Welcome to the February Newsletter,

The JMI office is positively buzzing following a highly successful tour of Drawing Life, with appearances on BBC2's Newsnight, BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and rave reviews. The Times reviewer gave the piece 4 stars and wrote, "Multimedia packages of music and video are ten a penny, but I can't remember one that matched the dynamic blend and emotional appeal of 'Drawing Life' "

This month, we are very much looking forward to celebrating Dr. Alexander Knapp's 70th Birthday with a concert at Belsize Square Synagogue and we're happy to be supporting the fantastic Alyth Music Fair.

Don't forget to check out our latest podcast featuring an interview with Idan Raichel who appears at the Barbican later this month. I'm also thrilled to confirm that Dr. Alan Bern and Lorin Sklamberg will be joining the faculty of Klezfest and the Goldene Pave this year so make sure to book your places well in advance.

Have a great month,

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A stunning success

JMI's commission of Drawing Life by award-winning composer Jocelyn Pook and renowned director and dramaturg Emma Bernard, toured the UK from 22nd - 30th January, playing to hugely receptive audiences in Nottingham, Warwick and London. This unique multi-media work is based on poems and drawings from the book I Never Saw Another Butterfly.
Closing the BBC Newsnight programme on Wednesday 27th January, the cast and the Zemel Choir performed the last song of the piece, “Birdsong”, to mark Holocaust memorial day. Jocelyn Pook and Emma Bernard were interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Friday 29th January.
The tour reached over a thousand people and culminated in a brilliant performance at Milton Court, Barbican.

"Drawing Life is a beautiful, but unbearably moving performance. The music and singing are stunning. The story of Terezin is terrible, but needs to be told."  Jenni Murray BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour

"Multimedia packages of music and video are ten a penny, but I can’t remember one that matched the dynamic blend and emotional appeal of Drawing Life." Geoff Brown, The Times

"A ray of sun is sometimes all it takes for a person trapped under rubble to gather strength and wait for rescuers to arrive. The multi-media performance portrayed beautifully the power of the sound of music, or the colours of a butterfly's wings  - to bring relief, if only momentary, to the tormented souls and bodies of those like the Terezin Camp's inmates. It gave the audience the opportunity to realise how important these moments were, through the testimonies of the survivors." Dan Golan, Director of Culture, Israeli Embassy, London.

"Drawing Life is important because it is not only the story of the Jews in the Holocaust but a reminder to us all to fight bigotry and prejudice. It is a beautiful and inspiring play which makes audiences both weep and reflect." Lady Solti, Joint-President of JMI

"The performance of Drawing life was intensely moving and  has haunted my thoughts ever since I saw it. It created a soundscape for the astonishing poems and pictures of the children. The seamless direction avoided every cliché. It moved minimalistically and was never sentimental. I loved it." Maureen Lipman

"One of the most moving things I've seen and the most beautiful music I've ever heard. So beautifully and simply directed too and the story so clearly told. I thought the recorded and filmed pieces incredibly powerful and finishing with wonderful Alice Herz-Sommer absolutely breathtaking." Patrick Barlow,Actor and Playwright



Press and Media

To view a gallery of pictures from the last night of the tour, please click here

Click the pictures below to listen or hear the features.

Jocelyn Pook (Composer) and Emma Bernard (Director) talk about creating the piece.

Watch the cast of Drawing Life with the Zemel Choir close BBC Newsnight's programme on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Listen to Jocelyn Pook and Emma Bernard in interview on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour

Read The Times' Critic Geoff Brown's 4 star review of the concert in The Times

We interviewed composer Jocelyn Pook about her inspiration for the music. That feature can be heard here 

Emma Bernard was interviewed for Radio Plus Coventry and that feature can be heard here

Jocelyn Pook was also interviewed on InTune and that feature can be heard here

Jennifer Jankel was interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham. That feature can be heard here




Alex Knapp at 70: a Belsize Musical Celebration

The celebration features: The Wallace Ensemble with Cantor Paul Heller and the Choir of Belsize Square Synagogue, directed by Benjamin Wolf. 

The popular annual orchestral concert this year celebrates British composer, pianist, scholar, teacher and Jewish music specialist, Alexander Knapp. Alex was the first Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music at SOAS University of London. Enjoy music by Elgar, Handel, Bloch and Alexander Knapp.

Tickets: £15 
Phone: 020 7794 3949
Venue: Belsize Square Synagogue, 51 Belsize Square, NW3 4HX 

The concert is presented in association with the Jewish Music Institute and supported by the Joe and Mildred Loss fund.

We interviewed Alex Knapp and Ben Wolf. That feature can be heard here

  Concert info: 

Date: Sun 7th Feb 
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Belsize Square Synagogue
Price: £15



JMI and JW3 are very excited to present their new singing workshops with an exciting difference!

