Stay up to date with the latest news and content from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music. Sign-up to our weekly newsletter.
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are all about national pride, so it’s only fitting that they’re being held in a town (and country) that has plenty to boast about, not the least of which is its world-renowned vocal ensemble, the BBC Singers. For more than 75 years the group has commissioned, premiered, and recorded new works by many of the 20th century’s leading composers and worked with some of its most distinguished conductors. And, thanks to the Milken Archive, the ensemble now counts amongst its world-premiere recordings 20th-century Jewish related works by Arnold Schoenberg, Kurt Weill, Herman Berlinski, and Joseph Achron. Learn more in this exclusive video from the Archive’s “Landmark Recordings” series, featuring conductor Avner Itai (pictured) and members of the BBC Singers, as well as documentary footage from the historic recording sessions. Watch it here.
Since 1994, the fourth Sunday of July is National Parents’ Day, a holiday about "recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.” While the holiday may not come with as many brunch specials and greeting cards as its better-known equivalents from May and June, it does call attention to the different definitions of what it means to be a parent. The idea was also a topic in Yiddish theater’s Dos mamele. Composed by Joseph Rumshinsky, this musical comedy is about a young woman (played by Molly Picon) who is left to care for her family after her mother's death. It includes the duet Oyb s'iz geven gut far mayn mame, iz gut far mir (If It Was Good Enough for My Mother, It's Good Enough for Me), with lyrics by Picon. The show became the prototype for the film, Mamele, which was scored by Abraham Ellstein.
Israeli-born composer Ofer Ben-Amots gave his first piano concert at age nine, and at 16 was awarded first prize in the Chet Piano Competition. He was studying composition at Tel Aviv University when he was invited to study at the Conservatoire de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was a student of Pierre Wismer and Alberto Ginastera. Ben-Amots's experience in Switzerland would prove to be pivotal. As he related to the Milken Archive in a 2004 interview, "It was only outside Israel that I discovered ... the richness and beauty of Jewish music." It was in a Switzerland synagogue that Ben-Amots heard an ancient Sephardi liturgical melody that became the basis of some of his first Jewish-related compositions, such as his ethereal Hashkivenu choral pieces series from his opera Fool's Paradise. Learn more.