March 1, 2020
March 1, 2020
AddressSchoenberg Music Hall, UCLA View map
Join us for a unique Jewish music festival exploring cross-cultural interactions in the United States and around the world. Attendees will be taken on a musical journey that includes the UCLA Marching Band, the renowned Jewish bluegrass ensemble Nefesh Mountain, and the LA based Jewish music ensembles of Chloé Pourmorady (New Persian Jewish Music) and Asher Sasho Levy (Traditional Syrian Jewish music), the world premiere of a new work by renowned composer Ljova (Lev Zhurbin), and a Yiddish puppet show based on the works of Joseph Rumshinsky.
Presented by the UCLA Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music
UCLA Crossing Boundaries
For a century, UCLA has been dedicated to looking at every field from multiple angles, exploring the possibilities and limits of any and all subjects. Jewish Music is no exception. UCLA faculty, staff, students, and alumni have made vast and incalculable contributions to the field and, on March 1st, the Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will celebrate these contributions with the first UCLA American Jewish Music Festival: Music Crossing Boundaries. The Festival engages with the idea that Jewish music is not a monolith, but rather a vast and diverse range of genres that represent how Jews have interacted with and learned from their neighbors. All performances will take place March 1st on UCLA’s main campus, both in the Schoenberg Music Building and the historic Royce Hall.
The Festival would not be possible without Lowell Milken’s decades long dedication to Jewish music. Since its founding in 1990, the Milken Archive of Jewish Music has recorded and disseminated a vast body of sacred and secular music pertaining to the American Jewish experience. A manifestation of Lowell Milken’s belief in the importance of Jewish music, the Milken Archive aims to elevate and celebrate this musical repertoire. In that context, he established the Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music with the vision of creating an academic center around the core principals of research, performance, and education in American Jewish music. While still a young organization, the Lowell Milken Fund hopes to realize Mr. Milken’s vision, through the incredible resources of UCLA, a place where anything is possible.
“Music of the Jewish experience in America symbolizes the richness and diversity of a people coming from all corners of the earth to embrace life in a land of freedom,” said Milken. “Music Crossing Boundaries promises to be a unique celebration of this remarkable contribution to culture.”
The Festival was developed and curated by the Lowell Milken Fund’s Associate Director, Dr. Lorry Black, a UCLA Music Alumni (2009) and specialist in Jewish Music. The Festival’s theme, Music Crossing Boundaries, embraces UCLA’s ideals around diversity and inclusion, exploring the ways Jewish culture has interacted with other cultures in the United States to create something new and vibrant.
“Since graduate school, it has been a dream of mine to organize a Jewish music festival in LA, and UCLA is the perfect place to do an event like this,” explains Dr. Black. “This festival is more than just a series of concerts; it is about offering the community an opportunity to hear the music; to learn about the music; to rediscover ancient traditions in new and groundbreaking ways.”
The Festival represents an impressive array of genres including classical, bluegrass, traditional Syrian music, new Persian Jewish music, and Broadway, and demonstrates the incredible abilities of Los Angeles-based artists. “As a point of pride,” Dr. Black explains, “the vast majority of the performers are UCLA or LA-based. LA has some incredible performers, and harnessing their ability and creative energy, with the energy already present at UCLA has allowed us to build a festival that could not occur anywhere else.” Programs featuring UCLA students, faculty, and alumni include “A Place for Us: The Influence of Jewish Composers and Culture on Broadway”; “Titans of Jewish Music” featuring the UCLA Philharmonia and Chorale and Chamber Singers in performances of Arnold Schoenberg, Eric Zeisl, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Gustav Mahler; The UCLA Klezmer Ensemble; and a chamber music concert featuring pianist Inna Faliks (UCLA music faculty) and her piano studio.
Among the unique opportunities afforded attendees at the Festival are the series of workshops and Jewish American Music (JAM) Talks. Workshops will offer attendees the chance to learn directly from the artists. Workshop-goers will learn about the artists’ backgrounds and creative processes, and will get the opportunity to participate actively in the music. Similarly, the JAM Talks, offered in a TED Talk-style, will offer the performers an opportunity to describe, in their own words, how Jewish identity and music making go hand in hand.
This exciting program will continue UCLA’s storied music legacy. While it would be impossible for any one person to attend every program offered at the festival, there is, no doubt, something for everyone to enjoy at this incredible day of music!
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