Welcome to the February JMI Newsletter of 2013

February's a busy month here at JMI. Our new vocal workshop begins at SOAS, we're celebrating Leonard Cohen at Jewish Book Week and we'll be heading down to the Alyth Garden Synagogue's Jewish Music Fair. There's also some great concerts coming up in our Top Picks section.

I'm also pleased to announce that booking is now open for our Little Bookniks event on Saturday March 10th as part of Jewish Book Week at the Jewish Museum in London.

Our annual fundraiser, the JMI Joke Lunch, is now on sale and this year we have not only our regular joke tellers Lord Grade and Maureen Lipman but are also welcoming the hugely talented David Schneider as our new compere.

We look forward to seeing many of you out and about this month

With very best wishes


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Ot Azoy & The Golden Peacock
Ot Azoy and The Golden Peacock 
We are pleased to announce that our summer school 2013 is now on sale!

JMI's famous full immersion course 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 four levels, led as ever by Helen (Khayele) Beer with her popular and experienced team of Sonya Pinkusowitz, Heather Valencia and Lily Khan, with Barry Davis presenting classic Yiddish films.

THE GOLDEN PEACOCK is our Yiddish Song course led by Shura Lipovsky with Hilda Bronstein and Polina Shepherd. The course is for advanced singers who wish to embrace the rich Yiddish song repertoire.

You will be amazed at how much you are able to learn and you will be reading, writing, speaking and singing Yiddish in only one week!

If you would like to find out more information on both courses then please go to the following pages.


  Event Information: 

Date: Sun 11 - Fri 16 Aug
Time: 9am - 6.30pm
 SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £235/135

Discounts, Concessions and scholarships are available, please refer to the booking link above.

JMI Events

The great Leonard CohenJewish Book Week - The Words & Music of Leonard Cohen 

Leonard Cohen has had many incarnations: seen by many as a living musical legend, he has been a novelist, poet, folk singer, and Buddhist monk, Admitting to influences as wide ranging as Hebrew prayer and Lorca, Cohen himself has inspired generations of artists. Salman Rushdie said, "If I could write like that, I would!"

Jewish Book Week, in conjunction with the Jewish Music Institutue and Faber Books presents an evening of appreciation for Cohen's poetry, prose and lyrics.

Part 1 – Words

In the first part of the evening, there will be a discussion of Cohen's lyrics and continuing legacy with music journalist Dorian Lynsky, Musician Sophie Solomon, and poet Daljit Nagra.

Part 2 - Music

In this second part of the evening, a stellar cast of self-confessed Leonard lovers, including Emily Barker, Mara Carlyle, Liz Green, Ed Laurie, Sam Lewis and Sophie Solomon, offer their own versions of Cohen's music, backed by a house band featuring some of London's finest musicians.

Tickets are now sold out but for those of you that did not manage to get a ticket, we recommend keeping an eye on the Jewish Book Week website, twitter and facebook pages for any late-release tickets!

  Event information

Date: Sat 23rd Feb 2013 
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Kings Place
Price: £9.50 / £19.50

"Der Nayer Klang" with Rachel Weston at SOAS

Der Nayer Klang 

'DER NAYER KLANG' is a new vocal workshop programme for singers and musicians which focuses on two major strands of the Jewish Eastern European vocal tradition.

The first workshop of each month will explore lesser known songs from the Yiddish folk, contemporary and art song traditions. The second workshop of each month will focus on the voice as a tool for inner reflection via the medium of Chassidic Niggunim (wordless melodies).

Come and discover the captivating charm of Yiddish song through exploring the cultural, linguistic and musical narratives of Jewish Eastern Europe.

This course will be led by Rachel Weston, who is one of the UK's leading Yiddish song experts and a rising star of the international Jewish Music Scene.

  Event information

Date: 6&20 Feb, 6&20 March 
Time: 7pm - 9pm
 SOAS, Russell Sq.
Price: £6 - £25 (see link)

Joke Lunch 2013! 

The JMI annual JOKE LUNCH is a highlight of the spring calendar and features our acclaimed joke tellers; Lord Michael Grade and Maureen Lipman. Our master jokemeister Lord Grade learnt Yiddish at his grandmother's knee, while our star performer Maureen Lipman is possibly Britain's best known and loved Jewish actress, comedienne and columnist. However, this year we introduce our new master of ceremonies, none other than David Schneider. One of the UK's most forefront funny men, David is a regular to both TV and film, all while expressing his lightening wit and effervescent humour.

This event may be a jovial end to the winter blues and a light-hearted look forward to spring but it also serves a greater purpose than mirth and merriment alone. The sponsorships and donations raised for this event help to contribute to the educational scholarship bursary that supports students of Jewish music and culture of all ages.

This year our event doesn't simply have a new compere, it also has a new location, new caterers, serving a kosher menu and of course, plenty of new material. For more information on all our performers, the venue, the menu, the good causes it supports and everything else but the punchline, then click this link; here.

  Event information

Date: Tues 12 March
Time: 12noon - 2.30pm
Venue: Kent House
Price: £125

Jewish Music Fair 2013

Jewish Music Fair 2013

The Jewish Music Institute is proud to be sponsoring the Jewish Music Fair 2013 at Alyth Gardens, North Western Synagogue. Viv Bellos and a supporting cast have been working tirelessly to deliver what could be rightly dubbed as "a musicial Limmud". All in one day, in one place, you get to choose no less than 30 different Jewish Music sessions. As well as it being and inter-disciplinary event with all its layers of learning, it also has a phenomenal amount of entertainment, sagely volumes of insight and if that wasnt enough, you even get a chance to perform!

