets for this are £20, concessions £15 available in advance from JMI, Tel 020 8909 2445 email. There are discounts for coming to both courses and early booking discounts if booking by May 31. There are student rates and some scholarships may be available.
For more details and registration forms, telephone JMI 020 8909 2445 email
Ot Azoy! and KlezFest are organised and presented by the Jewish Music Institute SOAS, University of London in association with the Department of Music and Language Centre SOAS, YaDarts and supported by the Jewish Chronicle. They are also part of the first World Music Summer School at SOAS, where you can also study Indian, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian music and dance.

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11. JMI Autumn Series — Jewish Music Performances

JMI will once more present a series of prestigious and varied Jewish music performances this autumn, starting with a concert at St John's, Smith Square on 15 October to celebrate the 50th birthday of composer and music Director of the Yehudi Menuhin School, Malcolm Singer.

Hungarian Jewish culture day at the South Bank
The highlight will be a day of Hungarian Jewish culture on Sunday 30 November. As part of Hugary in Focus, this day will feature the Gyor Ballet Company with ballets 'Purim' and 'Klezmer Suite' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The famous Budapest Klezmer Band has written and will perform the music for these ballets. Klezmer Suite will be accompanied as well by the renowned Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, who will also be performing in concert with the acclaimed Israeli/Canadian/British violist Rivka Golani, in the Purcell Room. The Hungarian Nobel laureate for literature will give a talk and there will be a poignant photographic exhibition of Jewish gravestones in Hungary in the QEH Foyer.

Concert for Peace
On 30 October JMI is pleased to be associated with a concert by the Israel Chamber Orchestra, conductor Ada Pelleg at St John's, Smith Square. This concert will highlight the village of Neveh Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam, an oasis of peace in Israel, where Jewish and Arab families have chosen to live together committed to working through problems and difficulties.

Upbeat notes at the Union Chapel
The atmospheric Union Chapel in Islington will be the venue for four stimulating events. On 9 November we present, together with The Spiro Ark, the eagerly anticipated, Tangele — The Pulse of Yiddish Tango, the second concert by Lloica Czackis's Ensemble — this time including dancers — after last year's sell-out success at The Spitz. The Tango theme will be continued on 23 November, with a return visit of the remarkable Giora Feidman quartet, appearing after a gap of 13 years with a new programme of Klezmer/Tango. On 20 November the international Klezmer theme includes The World Quintet of Switzerland who will fill the Chapel with wonderful jazzy klezmer sounds. The Union Chapel series will finish with a performance by the outstanding Budapest Klezmer Band on Saturday 29 November, which will herald the day of Hungarian Jewish music and dance at the South Bank Centre the following day.
To be sure that you receive advance information, join the friends of JMI or telephone 020 8909 2445 email.

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12. Events in the Jewish Art Festival March 2003

Three talks on Oriental and African Jewish Music
Alexander Knapp, Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music at SOAS chaired two interesting lectures on Algerian and Baghdadi Jewish music and delivered a fascinating illustrated talk on Ethiopian Jewish music in the recent lunch-hour series. Maurice El Medioni, 74 year old Algerian-Jewish pianist was interviewed by Jonathan Walton and performed his spectacular blend of Andalous, Rai, Boogie Woogie, Klezmer and traditional French Chanson. Dr Sara Manasseh ethnomusicologist, researcher, lecturer and performer of music in the Jewish Babylonian (Iraqi) tradition, in a timely talk, spoke and showed slides about the Jewish community of Baghdad in the 19th and 20th centuries and its involvement in music and how its traditions transferred later with its community to Bombay. Alex described the traditional life-style, languages, and religious observances of the Ethiopian Jews, and aspects of their distinctive vocal and instrumental musics, as practiced both in Ethiopia and more recently in Israel. The talks were presented by JMI in association with the Department of Music and the Centre for Jewish Studies SOAS.

