Dr. Neil W. Levin
Professor of Jewish Music, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Artistic director and Editor in Chief of the Milken Archive since 1993, Neil W. Levin is recognized as a leading authority on Jewish music, and has lectured and presented at university seminars and academic conferences throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. Professor of Jewish music at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America since 1982, he teaches graduate courses on the history, development, and repertoire of synagogue music, cantorial art, Yiddish and Hebrew folksong, the music of modern Israel, and music of American Jewish experience. He has served as editor of Musica Judaica, the academic Journal of the American Society for Jewish Music, and has published numerous articles, archival-historical recordings, and books. His work with the Milken Archive earned him a Deems Taylor Award—the annual award given by the American Society of Composers and Publishers for the most original and informative liner notes to a commercially distributed recording. Levin received his bachelor’s and master degree from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Dr. Samuel Adler
Professor of Composition, The Juilliard School
A prolific composer, Samuel Adler studied composition with Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith, Walter Piston, Hugo Norden, and Randall Thompson, as well as conducting with Serge Koussevitzky. He was professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music for more than 30 years, and has taught on the faculties of Ithaca College, the University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Missouri. He is currently a faculty member of The Juilliard School. Adler has received commissions and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Ford, Rockefeller, and Koussevitzky foundations; and numerous orchestras and institutions. He is the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the Charles Ives Award, the Lillian Fairchild Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacDowell Fellowship for five seasons, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University, and the Aaron Copland Prize for lifetime achievement in composition and composition teaching from ASCAP. He was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Rabbi David Aaron
Professor of Hebrew Bible and History of Interpretation, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati
Rabbi David Aaron was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, in 1983 and earned his doctorate from the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University in 1991. A leading authority on the Hebrew Bible, Aaron has published widely on issues related to metaphor, interpretation, and historiography.
Dr. Ofer Ben-Amots
Associate Chair and Professor of Music, Colorado College
Israeli-born composer Ofer Ben-Amots gave his first piano concert at nine and won the Chet Piano Competition at 16. He holds degrees in composition, theory, and piano from Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany, and also studied at Conservatoire de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1987, he came to the United States and studied with George Crumb and Richard Wernick at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Ph.D. in composition in 1991. Ben-Amots’s chamber opera, Fool’s Paradise, won the Vienna International Competition for Composers in 1994. His composition Fanfare for Orchestra won the Kavannagh Prize in 1988 and he received the Gold Award at South Africa’s 1993 Roodepoort International Competition for Choral Composition. His work for soprano, klezmer clarinet and men’s chorus, Mizmor: Seven Degrees of Praise was premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center in 2003 as part of “Only in America,” an international conference-festival sponsored by The Jewish Theological Seminary and the Milken Archive.
Broadcaster and Author
As the voice of the PBS program “Live from Lincoln Center,” Martin Bookspan helped bring concerts, operas, and ballets into homes around the country from the time of the show’s first broadcast in January 1976 until his retirement in 2006. Bookspan has also authored the books 101 Masterpieces of Music and Their Composers and Reports Reviews: Classical Recordings, as well as biographies on conductor Zubin Mehta and pianist-conductor-composer, André Previn (the last of which was co-written with author Ross Yockey). He has also been the voice of the Boston Symphony and the New York Philharmonic and has worked as the music director for classical music radio station WQXR in New York City. Bookspan, who graduated from Harvard University in 1947, has also worked as a consultant for the Arts Program of the Rockefeller Foundation and has served on numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. His November 2006 induction into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame made him the first broadcaster to achieve that honor.
Dr. Jonathan Brent
Executive Director and CEO, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
A respected scholar and author, Jonathan Brent served as editorial director and associate director of Yale University Press for 18 years, where he oversaw and initiated multiple publications on Eastern European Jewish history and culture. During that time, Brent also acquired for the press The New Yiddish Library and the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, and also founded and served as executive editor of The Annals of Communism, a series whose impact on Soviet historiography Slate likened to that of the Rosetta Stone on the study of hieroglyphics. Brent recounted his experiences gaining access to archives in post-Communist Russia in the book Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia, also published by Yale. In 2009, Brent was appointed executive director and CEO of New York’s YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, which was founded in 1925 in Vilna, Lithuania, and houses the third largest Judaica collection in the Western hemisphere.
