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Jewish Music Conference at Yale, Apr 12-13

New Haven, Conn. Yale University will host a conference on April 12 and 13, celebrating the acquisition of a major collection of Jewish music by the University.

The Wallersteiner Collection of Jewish Music includes about 700 pieces of sheet music of popular, liturgical and theater songs and hymns from Germany, the United States, Israel and elsewhere from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection was acquired by the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library at Yale.

For further information check the conference web site at www.library.yale.edu/judaica/music/index.html or contact Nanette Stahl, conference director, at nanette.stahl@yale.edu or phone number (203)432-7207.

The acquisition of the collection has transformed Yale's Music Library into a significant resource for scholarship in Jewish music. Says Kendall Crilly, Andrew W. Mellon Music Librarian, "We are absolutely delighted that we had the opportunity to acquire the Wallersteiner Collection. The collection has enabled us to add research materials of interest and depth in a subject area that until recently had not been one of our traditional collecting strengths, and it has served as the impetus for additional acquisitions in the field of Jewish music. The upcoming conference presents a wonderful opportunity to consider the many aspects of Jewish music, and to hear for the first time some of the selections included in the Wallersteiner Collection."

The conference will open with a concert at 8:30 p.m. on April 12 by the renowned klezmer music band, Brave Old World, which plays both traditional and provocative new Yiddish songs on subjects like Chernobyl and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The concert will take place at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 292 Orange St. (corner of Wall Street) and is free and open to the public.

The band brings together four pioneering virtuosi of the klezmer scene. Vocalist and violinist Michael Alpert, renowned for his native Yiddish and soulful lyricism, is "the only klezmer artist writing Yiddish songs on contemporary topics," according to Newsday. Musical Director Alan Bern, Christian Dawid on the clarinet, and Stuart Brotman on bass, percussion and cimbalom complete the ensemble.

The conference will continue on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St., with a session titled "Jewish Theater Music." Mark Slobin of Wesleyan University will speak on early JewishAmerican popular songs; Hankus Netsky of the New England Conservatory will discuss Philadelphia’s Jewish musicians; and Rachel Bergman of Yale will speak on the composer Viktor Ullmann, who wrote "The Kaiser from Atlantis" while interned in a Nazi concentration camp.

The next session, at 12:30 p.m., focuses on sacred music. Jeffrey Summit of Tufts University will discuss the music of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda. Mark Kligman of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion will address Sephardic liturgy and Judit Frigyesi of Bar Ilan University in Israel will discuss East European liturgical music.

This session will be followed by a concert of music from the Wallersteiner Collection, performed by students from the Yale Music Department, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

The last session, "Community and Celebration," will begin at 3:30 p.m. with a presentation titled "Bringing the Bride to Tears," by Craig Harwood of Yale. Kay Kaufman Shelemay of Harvard will speak on "Jewish Communities through Music" and Edwin Seroussi of the Hebrew University in Israel will discuss "The Modern Odyssey of the Judeo-Spanish Song."

The conference will close with a concert performed by the chamber music quartet, Antares, of music by Yale composers, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, 80 Wall St. This and all events related to the conference are free and open to the public and no prior registration is necessary. "Celebrating Jewish Music at Yale" is sponsored by the Yale University Library, the Program of Jewish Studies, the Whitney Humanities Center, the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale and the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation.

For further information check the conference web site at www.library.yale.edu/judaica/music/index.html or contact Nanette Stahl, conference director, at nanette.stahl@yale.edu or phone number (203)432-7207.


For pix and notes about the conference, see http://www.klezmershack.com/articles/2003_yale/