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JMI Newsletter No. 8
posted 24 September 2003

Autumn Season Overview

Over 40 amazing events:
Ballets, concerts, recitals, workshops, masterclasses, jams, lecture recitals and 4 fabulous klezmer concerts
13 October—18 December 2003

The Jewish Music Institute is presenting an amazingly rich offering of international artists and music in venues large and small in this year's prestigious Autumn Season. A huge highlight is Hungarian Jewish music, ballet, film and literature on the South Bank on 30 November in an all-day event hosted by Lady Solti, President of JMI. You can enjoy the ballet Purim - featuring the Budapest Klezmer Band live on stage with the Gyõr Ballet Company. The Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra perform with the acclaimed violist Rivka Golani, Bruch's Kol Nidrei, Weber's Hungarian Rondo, also Goldmark, and Bartok. You can see the award winning film The Danube Exodus and hear an assessment of the work and achievements of Hungarian writer, Imre Kertész, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Joint President Leo de Rothschild will also attend this day, which is part of a year-long Festival Magyar Magic, celebrating Hungary's entry to the European Union.
There are four fantastic concerts (Klezmer Beats on Upper Street) at the Union Chapel in Islington: First we welcome back the wonderful Giora Feidman, (23 October) who launched the klezmer revival around the world and first introduced Klezmer to the UK. We present the sultry Lloica Czackis and the Tangele Ensemble (9 November) in a programme of pulsating Yiddish Tangos from Buenos Aires, New York's Yiddish Theatre and the camps of wartime Europe. The World Quintet from Switzerland, who enthralled our audience at the JMI South Bank event last year, bring a new programme of popular and sophisticated jazzy klezmer (20 November) and we present the incredible Budapest Klezmer Band for the first time in the UK (29 November). Tickets are from £17.50 - £14.00, and there is a special rate of £50 for a ticket for all four concerts

The JMI Autumn Season opens on 13 October with a 50th birthday tribute to composer/ conductor Malcolm Singer who has been an inspiration and a rock to JMI over the years, at St John's, Smith Square, (see page 2). There will also be a very special Concert for Peace at St John's (30 October) with Israeli and Palestinian Musicians highlighting the vision of Neve Shalom - Wahat al Salaam the village where Jews and Arabs live and work together in peace.

Many JMI Millennium award winners will be presenting recitals, workshops and masterclasses. For the first time there are Klezmer Jams for musicians to get together. We celebrate the 60th anniversary of the most famous Yiddish play The King of Lampedusa on 14 December. This autumn's feast of Jewish music includes cantorial, classical and Yiddish folk and theatre music and ends on 18 December with a spectacular family Choral Chanukah Concert conducted by Stephen Glass. We hope you will enjoy many of these events with us.

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2. JMI Forum for Yiddish Culture launched

Michael Grade CBE speaking at London University (left) guest participants at the House of Commons: Bernard Mendelovitch and Anna Tzelniker, flank JMI president Lady Solti and JMI Director Geraldine Auerbach MBE (middle) and Lord Janner (right) at the House of Commons, all in praise of Yiddish language and culture at the inauguration of the JMI International Forum for Yiddish Culture, 9 and 10 July 2003.

Michael Grade said 'Yiddish is not dying because my generation, still young enough to remember its power, wants it to survive. I was thrilled to be asked here this evening to lend my support to this Forum. Anything that offers an opportunity to the next generation to my own to discover for themselves the pure joy of Yiddish is an important cultural step forward'. Lord Janner welcomed his guests in Yiddish and spoke of his pleasure in hosting the 'rebirth' of interest in the Yiddish language at the 'Mother of Parliaments'.

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3. Walter Goldsmith to become Chairman of JMI

Walter Goldsmith
Walter Goldsmith

It is with great pleasure that the Jewish Music Institute announces that Walter Goldsmith, FCA CIMgt FRSA will become its new Chairman of Trustees. Walter is a respected and admired leader in the Jewish Community, in the international business world and in public life.

