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Judaic Studies pres.

Influence of Biblical Cantillations on Art Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Jascha Nemtsov, pianist and musicologist

Jascha Nemstov Jascha Nemstov
Jascha Nemstov
The oldest part of Jewish music culture is the ritualized presentation of texts from the Hebrew Bible (tanakh) organized through a complex and highly diversified system of strict musical rules and distinct motifs (cantillations). This system was essentially created during the Biblical times; it was then passed on orally for several centuries and codified in the 9th century with special signs (teamim). Since the beginning of the 20th century, the motifs of biblical cantillations have been perceived by Jewish composers as the “most authentic” part of the Jewish musical tradition and used as a source of inspiration and “building material” in many works. As a rule, in this context the motifs of cantillation lost their connection to the liturgy and their direct relation to the text and were merely identified as the musical embodiment of the Jewishness. By their archaic character and their shortness of breath they also significantly influenced the musical style of the new Jewish art music.

There is both an accessible elevator and gender-neutral restroom on the first and second floor. If you have a disability that requires an accommodation, contact the Judaic Studies office at or 734-763-9047.

The lecture is part of a two-day residency, "Jewish Art Music in Interwar Europe". Dr. Nemtsov will join School of Music, Theatre & Dance students and alumni in two concerts of Jewish art music.
Concerts are free and open to the public with receptions to follow.

University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance
E.V. Moore Building, 1100 Baits Drive in Britton Recital Hall.

Monday, March 25, 8 pm
Works by Juliusz Wolfsohn, Alexander Weprik, Alberto Hemsi, Leo Zeitlin, Jacob Schoenberg, and Josef Achron for piano, voice, woodwinds, and strings

Tuesday March 26, 8 pm
Works by Alexander Krein, Janot Roskin, Joachim Stutschewsky, Lazare Saminsky, Viktor Ullman, and Julius Chajes for piano, voice, clarinet, and strings

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