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The Golden Peacock – Yiddish Song School (Formerly Tumbala!)

Sunday 12th August 2012 - Friday 17th August 2012

JMI’s annual Yiddish Song School (Formerly Tumbala!) is for advanced singers who wish to embrace the rich Yiddish song repertoire. Mornings are spent studying the vocabulary, syntax, grammar and pronunciation of the language with the outstanding language of teachers of JMI’s Ot Azoy!  Experience has shown that being able to understand and speak a little Yiddish adds enormously to a singer’s musical interpretation. The afternoons will be devoted to masterclasses and workshops in style and approach with some of the world’s most revered teachers and performers of Yiddish song, Shura Lipovsky (Amsterdam), Polina Shepherd (Brighton) and Hilda Bronstein (London). This year we will feature many of the songs made famous by the much admired Yiddish singer Adrienne Cooper who died tragically last year and will celebrate Adrienne’s life in the Thursday evening event ‘Lomir alle zingen’.

We are edging closer to our week-long Yiddish Language Summer School Ot Azoy! and it’s sister programme the Golden Peacock Song School but there is still time to book, and here are a few reasons why this promises to be a week not to be missed this summer… There is more to Yiddish than to ‘schlep’ and have ‘chutzpah’. Now is your chance to experience a truly special week with interesting and like-minded people of all ages and from all backgrounds.

  • This is the only opportunity in the UK to immerse yourself in the deep and inspiring world of Yiddish culture for a whole week through language, literature, song and film.
  • You will have the privilege of working with some of the UK and Europe’s top educators and performers. No matter what your level in Yiddish whether a beginner or a budding linguist, professional singer or amateur enthusiast, you will benefit from the width and breath of programmes on offer through the week, both day and night.
  • The language and song schools run parallel during the week. Sessions for the week include reading, writing and speaking Yiddish, song master classes, concerts, film and discussion of the Yiddish scene in London and beyond.
  • The programme is based at SOAS, the heart of Ethnomusicology and the study of world cultures in the UK, on the doorstep of King’s Cross in central London. What better chance to combine meeting an eclectic bunch of Yiddish enthusiasts with exploring one of Europe’s finest capital cities including a special guided walk through London’s historical Jewish East End?
  • Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the JMI team. Please contact louise.shiels@jmi.org.uk/ and she’ll do her best to help whether you want extra information about the course, accommodation advice or financial support.

Fees: Full rate – £235. Concessions – £135



Golden peacock-_ShuraShura Lipovsky (Amsterdam)
This is Shura’s seventh year as Director of the Golden Peacock, Yiddish Song School (formerly Tumbala!). Shura Lipovsky is one of the world’s most renowned singers of Yiddish/Jewish repertoire. A native of the Netherlands, she studied singing at the Rotterdam conservatory with Margreet Honig and Yiddish with Mira Rafalowicz and at New York University, Oxford Summer University and La Maison de la Culture Yiddish/Bibliothèque Medem in Paris.Shura Lipovsky teaches master classes for singers, repertoire classes of Yiddish songs and workshops in Hassidic dance, songs and stories. Shura has taught and performed at KlezFests and Yiddish and Jewish Culture Festivals worldwide and has worked with a plethora of world-class musicians from Europe and the United States.
Polina ShepherdPolina Shepherd (Brighton)
Born in Siberia, and now based in Brighton, Polina Shepherd is an internationally renowned composer, singer, pianist and a celebrated Yiddish and Russian choir leader. Her specially developed choral teaching methods are based on instrumental ornamentation and Jewish modes. She has become indelibly linked to the KlezFest Choir, where musicians and singers alike congregate to shift some seious vocal muscles. Polina has taught at KlezFests world wide and leads the UCL East European Choir. Polina performs with her own a cappella ensemble, ‘The Vocal Quartet Ahkenazim’, The Max Pashm Band, Fanfara Brass Band and works with the Sound & Light Cinematic Duo, who play live accompaniment to rare black and white silent Jewish films.
Hilda Bronstein singing 22KB 008Hilda Bronstein (London)
Hilda is well-known to London audiences as a singer and teacher of Yiddish Song. She was the Director of the JMI’s Weekly Song School from 2005 to 2008, and now runs regular Yiddish Song Workshops under the title Sing Your Roots. In May 2008, she was awarded the Mira Rafalowicz Prize for the best interpretation of Yiddish Song at the International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam, and in 2009 she performed at the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music to a standing ovation. Hilda has made two CDs of Yiddish songs, and performs regularly with her Klezmer/Swing band Chutzpah!


Some scholarships are available for Ot Azoy! and Tumbala!, which provide funds towards the fees. To apply for a scholarship, please email jewishmusic@jmi.org.uk/ explaining your need for financial assistance and why you want to do the course.

Sunday 12 August 10.30am Registration for beginners
Sunday 12 August 11.00-12.30pm Alef Beys class for beginners
Sunday 12 August 2.00-5.00pm Special afternoon programme for all students: International event in cooperation with Five Leaves Publications to mark the 60th anniversary of the execution of Soviet Yiddish writers. Free admission to this event which will include specialist speakers, musicians and a book launch. Lecture Theatre G2, SOAS Russell Square Campus, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG.
Monday 13 August 9am Registration for all other participants
Classes: Monday-Friday 9.30am-6.30pm
Thursday 16 August 7.00-9.00pm: Faculty & student evening performance ‘Lomir Alle Zingen’ – family and friends welcome.

SOAS Vernon Square Campus, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW

Meals are not included – the SOAS cafeteria at the Vernon Square Campus supplies hot and cold snacks at very reasonable rates. You are also welcome to bring a packed lunch. There will be a communal area for course participants to eat together. A packed lunch is recommended on Sunday.

Accommodation is not included. Some of the faculty and students will be staying next door to the campus at a SOAS student hostel: Dinwiddy House, 189-205 Pentonville Road, London N1 9N. To book single rooms there with en-suite shower and toilet includingbedding and towels @ £55 per night (for 5 nights), contact Yvonne Glass or telephone +44 (0)20 7898 4307.

You could also try the Travelodge London Kings Cross Royal Scot Hotel. 100 Kings Cross Road London WC1X 9DT. Tel: 0871 984 6272. Or try www.airbnb.com which offers cheap accommodation in private homes.

You can book online by clicking the Book Now box at the top of the page, or if you prefer you can call the JMI Office to make your booking over the phone on +44 (0)20 7898 4307.


Sunday 12th August 2012
Friday 17th August 2012


Vernon Square, Penton Rise, Kings Cross
London, WC1X 9EW United Kingdom
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020 7898 4307
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