James Loeffler: What should Jews do with “their” Wagner?

James Loeffler, associate professor of history at the University of Virginia and scholar-in-residence at Pro Musica Hebraica, has a new essay in Mosaic:

Wagner used the figure of the Jew to criticize the ills of his own society. He built his vision of the German future by imagining a world in which Jews vanish. In doing so, as I have argued elsewhere, he bequeathed a racial myth to modern music that has still not received its full reckoning.[…]

The fact that an Israeli Jew is defending Wagner is not incidental. For it is in Israel that we can see the clearest way in which Jews today map their own meanings onto Wagner. It is there that Wagner has become a proxy for Jews arguing about cultural identity and Holocaust memory in an otherwise fluid, globalizing musical marketplace.

Read the rest here.

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Conference/Concert on Mahler this April in DC

PostClassical Ensemble presents “Who Was Gustav Mahler?” on Tuesday, April 21, at DC’s Austrian Cultural Forum. The conference will include a number of prominent scholars, including Pro Musica Hebraica Resident Scholar James Loeffler.

The larger Mahler festival of which the event is part concludes with an orchestral concert on April 28, also at the Austrian Cultural Forum.

For further information, visit PostClassical’s website.


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Winter Jewish Music Concert in Miami – January 10 at 8pm

Winter Jewish Music Concert presents its seventh annual event on January 10 at 8pm. Directed by Alan Mason and based in Bertha Abess Sanctuary at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, the concert features the diverse spectrum of Jewish music, including Yiddish, Ladino, Israeli, cantorial, classical, jazz, pop, folk, and Sephardic.

Visit their website to learn more, watch last year’s concert, and purchase tickets.

Pro Musica Hebraica will help sponsor the appearance of Duo Sonidos.

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The Wall Street Journal reviews our latest concert

Barrymore Laurence Scherer writes:

Throughout the evening the Ariel Quartet—whose members studied with both Kopytman and Mr. Wiesenberg—rose to each composer’s challenge with vigorous aplomb and a palpable joie de vivre born of understanding and affection for the works channeled through their own consummate musicianship.

Read the rest of Scherer’s beautifully discerning review.

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The Washington Post reviews our latest concert

Charles T. Downey:

The high point of the program was Mark Kopytman’s third string quartet, from 1969, a few years before the Soviet-born composer immigrated to Israel. Unlike Ben-Haim, whose music was somewhat retrogressive in style, Kopytman incorporated dissonance and extended instrumental techniques familiar from the work of Bartok, and the strident brutality played to the Ariel’s strengths.

Read the rest.

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