Welcome to JMI's April newsletter.
We are pleased to be hosting, with SOAS and the Jewish Film Festival, a screening of 'The Lady at Number Six', the Oscar award-winning documentary that tells the incredible story of Alice Herz-Sommers, the 110 year old Terezin survivor and concert pianist, whose archive testimony is featured in JMI's production Drawing Life, and who, very sadly, died last month. The event will start with a presentation from Alice’s friend and colleague, ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl, and the screening will be followed by a Q&A with producer Chris Branch.

Zingt! The People's Yiddish Chorus led by Polina Shepherd at JW3 is going from strength to strength – so if you are inspired to sing in Yiddish – don't be shy, the next session is 8th April. You'll have the chance to learn traditional and new Yiddish songs as well as nigunim and the specific ornamentation of this singing style.

Booking is now open for our summer programme – Ot Azoy (Yiddish Language Programme) and the Golden Peacock (Yiddish Song School) - with a fantastic faculty, including some old favourites and some exciting new additions. So, make sure you get in early to secure your spot. We sold out last year!

All best wishes

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Gala Performance and Dinner
Following the success of the Drawing Life preview at Kings Place at the opening night of Jewish Book Week, JMI is proud to present a special preview performance of Drawing Life, followed by a celebratory dinner with the artists.  Drawing Life is a new multimedia performance piece composed by Jocelyn Pook and directed by Emma Bernard with visuals by Dragan Aleksic. The piece is inspired by the collection of poems and drawings made by the children imprisoned in the Terezin concentration camp. This is a rare opportunity to see our latest commission on stage at JW3, ahead of the world premiere at LSO St Luke's in October.

Date: Wed 2 July
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: JW3




The JMI team would like to offer their heartfelt thanks to Jokesters Michael Grade, Maureen Lipman and David Schneider for their generous donation of time and talent at our Joke Lunch held on the 11th March 2014.
The event was completely sold out, a huge success, and our additional thanks go to everyone who joined us to support JMI and our scholarship schemes. Two hours of hilarious jokes and laughter - and a much needed £20,000 was raised which will be deeply appreciated by the recipients. We have already reserved Tuesday 10th March 2015 for our next Joke Lunch so please do save this date.

We would like to wish everyone very best wishes and good health over Pesach and Easter.




In memory of Alice Herz-Sommer
February 2014 saw the passing away of Alice Herz-Sommer and to pay tribute to her story, talent and optimistic spirit, JMI, the UK Jewish Film Festival and SOAS are staging a tri-hosted event in honour of Alice. In this Oscar award winning film, 110 year-old Alice Herz Sommer shares her views on how to live a long and happy life.  She discusses music, laughter and how to remain optimistic come what may. Alice is unequivocal in stating that music preserved her sanity and her life – while bringing hope into the lives of countless others: “Music saved my life and music saves me still,” she stated when the film was made. The film features beautiful photographs and rare film footage bringing Alice’s extraordinary story to life. The event will start with a presentation from Alice's friend and colleague, ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl, and the screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Chris Branch. All profits from this event will be donated to the Holocaust Educational Trust.


Date: Thu 29 April 
Time: 6pm
Venue: SOAS, Russell Sq.
Price: £7 to the public.




Study Yiddish Language

Discover JMI's famous full immersion courses in Yiddish Language, Song and Culture for people of all  ages, levels and backgrounds, where even complete beginners learn to speak, read, write, sing and even dream in Yiddish in a week. Ot Azoy Yiddish language classes are held at 4 levels, led by world renowned Yiddish Lecturer Helen Beer and her distinguished team of fellow Yiddishists, Sonia Pinkusowitz-Dratwa, Annick Prime-Margules, Lily Kahn and Barry Davis. Shura Lipovsky, Director of The Golden Peacock (Goldene Pave), will also teach a daily session of Yiddish through song. This year we are pleased to welcome to the faculty Annick Prime-Marguiles of The Medem Yiddish Institute in Paris. Last summer the course was full, attracting participants  from countries as diverse as Canada, Sweden, Germany, Lithuania and Scotland, so we recommend early booking.

Date: Sun 10 to Fri 15 August
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq. 
Price: £145-245




Study Yiddish Song 

Our annual summer song school returns this year with the addition of new faculty, courses and syllabus. Once again the course will provide complete immersion in Yiddish song and song culture.  Each day will start with a repertoire class and will be followed by teaching classes on roots, modality and traditions. The change comes afternoon when following repertoire classes also attended by Ot Azoy students, there will be a master class with our esteemed international faculty of acclaimed Yiddish singers, Shura Lipovsky, Polina Shepherd and 2014 Songlines Awards Nominee Karsten Troyke. Singers will also be taught Yiddish for Singers with Helen Beer and no day will be complete without joining in Polina's Yiddish Choir. This course is now open to apply.