His early career was at Black & Decker where he became managing Director at the age of 32. He subsequently became European Director and then Corporate Vice President and President of the Pacific International Operations, based in Los Angeles. His international responsibilities included Africa, the Middle East, India, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Far East. He was responsible for starting Black & Decker companies in twenty-two countries and launched the famous Black & Decker workmate.
On returning to the United Kingdom in 1979 he was appointed Director General of the Institute of Directors (1979-1984), an international professional body and representative voice for over 30,000 business leaders. He also served as Chairman of the London operation of Korn/Ferry International, the world's largest executive search firm (1984-1986) and Group Planning and Marketing Director for Trusthouse Forte plc (1985 —1987). He has co-authored 4 business books including the bestseller 'The Winning Streak' In the public sector, Walter Goldsmith was Chairman of Food from Britain from 1987 to 1990, the organisation set up by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Food and Drink Industries to promote the marketing of British food and drink at home and abroad. He created with two others the Festival of Food and Farming in Hyde Park in 1989 and 1992 visited by almost a million people. He has served as a Board member on both the English and British Tourist authorities. He is a Freeman of the City of London. Walter was Chairman of Wembley and District Progressive Synagogue for three years. He was the Co-Founder of the Israel Diaspora Trust in 1982 and Chairman of the British Overseas Trade Group for Israel: 1987 — 1991. He was Treasurer of Leo Baeck College (1987-89) and has been a non - executive director of Bank Leumi (UK) plc since 1984. At present he is Chairman or Director or advisor to a number of public and private companies across a wide spread of industries.
Walter has been warmly welcomed to JMI by JMI's outgoing Chairmen Lady Lipworth and Jonathon Lyons (who will now become Vice Presidents) and joint Presidents, Lady Solti and Leopold de Rothschild. Geraldine Auerbach, JMI Director said, 'We are extremely fortunate that Walter Goldsmith will join our active team, and I look forward enormously to working with him'. Walter Goldsmith expressed his enthusiasm for the position by saying 'I am excited by the huge potential of the Jewish Music Institute to embrace the broad spectrum of Jewish music and extend the joy of its inspiration to the whole Jewish community and well beyond'.

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4. The Mendelssohn Society

President, Kurt Masur
Chairman, Jackie Rosenfeld OBE
New Event in December

The Mendelssohn Society, chaired by Jackie Rosenfeld OBE and with Maestro Kurt Mazur as President, which was inaugurated last October, is planning another prestigious event at the Royal Academy of Music on 7 December. This will feature two outstanding young string quartets, the Fidelio and the Belcea, performing quartets and the spectacular Octet that Mendelssohn wrote as a teenager. The Mendelssohn Society explores the life and works of Felix Mendelssohn and raises funds for the Mendelssohn Scholarship for young composers, administered by the heads of the London Music Academies and for scholarships to enable musicians to attend Jewish Music Institute courses and summer schools at SOAS, University of London. Lord Armstrong, who has a great love for the composer, has just joined The Mendlessohn Society as an honoured Patron. To join the Mendelssohn Society and support these causes, please contact JMI, Tel 020 8909 2445 Fax 020 8909 1030

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5. A Celebration of Yiddish Culture in London's East End

The new JMI International Forum for Yiddish Culture (IFYC) is a framework and a platform for Yiddish activities in the UK. Britain has a lot to be proud of in Yiddish culture. Many writers, poets and theatre directors were famous world-wide and a rich culture flourished in the Jewish East End with several daily and weekly newspapers. But today, this is all hidden away: a Friends of Yiddish here, a 'Svive' there, singsongs here, weekly classes there, drama groups here and an annual JMI summer school at SOAS. Most people interested in Yiddish culture in the UK don't even know about the existence of all these.