Synagogue Music — Renaissance? Revision? Regression?
The British Jewish Music Network posed questions on the state of synagogue music in this country to a distinguished panel including Synagogue and Church music directors. What was happening in Orthodox and Progressive communities and ways of keeping alive the interest from the congregation in liturgical music were aired under the chairmanship of Alex Knapp. A good example of Jewish choral singing was supplied by the choir of Southgate Synagogue who opened the meeting with some rousing and moving psalms.

Music and the Holocaust — 4 Talks and an Opera
Five different aspects of music and the Holocaust began with a talk by Bernard Keeffe at the Wiener Library on Berthold Goldschmidt 1903 — 1996, refugee composer in Great Britain. With Berthold's own word and music, his extraordinary life was revealed, from the artistic ferment of Berlin in the 20s through exile to his glorious international renaissance in the last years.
Jane Liddell-King, of the University of Cambridge explored the music and life of Charlotte Salomon, murdered aged 26, painter of the extraordinary series of autobiographical images 'Life or Theatre?' shown at the Royal Academy of Art in 1998.
In Tangele — The Pulse of Yiddish Tango, Lloica Czackis, mezzo-soprano explored the history and performed examples of this fascinating 'cross-over'. South American rhythms combined with the language and culture of the Eastern European Jews, flourished during the 1930s and 40s in Argentina, New York and in ghettos and concentration camps in Nazi Europe.
Clive Marks gave an Illustrated talk on Dmitri Shostakovich showing Jewish melodies in his chamber music, songs and the great Babi Yar Symphony.
JMI supported the innovative production by Opera Up Close of The Kaiser of Atlantis, the Terezin Opera of Viktor Ullmann with its jazz-influenced orchestra, darkly comic libretto and bold theatricality. In this intimate performance, directed by Russell Plows, the audience found themselves faced with being recruited by Hitler's fanatical drummer, seeing the Kaiser monitoring his murderous plans and yet on the other hand seeing the opportunities that can arise when Death refuses to play ball and goes on strike! The five performances were very impressive and the production has been invited to other Festivals across the country.

Three concerts in our Hot Beats on Rye series at The Spitz
JMI promoted three upbeat and enjoyable concerts at The Spitz in Old Spitalfields market. Maurice Chernick's Klezmer Band, Shir who stood in at short notice for Gregori Schechter (who was sadly called to Israel for a family bereavement) Lucie Skeaping and The Burning Bush who gave their usual exemplary performance of music from the Old Jewish world and newcomers Los Desterrados, 6 young dedicated players and vocalists, who perform Sephardi repertoire all charmed their audiences and created a happy atmosphere in this appealing venue.

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13. Jewish Music Around the Country with JMI Millenium Awardees

The Zemel Choir appoints JMI award winner Ben Wolf
The Zemel Choir has just appointed the young composer and conductor Benjamin Wolf as their new Musical Director. Ben is a JMI Millennium Award winner and his project "L'Chaim", is a composition for piano and orchestra. He is now completing this work and will perform it in 2003. Ben was a choral scholar at University College Oxford where he studied classics gaining a double first. He was awarded a distinction from Trinity College of Music, London for a Postgraduate Diploma in Conducting, with composition as a second study. He has also composed a number of works for instruments, solo voice and choral motets, some of which also have Jewish connections. The Zemel Choir will be a host choir in the JMI Barry Weinberg Jewish Choral Festival.

Yiddish songs at the Chard Festival Somerset
Judith Silver ended her project with a wonderful full-length concert at the Bull Theatre, Barnet. Since then she has continued performing, teaching and composing Yiddish songs. She is a regular attendee at Friends of Yiddish, the group that has met on a Saturday afternoon at Toynbee Studios in Commercial Street, for nearly a century. She works with poet Leah Thorn in schools in Hammersmith and Fulham, recently as Artists in Residents on the theme of Pesach (Slavery and Freedom) and they celebrated a Passover Third Seder with Black and Jewish participants. Some of her Yiddish compositions will be premiered at the Chard Festival of Women in Music in Somerset this season, where she will also conduct a workshop in Yiddish song.