Date: Sun 10 to Fri 15 August
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq. 
Price: £145-245




Join our choir  

Led by Polina Shepherd, one of Europe’s leading musicians in the field, JMI's Zingt! The People's Chorus at JW3 is open to all. Participants learn traditional and modern Yiddish songs, nigunim and specific ornamentations of this singing style. They sing Yiddish songs in 1-4 parts with and without sheet music and nigunim accompanied by piano and a cappella. To book your place click here

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Date: Tue 8 April 
Time: 7pm to 8.30pm 
Venue: JW3
Price: £10




ECC in Budapest for 2014

We are delighted to give you advance notice that booking is now open for the 9th Annual European Cantors Convention in Budapest 10 – 14 July 2014 at the Bethlen Square Synagogue. Budapest has some of the most beautiful synagogues in Europe and an outstanding musical tradition. This year's theme is "The High Holydays: Inspire and Be Inspired". Organised and hosted by the Central and Eastern European branch of ECA, headed by Rabbi/Cantor David Schwezoff and Cantor Laszlo Fekete. In a recent statement the ECA said, "We are honoured to have as our guest teachers this year, the revered cantors, Asher Hainovitz of Jerusalem and Yaakov Motzen of Florida. They will be supported by Toronto’s Eric Moses and others. Sessions include nusach and davening as well as masterclasses and a session on ‘Leadership, Goal Setting, and Job Satisfaction’." This is a must for all cantors and those involved or with an interest in synagogue music.

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Date: 10-14 July 
Venue: Dohány Street Synagogue, Budapest
Price: £145-245




Future Music 
This summer, MyIsrael will be bringing the Musicians of Tomorrow over from Israel for a UK tour that will include performances in Leeds, Manchester and London. The Musicians of Tomorrow are a group of child musicians who were each discovered and are trained by Anna Rosnovsky, a retired first violinist of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. These musically gifted children, mostly from tough socio-economic backgrounds, are aged from seven upwards and travel from all over the North of Israel to attend daily music lessons. The tour, sponsored by Donna and Trevor Leigh in memory of Erica Lane will be the first time that any of the youngsters have been in the UK. There will be two performances on July 6th at Ivy House in Hampstead - a 3pm interactive concert for families and a separate evening programme from 8pm.

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Date: Sun 6 July
Time: 3pm & 8pm
Venue: LJCC


Tue 1 April - Handel's Israel in Egypt - JW3
As a musical prelude to the festival of Passover, The English Chamber Choir perform Handel’s graphic musical setting of the story of the Exodus depicting the flight of the Israelites from the tyranny of the Pharaohs.
Tickets here

Fri 4 April -  Orchestra of the City - St. James, Piccadilly
Supported by the Adele and John Gray Endowment Fund and the Embassy of Israel.
Smetana - Ma Vlast (Vysehrad, Vltava, Tabor & Blanik)
Strauss - Serenade in E flat major
-World Premiere-
Gilad Hochman - Nedudim (Wanderings) Fantasia Concertante for Mandolin and String Orchestra (2013-2014)
Conductor - Chris Hopkins
Mandolin - Alon Sariel Tickets here

Sun 6 April -  The Brodsky Quartet - LJCC 
Hailed as one of the finest String Quartets in the world, the innovative Brodsky Quartet, formed in 1972, has played over 3,000 concerts in all the major international concert halls. They have also collaborated with rock and pop stars including Björk, Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney. Hear them at Ivy House for a performance of seminal and evocative works.
Bach, The Art of Fugue
Brahms, String Quartet No.1 in C minor, Op.51
Beethoven, String Quartet No.14 in C♯ minor, Op.131 
Tickets here 

Sun 6 April  - Ian Shaw sings the Jewish Songbook - JW3 
After his sell-out concert at JW3 in October 2013, the irrepressible Ian Shaw returns to Jazz at JW3 with a very special one-off show, featuring a selection of songs from his favourite Jewish songwriters.
From Lionel Bart to Stephen Sondheim, from Broadway to the Brill Building, Ian delves into the Jewish songbook bringing it to life. Ian is two-time winner of the BBC Jazz Awards Best Vocalist, and this is him at his unmissable best.
Tickets here

Sun 27 April -  Vladimir Ashkenazy in Conversationc- LJCC
Vladimir Ashkenazy in Conversation with Edward Seckerson:
One of the world’s most revered musicians, Vladimir Ashkenazy forged a career as one of the greatest pianists and has devoted much of the last 20 years to conducting. Ashkenazy is Conductor Laureate of the Philharmonia Orchestra and Music Director of the European Youth Orchestra. This is an exclusive opportunity to hear him talk with Edward Seckerson about his life as a pianist and conductor, including his background and training in Russia, the magnificent repertoire of his performances and his acclaimed interpretations
Tickets here

Tue 29 April - Korngold, Shostakovich and Shakespeare - Southbank 
 Korngold's sumptuously romantic incidental music for a 1919 Viennese production of Much Ado About Nothing is partnered with Shostakovich's outrageous and witty 1932 incidental music for Hamlet, written at the same time the composer was working on Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.This concert also features the first performance of Korngold's beautiful Shakespeare Songs in a new orchestration by Orchestra of St Paul's musical director, Ben Palmer.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Incidental music to Much Ado About Nothing, Op.11 (complete)
Dmitry Shostakovich: Suite from the Incidental Music to Hamlet, Op.32a
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Shakespeare Songs, Op.29 & Op.31 arr. Ben Palmer for chamber orchestra (World premiere)
Orchestra of St Paul's
Ben Palmer conductor
Sarah Gabriel sopranos
Tickets here



Pesach Holiday 
This Pesach (Passover) marks the first anniversary of JMI's monthly radio show, so join JMI's radio host Gil Karpas in looking back at some of the highlights and achievements of the year, featuring interviews with Sophie Solomon, Yasmin Levy, Frank London, Lorin Sklamberg and Stephen Leas. All of our shows can be listened to here. The show will be back with the May edition with a consistently broad range of features and interviews with the people, music and stories that together make up the world of Jewish Music.