By launching IFYC in such a public way on July 9/10, with young performers embracing Yiddish music and song and one of our Lords of the Realm speaking in Yiddish at the House of Commons, Anna Tzelniker reciting her father's poem about his beloved Hessel Street Jewish market in the East End of London, Bernard Mendelovitch rendering Shakespeare's Shylock speech in Yiddish and 200 people young and old singing Roshinkes mit Mandeln with the melody wafting out of the windows over the Thames, we have brought all these activists and manifestations together to celebrate Yiddish language, literature, music, song and dance and make it accessible to a new generation. A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will greatly facilitate a number of musical and literary activities including a seminar of Jews in Boxing and interviews with real East Enders. It will particularly support the JMI academies of Yiddish language and song and klezmer music at the University of London next summer. Learning the language provides crucial access to poetry and literature. Many young people find their interest in Yiddish language and culture kindled through music and song.

The 60th anniversary of the opening of the most significant Yiddish play in the UK - perhaps anywhere - The King of Lampedusa will be celebrated with an event in the East End on the afternoon of December 14. IFYC will collaborate here with the Jewish East End Celebration Society (JEECS) and the Jewish Museum. The play will be published in both Yiddish and English for the first time, translated and prepared by Heather Valencia with a foreword by Anna Tzelniker, who performed in the original production.
Of the many organisations collaborating in this project, The Spiro Ark will be setting up a Yiddish Book Club and a monthly session on Yiddish drama and literature starting on 16 October. with David Mazower surveying yiddish theatre in London. Theatre director, Dave Schneider, will explore new and classic plays in open rehearsal and we have a chance to spend time in the company of the last remaining actors of the Yiddish theatre. The Spiro Ark also provides weekly language classes for beginners and more advanced students as does the LJCC and the University of the Third Age. You can read about these in 'Jewish What's Happening in London'.

We invite our readers to become involved with Yiddish Culture. You can join the mailing and emailing lists to receive information, join the book club or write reviews of books, recordings or Yiddish websites for our Newsletter. We are ready to receive donations of books and recordings for our libraries and would be pleased to receive funds (we are also qualified to receive funds from America) for the preservation and celebration of Yiddish.

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6. Slipping off to Yiddishland — KlezFest July 2003

It's that time of year again, when my acquaintances and colleagues give me sideways glances: 'You spent a week doing what?...' If you weren't there, it's difficult to sum up KlezFest in just a few words. While the rest of London was distracted by the Wimbledon final and the hottest weather of the year, eighty or so of us slipped off to Yiddishland for a week. It began in style, with a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall showcasing cutting-edge klezmer music, from the intimate sounds of the Strauss-Warschauer Duo, to supergroup Brave Old World - surely the Beatles of Yiddishland - and a live performance of Solomon and SoCalled's HipHopKhasene. The audience was dancing in the aisles: the KlezFest spirit had arrived.

For four non-stop days we played klezmer music, danced Yiddish dances, ate, breathed, and slept in Yiddish, from a 9am dance session, through repertory, instrumental and ensemble classes, to late-night concerts and jam sessions. Teaching people at all levels, from beginners to advanced klezmorim, the staff were a group of the most respected professionals of today's Yiddish music world. It's difficult to underscore enough the importance of this kind of experience for the developing UK klezmer scene: since the klezmer world is still heavily North America-based, this is one of few opportunities to hear at first hand the best musicians playing klezmer today, and to study with those same musicians, acknowledged world authorities in their fields. And KlezFest is not only an individual experience. Together we worked on freylekhs, bulgars and horas and began to build a shared repertory. Last year, when the staff left the final jam session, away went the klezmer and out came jazz and showtunes. This year, we played and danced klezmer until the small hours. To me, this was one step further in the coming of age of contemporary Yiddish music in the UK: building a community with a common knowledge of tunes, dance steps, and, not forgetting the popular Ot Azoy course, the Yiddish language too. For those new to klezmer, KlezFest offers a week of immersion into not just a music, but a culture and a way of life. For the more experienced, KlezFest is a chance to catch up with old acquaintances and make some new ones, to enjoy speaking Yiddish over the dinner table, to ask questions, share anecdotes and immerse oneself even deeper into the well of Yiddish music. For everyone, it's a place not only to make music of a high calibre, but also to build the shared experiences and memories that make a community. This year certainly ranged from the weird to the wonderful, as KlezFest made a political statement in more ways than one. On the first night, an impromptu klezmer band joined a large anti-fascist demonstration outside SOAS; nobody there that evening will forget how after an hour or so's music drowning out their chants, several members of the National Front were eventually escorted off the scene by the police, followed by a group of musicians, KlezFesters and Marxists, reclaiming the street as we danced a slow hora into Russell Square: the music and dancing in the park continued until dark. Later in the week, we gathered at the House of Commons for an equally memorable reception as part of the inauguration of the JMI International Forum for Yiddish Culture.
As KlezFest moves from strength to strength, then, one thing is clear: Yiddish music is live and kicking, and here to stay in the UK, thanks to the Jewish Music Institute.

