Congratulations to the Krauthamer Foundation on the launch of their new website and organization Pro Musica Hebraica which aims to recover the legacy of Jewish composers of classical music by performing their works in a concert hall setting. Many of these works are forgotten or at the very least supremely neglected. Their kickoff concert is in April at the Kennedy Center, and features Itzhak Perlman performing with musicians of the Julliard School.
Their website is chock-full of relevant information, and I particularly enjoyed their interactive guide to the Pro Musica Hebraica logo which is derived from an image by the Russian Jewish artist B. Solomonov originally featured on the program to a concert of the Society for Jewish Folk Music. By mousing over various elements of the illustration you become aware of the fusion of classical Jewish and western culture represented in the music and reflected in the iconography. There is also a comprehensive description of the St. Petersburg School of Jewish composers that were active in the early part of the 20th Century.
Perhaps more than any other artistic discipline, classical music requires true champions to ensure its continued presence in the cultural marketplace. Even more commendable in this instance, is the dedication to the Jewish contributions to the art form, not for the sake of parochial “we were there too” chauvinism; but in the service of revealing a contiuum in which the modern development of Western culture is both informed by and contributes to a dynamic Jewish culture. In this promotion of a continued vital and creative Jewish culture with deep roots and high aspirations, the 16th Street J shares the goals of Pro Musica Hebraica and wishes it every success.