Cantor Ida Rae Cahana
Portland Jewish Academy/Mittleman Jewish Community Center Board
Cantor Ida Rae Cahana was raised in Pittsburgh, where at age seventeen she became the first woman in the tri-state area to be featured in a synagogue as a cantorial soloist. After completing a bachelor's degree at Carnegie-Mellon University and a master's at the New England Conservatory, she held a residence at the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and studied with Cantor Naftali Herstik in Jerusalem. She later received her cantorial investiture with a master of sacred music degree from the School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. After serving five years at New York's Central Synagogue, she moved to Portland, Oregon, where she currently serves as Senior Cantor at Congregation Beth Israel.
Dr. Charles Davidson
Professor, The Jewish Theology Seminary of America
A prolific composer and arranger, Cantor Charles Davidson’s catalog contains more than 300 works, including synagogue pieces, songs, choral cantatas, entire services, Psalm settings, musical plays, theatrical children’s presentations, instrumental pieces, and a one-act opera based on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Gimpel the Fool. He was one of the first graduates of The Jewish Theological Seminary’s Cantors Institute (now the H. L. Miller Cantorial School), where he also received his doctorate in sacred music. He joined their faculty in 1977. Davidson also served with distinction as hazzan of Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, from 1966 to 2004. Davidson’s I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a setting of children’s poetry from the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia (where only 100 of the 15,000 children survived), has been performed more than 2,500 times and is featured on at least eight commercial recordings. It is also the subject of two award-winning PBS documentaries: The Journey of Butterfly and Butterfly Revisited.
Dean, Roosevelt Univerity's Chicago College of Performing Arts
Orchestra consultant Henry Fogel served as president and CEO of the American Symphony Orchestra League from 2003 to 2009. Prior to that, he spent 18 years as president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and served as executive director of the National Symphony Orchestra and manager of the New York Philharmonic. His board affiliations have included the Illinois Arts Alliance, WTTW–Channel 11, Curtis Institute of Music, University of Chicago School of Music, and the Economic Club. He is dean and distinguished professor of the arts at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, where he teaches orchestral studies. He has also produced programs for Chicago Fine Arts Station WFMT (including his weekly Collector’s Corner programs that “feature either unusual repertoire that [he feels] deserves a wider public, or performances unique in their interpretive profile, sense of commitment, and intensity”), and reviews records for Fanfare magazine.
Lukas Foss Z"L (1922–2009)
A revered and influential German-born composer, Lukas Foss was a significant figure in the development of American music in the 20th century, and the youngest recipient to date of a Guggenheim fellowship in composition. Acclaimed by critics for not adhering to a singular style or approach, Foss was known both for his eclecticism and his ability to move amongst and between divergent styles. He was also an admired conductor who raised the profiles of several smaller orchestras through his leadership and innovative programming. Foss studied conducting with Serge Koussevitsky, composition with Paul Hindemith, Rosario Scalero and Randall Thompson. He held several important academic posts, including following Schoenberg as the head of music composition at UCLA, and also serving on the faculty at Boston University. Foss’s work was so representative of the American musical landscape of the time that British musicologist Wilfred Mellers once described his body of work as “a pocket history of American music during the 20th century.”
Dr. Jeff Janeczko
Curator and Chief Operating Officer, Milken Archive of Jewish Music
Jeff Janeczko holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. His dissertation, “‘Beyond Klezmer’: Redefining Jewish Music for the Twenty-first Century,” examined the relationship between music and identity amongst artists featured on John Zorn’s Radical Jewish Culture series of recordings. Specifically, Janeczko focuses on how artists working primarily in a “hybrid” musical context define “Jewish music,” and how this affects and is affected by their conceptions of Jewish identity. In addition to presenting at many national academic conferences, his work has appeared in the publications Perspectives on Jewish Music: Secular and Sacred, edited by Jonathan L. Friedmann, 2009; and the Annual Review of the Casden Institute for the Jewish Role in American Life, edited by Josh Kun, 2011. Janeczko joined the Milken Archive in 2009, and serves as its chief operating officer and curator of its website.
Dr. Judith Kaplan Eisenstein Z"L (1909-1996)
Judith Kaplan Eisenstein was a respected author, musicologist, and educator, as well as a composer. In addition to studying at the Institute of Musical Art (now The Juilliard School), she held a master’s degree in music education from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Eisenstein taught music education and the history of Jewish music at The Jewish Theological Seminary’s Teacher’s Institute (now known as the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies in Manhattan) and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, as well as at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. In addition to composing several Jewish-themed works, Eisenstein authored several books on Jewish music for young people.