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7. The first JMI Barry Weinberg Jewish Choral Festival
16-26 June 2003

Stephen Glass
Stephen Glass
JMI Choral Director

When is the next one? I can't wait!
Michael Morris

Simply put for now... thank you and well done. It was brilliant! Simon Appleman, Head of Music, Jewish Free School

It was thrilling. I very much enjoyed being part of it - as did everyone else. Yes, Stephen is a remarkable young man. Such extraordinary talent. We were very lucky to experience him. I can see now why Barry was so proud of him. And yes, I hope Barry has been around in some other dimension - to witness how we were honouring him, too.
Ruth Sonntag

Seldom does the UK experience Jewish choral singing of such excellence, tonal appeal and discipline as at the performance of modern Jewish choral music at St John's Smith Square on 26 June. This exceptionally fine choral singing was the result of ten days of choir leaders' masterclasses, schools workshops and massed choir rehearsals conducted by the acclaimed choral conductor and arranger Stephen Glass (Barry's nephew) who was invited to be the Artistic Director of the first JMI Barry Weinberg Jewish Choral Festival. Stephen, who grew up in Wembley is now the Music Director of the large Share Hashomayim congregation in Canada.
The Festival was co-ordinated by Vivienne Bellos, Music Director of the North Western Reform Synagogue - who herself has a great reputation and ability to motivate people to sing. It was supported by a JMI Millennium award to Viv to bring Stephen to this country and by the friends and family who set up the Barry Weinberg Fund for Jewish Music. It was hosted by London's most important Jewish choirs: The Zemel Choir, Alyth Choral Society, The Neimah singers and the Shabbaton Choir, as well as the Jewish Youth Choir. Each workshop and rehearsal was enthralling. It was so instructive to hear Stephen share his experience and expertise with choral conductors - and then watch him put those ideas into action as he dealt with all the situations a choir is heir to, in the massed choir rehearsals. He conducted these with such consummate confidence in his knowledge and in his preferences - with such skill in communicating to the choristers, using humour and amazing analogies, that he had choristers eating out of his hands (or hopefully watching his hands so that they sang what he wanted).
One of the highlights was the whole day of Jewish Choral Workshops at SOAS on 22 June. Amongst the presenters, Vivienne Bellos, spoke on vocal technique; the Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music at SOAS, Alexander Knapp, gave a talk on Lewandowski; Benjamin Wolf, the new Zemel Choir conductor, introduced the music of Rossi, and Miki Grahame, the director spoke about her new a capella vocal group Kol Rina. The star of the day however was Stephen Glass himself, working with all voices and chairing a discussion on how to improve and promote your choir.
These glorious and memorable 10 days created a community singing together, brought musical values of the highest calibre and made the children and adults aspire to and achieve them all rejoicing in our most spiritual of pursuits — putting music to our sacred words. Audiences and performers went away enriched and hoping for more. To address this need, JMI has re-established its Synagogue Music Section with the JMI Barry Weinberg Jewish Choral Academy as its flagship. Stephen Glass is willing and can make time available to come to the UK for regular short periods and to dedicate time to local Jewish choirs in synagogues, schools and the community. He will also give much needed repertoire, advice and training to teachers and conductors.

