Tag Archives: Judaism

The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies publication

The Jewish Experience in Classical Music

Cambridge Scholars launched the series The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies publication in 2014 with The Jewish experience in classical music: Shostakovich and Asia, edited by Alexander Tentser.

The book’s juxtaposition of two highly dissimilar composers allows an exploration of the breadth of influence of traditional Jewish culture on Western classical music in the 20th century and beyond. The first part focuses on the humane qualities of Dmitrij Šostakovič’s personality—his honesty and courage, which enabled him in difficult times to express Jewish torment and suffering under both the Soviet and Nazi regimes through his works; the second part is dedicated to the music of Daniel Asia and to his philosophical and religious identification with Judaism.

Below, Šostakovič and Nina Dorliak perform one of his settings of traditional Jewish songs, and Jonathan Shames performs Asia’s Why (?) Jacob.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, New series

American cantorate

david koussevitsky

American cantorate presents all of the raw data of the 1984–86 NEH-funded project History of the American Cantorate, which was directed by Mark Slobin.

deborah-katchko-grayThis free online resource includes over 100 listenable oral history interviews of cantors; a listenable 93-cantor core sample of sung selections of 8 liturgical texts, a first in Jewish music studies; questionnaire survey responses of hundreds of cantors and lay leaders; letters solicited from rabbis about working with cantors; research reports and data summaries commissioned for the project; and ongoing additions of archival documentation.

David Koussevitsky (1912–85, above) and Deborah Katchko-Gray (b.1957, inset) are two of the cantors featured in the study. A related video is here.

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