At the turn of the 20th century, Jewish people in the Russian Empire were dreaming of a national identity, along with a homeland and a compelling historical narrative to match.
Jewish artists in the Russian Empire were ready to assist. Inspired by the burgeoning Zionist movement and encouraged by the composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, a cadre of the region’s top Jewish musicians and composers set out to create a new national Jewish music based, like other national musics, on traditional folk themes. They established a new organization, the Society for Jewish Folk Music, whose work would change the course of Jewish music.
As political instability and hostility toward Jews made life in the Empire less tenable, composers like Joseph Achron and Jacob Weinberg left for the safer environs of Jewish Palestine and, eventually, the United States. Their music and ideas found a captive audience and helped lay the groundwork for a vibrant future.
Our latest virtual exhibit begins with the pioneering work of Achron and Weinberg, and continues with other prominent composers like Darius Milhaud, Ernest Bloch, Sholom Secunda, John Zorn and Paul Schoenfield. The torch ignited more than a century ago in the Russian Empire continues to shine its light, both inward and outward, exposing the greater American music community to the sounds of Jewish heritage.
Experience the History and Hear the Music of
Solo and Ensemble Music of Jewish Spirit, Part 1