We are delighted to say that Stephen will be coming back in November and December to prepare for a spectacular community Chanukah Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 18 December 2003. Be sure to book your seat early. Barry would have been very proud of this Festival which exemplified those values for which he stood, creative Jewish music in all its forms for the enrichment of the Jewish and the wider community.

JMI invites readers to contribute to the Barry Weinberg Fund for Jewish Music, to support ongoing Jewish choral music training and Festivals. Please send your cheque made out to 'JMI Barry Weinberg Fund' to Barry's sister Myrna Glass, c/o JMI, PO Box 232 Harrow HA1 2NN.

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8. 'Jewish What's Happening in London'

JMI is delighted that the second edition of this popular booklet will be available at all tourist and Jewish outlets this autumn. This includes listings of wonderful Jewish cultural events in the coming season. It is an initiative of the Forum of Jewish Cultural Providers, compiled and published by the new Jewish culture magazine Jewish Renaissance and sponsored by our major cultural providers: the Ben Uri Gallery, the Jewish Museum, the Jewish Music Institute and the London Jewish Cultural Centre. To get your copy of the booklet or the magazine, telephone 020 8876 1891
email: info[at]

'Dynamo Geraldine'
The Summer Issue of Jewish Renaissance quarterly cultural magazine features an in-depth profile of JMI Director Geraldine Auerbach, telling the story of her background and of just how she managed to make such an impact on the revival of Jewish music in the UK. Jewish Renaissance is making a special offer of a free copy of this issue to readers who take out an annual subscription in the next two months.
Just phone 020 8876 1891,
or email sub[at]
and mention this offer or complete the form in Jewish What's Happening in London.

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9. Composer/Conductor Malcolm Singer turns 50

Malcolm Singer, Yehudi Menuhin
Malcolm Singer with Yehudi Menuhin,
St.Pauls Cathedral 1995

JMI honours Malcolm Singer on his 50th birthday with the opening concert of JMI's Autumn season at St John's, Smith Square on 13 October. Malcolm has been an inspiration and a pillar of the activities of the Jewish Music Institute since it was set up in 1984 as the Bnai Brith Jewish Music Festival.

As Musical Director of The Zemel Choir for 10 years, Malcolm encouraged and brought to fruition many of JMI's most exciting projects. He conducted the Zemel together with children's choir and orchestra at the premiere performance of Ronald Senator's Kaddish for Terezin, which took place in Canterbury Cathedral in 1986. With a libretto by Rabbi Dr Albert Friedlander, narrated by the late Rabbi Hugo Gryn, this event was broadcast live by the BBC.

In March 1990 Malcolm led The Zemel Choir up to York and his enthusiasm and participation in the JMI Clifford's Tower commemorative weekend was the umbrella of the whole event. On the Thursday night at St Michael's Church, Malcolm's cantata, York, was premièred, the first of his collaborations with poet and playwright Michelene Wandor. On the Friday night Malcolm led a 40 strong Zemel Choir in a historic Synagogue Service in the city for many years shunned by Jews. The service, held in a Quaker school, was packed to capacity with Quakers, Nuns, Christians and Jews of all descriptions who later all joined in Zemirot in the medieval Merchant Adventurers Hall. (And how we got a hot Kosher Shabbat dinner to York was another story! It was thanks to Judith Unikower). On Saturday morning Malcolm this time conducted the men of Zemel in the music for an orthodox service led by Rev Malcolm Weisman OBE. But that was not all. Malcolm and Zemel, together with members of the York Musical Society and the York University Choir (whom Malcolm had visited in York to train), gave a stunning performance of Ernest Bloch's Sacred Service in York Minster that night, with the late Louis Berkman as cantor soloist and attended by 1200 people. And Malcolm and Zemel were again key performers the following afternoon in the Minster at a magnificent ceremony of conciliation and hope created specially for the occasion by the Canons of York Minster.

