Pro Musica Hebraica


pro musica judaicaCongratulations 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.

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3 Responses

  1. Jewish Long Hair Music at the Kennedy Center – who’d a thunk it! Guess where Condi Rice, George Will, Bill Crystal and every Cantor in DC where last night? Listening to Jewish classical music in the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center where Charles and Robyn Krauthammer with a little help from their friends (like Michael Kaiser, Center President) launched Pro Musica Hebraica. It was another night for reviving lost or near lost Jewish music (ala the J’s own Cochin Jewish Women Who Kept the Songs). If you had Jewish soul it definitely took flight to the soaring oboe (s) of Roban Da Silva and his sea of reeds with clarinets of all shapes and sizes which he breathed life into like the voice of ancient meanings and the music-of-the-spheres like strings of the Biava Quartet who, standing on the shoulders of Kronos (feature at the J’s Washington Jewish Music Festival 200?) built to moments of breathless pause only to once again sweep us forward into another kabalistic trance. I must say I liked the first half of the Concert better than the second for it’s unusual and ancient strains. I am always jealous of musicians who make a living surrounding their senses and bodies with a universe of vibrations and in this case as old as our Jewish souls. It was a great night for Jewish and Israeli music – leaving in the elevator the Israeli Ambassador agreed. Anyone else out in the audience? What did you think?

  2. CORRECTION – the oboist was not Roban De Silva – strike that – he was the pianist – it was Tibi Cziger – sorry for the misread.

  3. CORRECTION – the clarinetist was Tibi Cziger – there was no oboist.

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