Rabbi Morton M. Leifman Z"L (1927-2016)
Vice President Emeritus, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
A prominent and respected rabbi and pedagogue, Rabbi Morton M. Leifman is senior vice president emeritus of The Jewish Theological Seminary and dean emeritus of the H. L. Miller Cantorial School and Seminary College of Jewish Music. An authority and lecturer on Jewish music and liturgy, Rabbi Leifman is a preeminent translator of Hebrew liturgical texts, and of the poetry of Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Dr. Brian Mayer
Dean of the School of Jewish Music, Hebrew College
A professor of Jewish music at Boston’s Hebrew College, Mayer received his B.F.A from the University of Connecticut. He also holds a M.S.M, Cantorial Investiture and D.S.M. from The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he taught for 14 years as assistant professor of hazzanut (cantorial music). He is also an eminent scholar of Ashkenazi nusaḥ.
Dr. Jascha Nemtsov
Professor, University of Potsdam
A graduate of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory of Music, Dr. Jascha Nemtsov is world renowned as a solo pianist, chamber artist, and scholar. Nemtsov has appeared on more than 20 recordings, many of them critically acclaimed, and has published numerous books and articles related to early 20th-century European Jewish composers associated with the New Jewish School. He is a professor of Jewish studies and Jewish music at the University of Potsdam, and director of the cantorial school of the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin.
Dr. Alexander L. Ringer Z"L (1921-2002)
Alexander Ringer received his Ph.D. in musicology from Columbia University and held academic posts at several institutions before joining the faculty of the music department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Ringer also helped establish the first musicology department in Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A scholar of broad-ranging interests, Ringer was particularly interested in how Jewish heritage and identity influenced prominent Western composers, among them Schoenberg, Mahler, and Weill. His book, Arnold Schoenberg: The Composer as Jew, was hailed for shedding new light and perspective on one of the 20th century’s most enigmatic composers.
Music Director, Seattle Symphony
Recipient of two Emmy awards, 13 Grammy nominations, and six ASCAP awards, Gerard Schwarz is among the world’s most renowned conductors, and has led many of the world’s leading orchestras and ensembles. Revered for his commitment to contemporary music, Schwarz was founding music director of the New York Chamber Symphony, and also served for many years as the director of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart festival. Schwarz is currently in his 26th and final year as music director of the Seattle Symphony, which he has helped transform into a world-renowned ensemble. His awards and distinctions include the Ditson Conductor’s Award from Columbia University, and honorary doctorates from The Juilliard School, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle University, University of Puget Sound, and Fairleigh Dickinson University. The first American to be named Conductor of the Year by Musical America, Schwarz has served on the National Council for the Arts, and is music director of the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina.
Marketing and Artist and Repertoire Consultant
Paul Schwendener served as the Milken Archive’s Marketing Director and Artist & Repertoire Adviser (1998-2011) and Chief Operational Officer (2000-2011). In addition to planning and supervising recording sessions in America and Europe, he oversaw post-production and the international marketing of the Archive’s acclaimed 50-CD series in partnership with Naxos. For over 25 years Schwendener has collaborated with leading international performers and ensembles to create audio, video, and interactive products, as well as concerts in major venues. Previously, as Vice President of International Marketing for Philips Classics, he led the marketing of the award-winning Complete Mozart Edition (more than 12 million CDs sold), and oversaw the worldwide distribution and marketing of new releases from major artists, as well as large collections of classical repertoire.
Barry Serota Z"L (1948-2009)
Barry Serota was an internationally recognized systematic collector of cantorial music documents, scores, manuscripts, rare vintage recordings and memorabilia, as well as a well-known chronicler and annotator of cantorial events, developments and personalities. He founded two record concerns that brought to the attention of aficionados hundreds of previously unavailable or unknown recordings of cantorial concerts, rehearsals and other events. He also lectured widely at schools, colleges, synagogues and seminars throughout the United States, Canada, England, Europe and Israel.
Dr. Edwin Seroussi
Professor of Musicology and Director of the Jewish Music Research Centre, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
With broad research interests in multiple Jewish musical traditions, Edwin Seroussi has published numerous books and articles on North African and Mediterranean Jewish musical traditions, Israeli popular music, and on the history of Jewish-Muslim musical interaction. As editor of the Jewish Music Research Centre’s Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel series, he has overseen the production of more than twenty CD anthologies documenting an impressively broad range of Jewish music. His most recent article, “Music: The Jew of Jewish Studies,” argues for a greater emphasis on music in the field of general Jewish studies. A professor of musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he has served as director of the Jewish Music Research Center of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 2000. He holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from UCLA, and has taught and lectured at universities throughout the world.