In the Festival of the autumn that year, Malcolm presented a centenary concert with three cantors, saluting the father of modern Synagogue music, Salomon Sulzer. This concert was subsequently recorded and the JMI CD is called Viennese Synagogue Music in the Age of Schubert.
Malcolm Singer introduced Malcolm Troup, Professor of Music at City University to Geraldine Auerbach of JMI, and the association resulted in the first ever full time lectureship in Jewish music in a main stream University, teaching undergraduates and postgraduates and holding international conferences. Alexander Knapp was appointed in 1991 and the post was moved to SOAS in 1999.
Bloch's Sacred Service was again featured in a concert conducted by Yehudi Menuhin in St Paul's Cathedral, in the presence of Prince Philip for which Malcolm trained the Zemel Choir, this time joined by the Alyth Choral Society.
After leaving Zemel, Malcolm introduced the BBC Singers to Jewish music and conducted them in a concert of Jewish music from 17th to 20th century as part of the Second International Conference on Jewish Music at City University.
Since Malcolm became Director of Music at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey he has continued his association with the Jewish Music Institute. In November 2000, he helped JMI create a day of tribute to our late President Yehudi Menuhin at the South Bank Centre. Young students from the school performed works that Yehudi was famous for as a child and Malcolm conducted the orchestra in Mendelssohn, Weill and Bloch.
The following year Malcolm and his young orchestra participated in a JMI day of Thwarted Voices: Music Suppressed by the Third Reich, performing works by composers who were exiled or killed. Malcolm was fortunate in reveiving a JMI Millennium Award to record this repertoire which is now available on CD
As a composer, Malcolm has set many psalms and written many works on Jewish themes. In 1996 he wrote a Meditation for the memorial service of Rabbi Hugo Gryn. It is now used in the liturgy of several Reform synagogues and his Elegy for solo violin, written for Yehudi Menuhin's funeral will be heard in the October concert. Malcolm is a valued Consultant to the Jewish Music Institute and we look forward to further activities together in the future.

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10. Brighton Jewish Film and Music Festival

Jewish films for 8 Cities

The UK Jewish Film Festival presents films, music and debate in eight cities across the UK from 25th October to 16th December 2003, and then at the Limmud conference.
Please look at our website for venues, events and further details: telephone 01273 507515 or

Brighton Festival of Jewish Music
6—10 November
Harmony in the Community brings to Brighton a wide range of music of the Jewish Diaspora from Latin America, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the UK. Outstanding artists: Freylekh, the Tangele Ensemble, The Voyagers and The Matzoh Boys, Joglaresa and The Zemel Choir perform at the Komedia Theatre, Brighton University and the beautiful Middle Street Synagogue. Details from Danny Harmony 01273 676 057 Tickets from 01273 647 100

