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8th LITVAK DAYS IN LONDON. DAY 2. Conference. Music: Soundtracks of Jewish...

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Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

2 Bessborough Gardens

London

SW1V 2JE

United Kingdom

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Music: soundtracks of Jewish life and the wider world

10:00

Welcoming remarks

H. E. Renatas Norkus, Ambassador of Lithuania

Sima Beeri, UCL


10:15-13:00

Morning Session

Chair: Alexander Knapp


Diana Matut, University College for Jewish Studies, Heidelberg

Di Vilner shtot-khazonim: The Great Cantorial Traditions of Vilnius”

Leonidas Melnikas, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

“Mystery of the Genius Generation: Jewish Lithuanian Musicians at the Turn of the 20th Century”

Ilana Cravitz, klezmer musician

“Klezmer – a musical introduction to Yiddish instrumental folk music”

13:00 -14:15

Lunch break (light lunch will be provided)

14:15-17:00

Afternoon Session

Chair: Dr Helen Beer

Shirli Gilbert, University of Southampton

“Music in the Lithuanian Ghettos during the Shoah”

Kamile Rupeikaite, Vilna Gaon State Museum

“Jewish Theme in the Music of Anatolijus Šenderovas”

Batsheva Capek, singer and songwriter

I am the harp to all your songs – The inner Litvak of Leonard Cohen”

Closing remarks

Shirli Gilbert, University of Southampton

H. E. Renatas Norkus, Ambassador of Lithuania


Notes on Speakers

Alexander Knapp Research Associate, at SOAS, London. He is a musicologist, ethnomusicologist, music consultant, composer, arranger, pianist, and teacher. He graduated from Selwyn College Cambridge, with MA, MusB, and PhD degrees in music, and has also been awarded ARCM, LRAM and HonARAM diplomas. Since 1969, Alex has published and lectured in the UK, and abroad, on Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Oriental Jewish liturgical, folk, popular, and classical musics in general – and on Ernest Bloch in particular (e.g. Ernest Bloch Studies: a co-edited volume published by Cambridge University Press in 2016). His set of Four Sephardi Songs was published in New York in 1992, and his Elegy for String Orchestra in Jerusalem in 1997. In 1998, a collection of his essays was translated into Chinese and published in Beijing; and he has contributed entries on Jewish art music to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Second Edition). Alex has been appointed to positions at the Royal College of Music, Wolfson College Cambridge, and Goldsmiths' University of London. He was the first “Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music” at City University (1992) and subsequently at SOAS (1999) before retiring in 2006.

Helen Beer is the BenZion Margulies Lecturer in Yiddish at University College London. She is a native Yiddish speaker who grew up in Australia and whose first degree was in music. She specialises in modern East European literature. Helen teaches and lectures in Europe and the UK and is Director of the annual Yiddish summer course in London. She is very active in Yiddish theatre and music projects.

Diana Matut is the Lili- and Michael Sommerfreund Guest Professor for Jewish Music at the University College for Jewish Studies, Heidelberg. Her dissertation, Poetry and Music in Early Modern Ashkenaz was published in two volumes in 2011. After studying in Halle, Oxford, London and New York, Diana Matut lectures and teaches in Germany and abroad, and recently in Canada, USA, Israel, the UK, Austria, the Netherlands or the Czech Republic.

Furthermore, she frequently teaches courses on Yiddish culture and song in the Renaissance and Baroque period at Yiddish Summer Weimar, Klezkanada, Klezfest London and the Klezmerwelten Gelsenkirchen.

Diana is singer and leader of the ensemble Simkhat Hanefesh (Joy of the Soul), an ensemble performing Jewish music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Leonidas Melnikas is a professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, as well as a pianist, organist, and musicologist. He was educated at the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory (specializing in piano and organ) and the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar. He is the chairman of the Academy’s senate, as well as a member of the Lithuanian musicians union’s board. Professor Melnikas also currently serves as the Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. He has authored In the Steps of the Musical Heritage of Lithuanian Jews (Vilnius, 2008) and chapters in Musical Heritage: at the Crossroads of Eras and Cultures (Vilnius, 2007) in addition to more than 200 other publications. Throughout his career, he has performed in more than 500 piano, organ and chamber music concerts across Europe and the US. His albums were published in Lithuania, the US, Russia, and Portugal. In 2007 Professor Melnikas received the prestigious “Golden Disc” award. In 2016, the Smithsonian Institution used his organ recordings for the documentary Good Work; Masters of the Building Arts.

Ilana Cravitz is one of a handful of professional violinists playing klezmer music in the traditional style. She has introduced thousands of people of all ages to klezmer music through her performances, courses and workshops, and in 2015 and 2016 was Artistic Director of Klezfest, the UK's international klezmer festival. Ilana’s unique teaching book, Klezmer Fiddle – a How-To Guide, is published by Oxford University Press. Ilana is a founder member of the London Klezmer Quartet, a London-based band which has produced four well-received CDs and performed in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Holland, Latvia, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as touring extensively around the UK. She is also in demand as a leader for klezmer dancing. Ilana studied baroque violin and viola da gamba at post-graduate level at the Royal College of Music in London, and also enjoys playing music for ceilidhs.

Shirli Gilbert is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Parkes Institute for Jewish/ non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton. She obtained her D.Phil. at the University of Oxford and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan. She is a specialist in modern Jewish history with a focus on the Holocaust period. Her book Music in the Holocaust (2005) was a finalist for the American National Jewish Book Award and was also the basis for a large-scale educational website Music and the Holocaust, a documentary feature on BBC Radio 3, and a concert at London's Wigmore Hall. Her more recent research explores the ways in which the Holocaust shaped understandings of and responses to apartheid in South Africa (1948-1994). Publications on this subject include her book From Things Lost: Forgotten Letters and the Legacy of the Holocaust (2017) and the forthcoming volume Holocaust Memory and Racism in the Postwar World (2019), co-edited with Avril Alba. Shirli has also helped curate the new museum at the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide centre.

Kamilė Rupeikaitė is Deputy Director at the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum (VGSJM), an Associate Professor of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and a researcher at Lithuanian Culture Research Institute. She is a member of the Lithuanian delegation to IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance), and a member of the Board of Museums at the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. Her scholarly interests include symbolism of musical instruments, history of Jewish music, the creation and work of the composer Anatolijus Šenderovas. Kamilė Rupeikaitė gives presentations at international congresses and conferences as well as publishing her research in Lithuanian and English.

Batsheva Capek is an internationally renowned Jewish folksinger. She sings fluently in Yiddish, Ladino and Hebrew. She is an award winning and accomplished songwriter, writing ballads on Jewish themes and comedy.

Originally signed in New York to the prestigious Golden Land Agency, Batsheva toured and recorded with the leading artists of the Yiddish stage. These included leading artists of the Yiddish stage, under the direction of impresario, Zalmen Mlotek, currently Artistic Director of the Folksbine National Yiddish Theatre. Batsheva toured Canada extensively under the auspices of the Canadian Jewish Congress, criss-crossing the country doing solo concerts of Jewish music from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island.

Now based in Nashville, Tennessee, Batsheva is signed to The Institute for Southern Jewish Life and is currently touring throughout North America.

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Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

2 Bessborough Gardens

London

SW1V 2JE

United Kingdom

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