Christopher Wintle's book on Hans Keller to launch at the Freud museum
The launch of Christopher Wintle's Millennium project book Hans Keller Music and Psychology: From Vienna to London 1939-52 will take place at the Freud Museum on Wednesday 4 June 6.30—8.30pm. For three or four decades after the Second World War, musical thinking in Britain was dominated by psychology. Among the earliest of the musical Freudians was Hans Keller (1919-85), an émigré from Vienna who later became a charismatic figure at the BBC and a trenchant commentator on a host of issues (including football). He arrived in London soon after the Kristallnacht of 1938, and from then until 1952 (a watershed year in his development as a critic) he collaborated with leading sociologists and psychoanalysts in studies of politics, society, gender and sex. He also devised new ways of writing about music.

Lloica on the cover of the Jewish Quarterly and in concert on 9 November

The charming Lloica Czackis is the cover girl of the Spring edition of the prestigious magazine of Jewish culture in Britain. Her article on the origins and development of Yiddish tango in Buenos Aries, in New York and in Europe, based on her Millennium award project is published inside. Since her sell-out concert at the Spitz last year, Lloica has been invited to Leeds, Bristol and Cardiff to give a lecture illustrated with transparencies and live performances on this subject. The next one will take place on the opening night of Ot Azoy! at SOAS on Sunday 29 June. Tickets are £8 and concessions £6. Lloica and the Tangele Ensemble will present the full blown concert with dancers at the Union Chapel on Sunday 9 November presented by JMI together with The Spiro Ark. Anyone wanting to catch these should telephone JMI on 020 8909 2445.

Gill Epstein commissions a New Cantata
Gill Epstein's new commission for the Alyth Choral Society, Musical Director Vivienne Bellos, was reviewed by Malcolm Miller (another Millennium Award winner) thus: Flowing Medieval Hebrew poetry and rich choral sonorities distinguished the new cantata 'The Death of Moses' by the London-based composer Julian Dawes, which received an impressive and enjoyable world premiere An experienced composer for the theatre, Dawes's accessible setting is in nine sections, with verses depicting Moses' questioning his fate dramatised by a narrator — the actor David Sibley — and choruses that range from angelically lyrical to dance-like and jazzy. Malcolm concludes that 'The cantata is a useful and appealing addition to the choral repertoire, eminently performable though also stretching, with contrapuntal textures and lots of dialogue between men and women sections. The performance was part of the London Jewish Arts Festival.

Sophie Solomon and the Hip Hop Wedding suite

Sophie Solomon violinist of Oi-Va-Voi brought international performers to join in her Millennium project of setting a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish wedding suite in the hip-hop idiom. The finished product has been premièred in New York and the recording that was part of the award has now been signed to the prestigious Piranha record label in Germany. JMI will present the London première of the live show Solomon and Socalleds HipHopKhasene on the opening night of KlezFest (6 July) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Sophie was hailed as the revelation of last year's Krakow Jewish Music Festival, and now teaches klezmer in weekly classes at SOAS where her students find her classes 'inspirational'.

Ed Emery to lead a Muwashahaat conference to SOAS
Ed Emery, whose project is researching the sharing of song by Christians Arabs and Jews in the Mediterranean basin in the middle ages is organising an international conference on the Muwashshah (a mediaeval form of Arabic and Judaic poetry) at SOAS together with the Department of Music and the Centre for Cross Cultural Music and Dance Performance in October 2004. It will include Arabic and Jewish performers, and will attempt to rewrite aspects of the dominant view of medieval Romance culture. Ed is preparing a scenario for a film about the historical Arabo-Judaic origins of the sonnet. He has filmed an interview with the leader of the Moroccan Harir Band, Abdelkader Harir, in which he talks of the shared musical tradition of Arabs and Jews in his native Morocco, and the Andalusian tradition as it was practised by his father.

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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.