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11. Record and Book Reviews

Forbidden music is 'Editors Choice' in Gramophone Magazine.
October 2003 Rob Cowan writes in Gramophone: Three notable composers, murdered in their prime, are commemorated in performances of rare vitality and conviction by Daniel Hope, Philip Dukes and Paul Watkins.
Divorcing 'forbidden art' from the tragic circumstances of its targeted creators is at best a painfully difficult task. Yet the crucial question remains: how might posterity have viewed Gideon Klein, Hans Krása and Ervín Schulhoff had they lived to stay the course of a regular composing career?
At 25, Klein was the youngest to fall, his gritty String Trio of 1944 having been completed days before he was transported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz. His early Duo for violin and cello lay uncompleted, a pity given that its second movement Lento - played here as Klein left it - was venturing into deep waters. All this music is vital, intelligent, heartfelt and unsentimental. And on occasion, humorous too.
Time and again one notices strange and unexpected things. Wagner, for example, bizarrely at the opening of Krása's disquieting Passacaglia and Fugue (a brief hint at Siegfried's Funeral Music). The folk element is strong throughout, most forcefully in Schulhoff's 1922 Sonata for solo violin, and ingeniously in Krása's five-minute Tanec for string trio, a dazzling mini-masterpiece.It would be all too easy to lavish praise on this programme more out of compassion than as a result of objective critical appraisal, but happily that isn't necessary.
Daniel Hope, Philip Dukes and Paul Watkins play their hearts out, Hope especially - and he contributes an eloquent and informative booklet-note. The disc ends with Hope's touching solo rendition of Ravel's Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. A magnificent CD, whichever way you view it - one to rank alongside Decca's unaccountably deleted Krása/Haas coupling by the Hawthorne Quartet (3/94).

This recording, as well as other recordings of Music Suppressed by the Third Reich is available from Jewish Music Distribution 0800 7811 686 or see the website

The Lord's Song in a Strange Land: Music and Identity in Contemporary Jewish Worship Jeffrey A. Summit OUP 2003
(£14.99 paperback)
The Strange Land is the United States, and more specifically the Boston area. Rabbi Summit offers a new and refreshing approach to Jewish ethnomusicology, an exploration of the eve-of-sabbath musical performance across five leading communities, representing the significant bands of the Jewish spectrum. He has selected each's kabbalat shabbat service, the most recent yet universally accepted addition to our venerable liturgy. Within it he focuses on the much-loved poem lekha dodi, which welcomes the Sabbath portrayed as a bride.
To give us the full picture and atmosphere, Summit introduces each with its historical and social background, with photos, musical examples, and an accompanying CD. The contrasts soon appear: what each regards as "traditional", or unacceptable; their ideal service, their members' attitudes, all expressed in forthright straight talking. He visits in turn the B'nei Or, a neo-hasidic, charismatic, egalitarian, participatory service with a guitar-playing leader, with meditating, deep breathing, rhythmic movement, and a danced-to lekha dodi. Next, Temple Israel is an old-established Reform congregation, decorous, with robed-rabbi. But the older generation, used to Lewandowski's lekha dodi, now tolerate their younger members' tunes, whilst the younger folk just about accept that there can be a cantor solo. This adjustment of the balance between "performance" and participation is a constant problem, with varying solutions, in all the communities.
Summit's own community is the Hillel Centre at Tufts University, which follows the Conservative tradition. Here students from all over the USA and other countries bring their own tunes in a peer-led participatory service. Hence a wide variety of music is offered to lekha dodi. More important, the enthusiastic spirit and opportunity to lead gives confidence and training to young men and women when they return to their own communities. The Sha'arei Tefillah is a modern orthodox synagogue. A knowledgeable congregation, they are against pop tunes and over-much group singing. So their choice of tunes for lekha dodi is limited: they use an Israeli tune regularly but the appropriate seasonal tune at festival times. Finally Beth Pinchas is the synagogue founded by the Bostoner Rebbe, who immigrated to the USA in 1915. This is a typical hasidic community with all the expected fervour and ecstasy of song, dance and joy. Their lekha dodi is a complex mixture of tunes, adapted from melodies of the Modzhitz and Gerer Hasidim.
These samplings lead to a wider discussion of the concept of "nusach", normally understood as meaning the ancient prayer modes, but here differently understood (and valued, qualified, or rejected) by these varying groups. The author asks each in turn how important is it as a concept (whatever its content). Across this great breadth of Jewish religious practice, he poses the same questions: whether and if so how to bring Jewish worship into line with modernity: the virtue of tradition; resistance to innovation; appropriateness of music; the balance of the group's participation against the leader's solo; and what satisifies the spiritual, emotional, intellectual needs of the worshipper. All this is sensitively explored in today's American environment. We need to ask ourselves the same questions.
Victor Tunkel

This book can also be sources through Jewish Music Distribution and is one of many available to browse or borrow from the Jewish Music Institute Library, SOAS Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. Telephone 020 7898 4307 for an appointment to visit the library.