Some of the UK's finest Jewish Musicians will inspire and teach a vast array of workshops. Great musicians and scholars who have all worked with JMI include; Alex Knapp, Merlin and Polina Shepherd, Ilana Cravitz, Guy Schalom and Daniel Jonas will all feature alongside other great names from the world of Jewish Music. These include Cantor Zoe Jacobs, Benjamin Wolf, Judith Silver, Malcolm Miller and Camille Maalawy and these are just a handful of names from the cast of world-class talent and expertise on offer to the lucky few.

Booking is highly advised at this link; here

  Event information

Date: Sun 17 Feb 
Time: 10am - 6pm
 North Western Reform Synagogue
Price: £10 - £20

KlezNorth in Youlgrave, Derbyshire

KlezNorth 2013

This year the Jewish Music Institute is happy to be supporting Kleznorth - a fantastic weekend of celebrating all aspects of Klezmer and Yiddish Song in the beautiful and picturesque setting of the Derbyshire dales.

KLEZNORTH is a Klezmer weekend held annually in the village of Youlgrave. Now in its 4th year, across 3 days, KlezNorth pack a variety of instrumental workshops, dance workshops, jam sessions, Yiddish song workshops and opportunities to learn about the historical context of Klezmer. It is an opportunity for people to get together and have some fun and learn in an open and friendly environment. This year sees no exception to the quality and excellence that both Judith Plowman and Phil Tomlinson and the rest of the KN team have been working tirelessly to deliver. Just look at the 2013 cast of Klezmoriim HERE! We simply cannot overstate the immense value and the cultural significance of KLEZNORTH. 

  Event information

Date: 1st, 2nd & 3rd March 
Venue: Youlgrave, Derbyshire
Price: £10 - £55 (see website)


JMI Radio Show

Jewish Music Institute Radio Get involved with JMI Radio @ SOAS

We are seeking 2 enthusiastic and motivated volunteers to help us develop and promote the show on a weekly basis.

Call for volunteers: whether you are interested in broadcast journalism, field recordings and research, editing, production and marketing, this opportunity will offer you the chance to gain experience in these areas, learn more about Jewish Music and make some good contacts.

Whether you already have an interest in Jewish Music or not, working on the JMI Radio Show will be a diverse and engaging experience which encompasses original, education and musical programming.

What we require from you:

a) A minimum of 4 hours a week, flexible. This may involve working in our office based in the music department at SOAS or going out and about in London to record interviews or attend gigs.

b) You MUST be a SOAS student.

NB: Training will be provided.

Please also note that you do NOT have to be Jewish to apply for this position.

If you are interested then please contact 




She'Koyokh - Feb 10 
Norden Farm, Maidenhead.

Lovers of Jewish music across the UK hold this band close to their hearts. Each concert they bring delights audiences, as they are swept off on a musical journey through Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. Expect lively Yiddish music, Turkish ballads, wdding dances and virtuosic solos. She'Koyokh were nominated for BEST BAND in the SONGLINES World Music Awards 2012 and were winners at the Netherlands' International Jewish Music Festival competition.

"Stars of the UK Klezmer and original' fRoots

Tickets are available from NORDEN FARM

The Jerusalem Quartet - Feb 13 & 16 

Over from Israel on a 2 date tour of the UK in Birmingham and London, exclusively. The Jerusalem Quartet are acclaimed for their riveting and emotive performances and with a wide programme of Mozart, Shostakovitch, Beethoven, Wolf and Smetana, they will perform two captivating concerts at the BARBER INSTITUTE OF FINE ARTS and the WIGMORE HALL

Yiddish Twist Orchestra on UK Tour! - Feb 2013 

If you were one of the 6000+ attendees of last summer's Klezmer in the Park in Regent Park, you will have had the indelible impression of that infectious sound and showmanship that is the YIDDISH TWIST ORCHESTRA. Formed out of a supergroup of talent, this band have made it their mission to bring back "der Schvitz". A cult like fusion of dancehall styles, all brought together on a pounding Yiddish beat!
More information can be found here at their WEBSITE.

Hilda Bronstein & The Chutzpah Trio - Feb 27  

Award-winning singer and one of our summer song school faculty, HILDA BRONSTEIN returns to the GREEN NOTE to perform her eclectic mix of music, from foot tapping Klezmer to soulful song. Accompanying her will be the CHUTZPAH! TRIO. This features 3 bright stars of the international Jewish Music scene; Meg Hamilton (Violin), Dave Shulman, (Clarinet) and Yair Schleider (Piano/Accordion). There are only a few tickets left and advance booking is highly advised.
Tickets are available here : GREEN NOTE, LONDON

ARC Ensemble at Wigmore Hall - March 10 

The ARC ENSEMBLE enjoys a flourishing reputation for its performances of the music lost or marginalised in the tumult of the 20th Century's conflicts. The ensemble's members are all senior members of Canada's Royal Observatory and are among the most outstanding instrumentalists in the country. Their next recording is devoted to the chamber music of the Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim.

"Passion, polish and vitality" The New York Times

Tickets are available HERE 


Next Month's TOP PICK  

Little Bookniks

JMI is presenting the GREAT BIG STORY ADVENTURE as part of the JEWISH BOOK WEEK's critically acclaimed LITTLE BOOKNIKS day at the JEWISH MUSEUM. The story of Jonah and the Whale unfolds in this interactive musical event led and performed by SAUL EISENBERG'S JUNK ORCHESTRA, storyteller VANESSA WOOLF and guest klezmer musician MEG HAMILTON (violin)

Audience members help to bring an enchanting story to life creating a magical soundscape using fantastic objects from bubble wrap to bicycle tubes.

Spaces limited to 25 per session. 
For ages 4-8
Box office: 020 7284 7384




Date:  Sun 10 March
 10-1045 & 11-1145
Venue: Jewish Museum
Price:  See box office