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Open Secret: The Jewish Sound in Soviet Music
Sidney Krum Young Artists Concert Series
May 4, 2014

SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014 | 3pm

Click HERE to watch the video of this program in YIVO's Program Archive.

James Loeffler, University of Virginia; Yuval Waldman, Artistic Director of the Sidney Krum Concert Series

Admission: General - $10 | YIVO members, seniors and students - $7
Box Office: | 212.868.4444

Before World War II, the Soviet Union was the only country in the world to officially promote Jewish music. After World War II, Soviet authorities declared that Jewish music did not exist. Yet all along, major Soviet composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Miecyzslaw Weinberg, and Mikhail Gnesin found deep inspiration in the sounds of Ashkenazi Jewish folk music. How did these composers manage to weave Jewish themes into some of the most stirring music of postwar Soviet society? How did they personally navigate the ongoing strictures of artistic censorship and the periodic cycles of antisemitic repression? In this YIVO event, Professor James Loeffler, Yuval Waldman and the young artists of the Krum Concert Series will explore these questions through a unique pairing of music and words. In a blended lecture-concert, they will present several works including Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8, Mikhail Gnesin's Piano Trio in Memory of Our Perished Children, and Miecyzslaw Weinberg's Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes for violin and piano.

The Sidney Krum Young Artists Concert Series is made possible by a generous gift from the Estate of Sidney Krum. Additional support provided by the Jewish Community Youth Foundation of Princeton, NJ.


James Loeffler is an Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia. He also serves as Scholar-in-Residence at the Pro Musica Hebraica Foundation and Academic Vice Co-Chair of the Jewish Music Forum of the American Society for Jewish Music. His first book, The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire was published by Yale University Press in 2010. It received awards from the Association for Jewish Studies, the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP). In 2013-2014 he is Dean's Visiting Scholar on the Andrew Mellon Foundation New Foundations Fellowship at the Georgetown University Law Center. There he is working on a book about Jews, Israel, and international human rights.

Born in Russia and educated in Israel, the United States and Europe, Yuval Waldman has enjoyed great success as a violinist, conductor, and educator. Waldman has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel and given recitals at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall in London, and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 2005 Maestro Waldman founded Music Bridges International, to foster cross-cultural music exchange programs that feature the music of different countries. Under the Music Bridges banner, he organized the successful Young Artsist Strings Competition at the “Tchaikovsky’s Homeland” Center in Izhevsk/Votkinsk, Russia.

Venue: YIVO Institute at the Center for Jewish History  |  15 West 16th Street - NYC   view map

For directions and parking information, click here.

All public programs are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of assistive listening devices are available for deaf and hard of hearing individuals upon request.