Jewish Music Institute Return to JMI  homepage
JMI HomepageAbout JMILatest News and UpdatesWhat is Jewish Music?LibraryJMI NewsletterContact JMISearch the JMI websiteSitemap

Ernest Bloch (1880–1959)
modified 18 July 2007

(Archived page)

Jubilee International Conference and Festival
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of his death

Joint Presidents: Lady Solti and Leopold de Rothschild CBE

Ernest Bloch II
Laurie Munro Bloch
Stephen Cleobury
Denny Dayviss
Philippe Dinkel, Director, Conservatoire de Musique de Genève
Piers Lane
Sir Charles Mackerras, CH, AC, CBE, first recipient of the Queen’s Medal for Music
Itzhak Perlman
Gerard Schwarz, former Music Director, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Jacques Tchamkerten
Ursula Vaughan Williams
David Whelton, Chief Executive, Philharmonia Orchestra
Marguerite Wolff, OBE

Organising Committee:
Geraldine Auerbach MBE, Simon Campion, Betty Collick, Dr Ruth Davis, Dr Alexander Knapp, Dr Malcolm Miller, Dr Ruth Rosenfelder, David Solomon, Rabbi Dr Norman Solomon
Administrator: J Audrey Ellison

The scope of the celebrations:
International Conference
Fitzwilliam College Cambridge University
Sunday 29 July – Tuesday 31 July 2007

Download the Conference Timetable
Download the Registration Form

Presented by Jewish Music Institute, SOAS University of London
Supported by the Nordev Trust

Ernest Bloch: the man and his music for the 21st Century

International Bloch Jubilee Festival 2009
International musical organisations, orchestras, choirs, ensembles, soloists and venues world wide are being invited to include Bloch’s music in their programmes for 2009.

Bloch Jubilee International Conference
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Sunday 29 July – Tuesday 31 July 2007
Ernest Bloch: the man and his music for the 21st Century

Supported by the Nordev Trust

Key Bloch scholars will present papers on many aspects of the man and his music. These presentations will form part of a celebratory publication for the anniversary year 2009. There will be a chamber music recital on the first evening, a banquet on the second, and an entertainment on the third evening.

The conference will include punting on the River Cam and a visit to the famous archive of the Cairo Geniza, housed at Cambridge University Library.

Keynote Speakers:
Philip Bohlman (Chicago)
David Z Kushner (Florida)
Klára Móricz (Amherst, Massachusetts)

Invited Speakers include the following:
Dalia Atlas (Haifa and Tel-Aviv)
Sylvain Frémaux (Oregon)
Jehoash Hirshberg (Jerusalem)
Helen Johnston Kintner (Oregon)
Alexander Knapp (London)
Malcolm Miller (London)
Zecharia Plavin (Tel-Aviv)
David Schiller (Athens, Georgia, USA)
Walter Simmons (New York)
Jonathan Sternberg (Philadelphia)
Peter Tregear (Melbourne)
Joella Werlin (Portland)

will include, among others, re-assessments of Bloch in relation to:
His status in the 21st century
His orchestral works
Performing editions of his student works
His reception in Israel, and his influence upon Israeli art music
Oral histories of the Bloch family, based upon field work and personal experience
Jewish elements in selected works
Chinese elements in selected works
The Sacred Service
Pedagogical materials
Perspectives on Wagner
Issues of identity

Call for Papers and attending the conference:

If you would like to attend this conference or offer a paper

Download the Registration Form here

or request one by contacting:
J Audrey Ellison (Bloch Conference Administrator)
135 Stevenage Road, Fulham, London, SW6 6PB United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7381 9751
Fax:+44 (0)20 7381 2406

Please tell us how you first heard about the Bloch Conference register by downloading the registration form from here.

If you would like to submit a paper for consideration please send an abstract of up to 250 words to reach us by 1 February 2007 to both Alexander Knapp ak42[at] and Audrey Ellison jaellison[at] or contact the conference administrator:
J Audrey Ellison (Bloch Conference Administrator)
135 Stevenage Road, Fulham, London, SW6 6PB United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7381 9751
Fax:+44 (0)20 7381 2406

Abstracts may be sent by hard copy or by email as attachments (in Word documents or in Rich Text Format) but please back up the attachment with a plain-text version in the main e-mail. They should be accompanied by information about the author under the following headings:

Address for correspondence
Phone, Fax, E-Mail
And please attach a CV of up to 150 words

Acceptance of a proposal will be at the discretion of the Conference Academic Board, headed by Dr Alexander Knapp. The Board will make final decisions on abstracts by 28 February 2007, and contributors will be informed very soon thereafter.

It is envisaged that selected papers will be published in a special commemorative book in time for the 50th anniversary of Bloch's death in 2009. Please circulate to anyone you know who may be interested.

Ernest Bloch

Born 24 July 1880 Geneva Switzerland
Died 15 July 1959 Portland Oregon, USA

Ernest Bloch, born in Geneva in 1880, was so admired in his heyday that many considered him the fourth ‘B’ after Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. He was one of the most original composers of the 20th century whose music, whilst intellectually challenging, was accessible to a wide audience. His works were regularly performed from the 1920s to the 1950s, particularly in the USA, UK and Italy.

Now, as we approach the 50th Anniversary of his death in Portland, Oregon in 1959, it is time to rejoice in the wide range of his oeuvre and hear again the well and lesser-known orchestral, choral, chamber, instrumental, and vocal works. There will also be an exploration of his hitherto unpublished music.

Bloch has often referred to as a ‘Jewish composer’ because of the substantial number of his works that carry Jewish titles. Yet his repertoire incorporates a variety of influences such as Renaissance, neo-Classical, neo-Romantic, Swiss, Native American, Chinese, and Gregorian chant. Although he never founded a ‘school’ of composition, many of the most prominent American composers of the 20th century were his students.

He visited Britain in the 1930s, where concerts of his chamber music were presented. In 1949 his Concerto Symphonique for piano and orchestra was premiered at the Edinburgh Festival; he also conducted a major concert at the Royal Albert Hall, including Schelomo with cellist Zara Nelsova and The Sacred Service with baritone Aron Rothmüller and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. An Ernest Bloch Society was founded in London in 1937 with Albert Einstein, Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Arthur Bliss, Sir Arnold Bax, and Sir John Barbirolli, among others, as honorary officers.

Amongst his other attributes, Bloch was an accomplished photographer, an avid collector of mushrooms, a lover and polisher of agates, and a prolific letter writer.

back to top



Ernest Bloch, drawing by Milein Cosman


    Conference Timetable
    Registration Form

Bloch Activities
Ernest Bloch Biography
UK Festival Events 2009
Launch of Bloch Society 2008
Bloch Society Website 2009
International Conference 2007
Report on Conference 2007


JMI HomepageAbout JMILatest News and UpdatesWhat is Jewish Music?LibraryNewsletterContact JMISearch the JMI websiteSitemap
Performances. Jewish Music Live JMI Library Jewish Music Courses
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.