Browse and search Keynote, our recorded and printed music catalogue and go to the SOAS Library website to find the Jewish music books in the Jewish Music Institute Library.

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12. The Soul of the Fiddle

JMI joins The Genius of the Violin Festival
25 March - 4 April 2004
JMI will be a partner with the Royal Academy of Music, the Wigmore Hall and SOAS in the two week Genius of the Violin Festival celebrating the diversity of the violin. JMI will be masterminding and presenting The Soul of the Fiddle a week long exploration of the fiddle in folk traditions from 28 March to 2 April with a 3-day Conference at SOAS, a 3-day hands on practical teaching course at the Royal Academy and a Gala Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (Monday 29 March). This will be a fiddling extravaganza featuring some of the world's most exciting traditional violinists including Eliza Carthy (British), Sven Olav Lyngstad (Norwegian Hardanger), Deborah Strauss and Sophie Solomon (Klezmer), Nedim Nalbantoglou (Turkish), Balu Raguhraman (Indian), and Rick Townend (Bluegrass). Tickets will be £25 - £15 from the Royal Festival Hall Box office T: 020 7960 4242 or
In addition, JMI will participate with Eastern European Jewish Fiddle workshops in the Wigmore Folk Fiddle weekend on 3/4 April.

This important new venture will give scholars, violinists of all persuasions and the general public, an opportunity of getting to the heart of the fiddle in each tradition. More information can be found on the Festival website:

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13. Exploring Yiddish Drama and Literature

A new project of IFYC and The Spiro Ark supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund The newly established JMI International Forum for Yiddish Culture, inaugurated at London University and the House of Commons in July 2003 has set up a monthly series of Illustrated lectures, workshops and performances embracing the rich treasury of Yiddish Drama, Poetry and Literature. This series provides an opportunity of learning about the theatres and companies in Yiddish Theatre in London from the Yiddish Theatre historian, David Mazower, the great-grandson of the great Yiddish writer Sholem Asch (16 October), of working with writer and comedian David Schneider an outstanding theatre director of the younger generation (13 November) and of spending an evening in the company of Anna Tzelniker, one of our greatest living actors from the heyday of Yiddish theatre in London; (4 December) and this could lead to a regular Yiddish drama group being set up in the future as well as more of these kind of events. More details on each evening are in the JMI Autumn Season listings.

These events to create access to the Yiddish Heritage are supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and take place in association with The Spiro Ark, at the New Spiro Ark Centre in the West End. This centre is now also becoming the London House of Yiddish or Yiddish Hoyz and will house the collections of Yiddish Books donated over the years. To explore Yiddish literature and encourage people to read and discuss Yiddish books a new Yiddish Library and Book Club is being set up, where the public may browse and borrow Yiddish books. The Librarian Bess Teeger is looking forward to meeting Yiddish readers. The library will be open initially once a month at the Spiro Ark Yiddish Hoyz from 6.30 pm on the evenings of Exploring Yiddish Drama. Donations of Yiddish books, recordings and other memorabilia will be gladly accepted.

Tickets for the monthly drama events on Thursday nights at 8.00pm cost £5 and there are concessions for seniors, students and unwaged of £3. Costs, if any, to belong to the Book Club have not yet been decided. All costs will be kept as low as possible to encourage those interested in Yiddish to come along. if you would like details of Yiddish classes and events such as the Yiddish Svive, Friends of Yiddish or Yiddish song workshops, contact IFYC co-ordinator, Haike Beruriah Wiegand at
T: 020 8202 2056
email: beruriahwiegand[at]

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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.