Whether you can read music or not - Rachel Weston welcomes you to her dynamic set of six workshops. Together, melodies from around the Jewish world will be explored from ancient tunes to modern niggunim, from Yiddish to Ladino and from well-known modern composers. Join this group, form friendships, share your enthusiasm for the Jewish tradition of enjoying and making music.

Twice monthly Tuesdays on the following dates:

9th & 23rd February
8th & 22nd March

Time: 6.45-8.45pm

  Zing info: 

Dates: Jan to March 2016 
Time: 6.45-8.45pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £12 per session 


Companion Voices

JMI are very proud to continue our partnership with Judith Silver and her singing group for end-of-life care. Companion Voices is a group of singers who can be called to the bedside of people who are dying, to share their voices and loving presence. Monthly learning and preparation sessions are led by Judith Silver, a singer, composer, choir leader and Natural Voice Practitioners’ Network member. Currently there are groups in Brighton and Watford.

Join the Companion Voices group for 2016 here

The sessions will be held at the North London Hospice from 6pm – 8pm on:

10 February
9 March 
13 April
11 May
&  8 June (celebration) 2016

Price: £75 for the term. Places are limited.
Location: North London Hospice Finchley, 47 Woodside Avenue, London N12 8TT

For information and to book, please contact Naama by email here or by telephone: 020 7898 4307

We interviewed Judith to find out more about her as a practitioner and the choir itself. That interview can be heard here

  Group info:

Dates: January to June
Time: 6pm-8pm
Venue: North London Hospice
Price: £75 for full term


Some of Britain’s finest Jewish musicians will inspire and teach you from a vast array of topics. There will be stalls featuring many Jewish music societies and organisations you may wish to join and CDs and music for you to browse and purchase. 

Choose from 20 different workshops throughout the day with a chance to perform, participate, listen, learn, chat, network, eat, drink and have a stimulating or relaxing day depending on your mood. 

Session leaders for 2016 include: Viv Bellos MBE, Robert Davis, Joseph Finlay, Katie Haibach (New Director of Music), Daniel Jonas, Ronen Kozokaro, Vivi Lachs, Alexander Massey, Malcolm Miller, Polina Shepherd, Annita Tischler and Benjamin Wolf

Tea, coffee and biscuits are available throughout the day, free of charge.

Last year we interviewed Viv Bellos MBE, the previous director of music at Alyth Gardens synagogue. Listen to the podcast here

  Fair info:

Date: Sun 21 Feb
Time: 10am to 5.15pm
Venue: North Western Reform Synagogue
Price: £25-35


Return to London 

Israeli producer and composer Idan Raichel is joined by guests including Maya Avraham, Avi Wogderess Vasa, Gilad Shmueli and Yogev Glusman to unveil music from his new album, At the Edge of the Beginning.

Breaking down barriers between people of different backgrounds and beliefs, Idan Raichel’s music captures a side to Israel we don’t often get to see. Weaving together musical traditions from Jewish communities in Israel with roots all over the world, he creates intricate, passionate songs that show off just how vast and diverse the culture of his homeland is.

Having performed previously with everyone from Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure to German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, here Raichel is joined by an intimate ensemble of Israeli musicians on piano in a performance that perfectly captures his message of cultural collaboration.

‘A fascinating window into the young, tolerant, multi-ethnic Israel taking shape away from the headlines’ Boston Globe

‘A multi-ethnic tour de force’ Billboard Magazine

We interviewed Idan Rachel. That feature can be heard here

  Concert info:

Date: 23 February
Time: 8pm
Venue: Barbican Main Hall
Price: £20-45


Klezmer meets Carnatic traditions

The acclaimed double bass player - Daphna Sadeh and the South Indian violin player - Jyotsna Srikanth collaborate with new and exciting Balkan Jazz and Indian Carnatic compositions. Their performance will celebrate their virtuosity of Klezmer and Carnatic musical heritage together with new sound they create from the violin and double bass. The performance will feature Daphna's brilliant group The Voyagers with Stewart Curtis (Sax), Mark Bassey (trombone), David Frankal (piano), Chris Nicholls (drums). 

Daphna and Jyotsna will perform on:
Sunday Lunchtime February 7th
1:30pm (doors open at 12pm )
Pizza Express Jazz club in Soho, London .
More details here

  Concert info:

Date: 7th February
Time: Doors 12noon. Concert 1330pm
Venue: Pizza Express Soho
Price: £15


Menuhin Centenary

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Yehudi Menuhin's birthday, the Menuhin Competition returns to London for the first time since 2004. International soloists and 44 of the world's best young violinists will star in an 11-day festival of concerts and events for all ages.

The competition is hosted by the Royal Academy of Music and presented in partnership with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Southbank Centre and the Yehudi Menuhin School and held in association with the Jewish Music Institute, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Live Music Now.

With a star-studded jury - many of them former prize winners - and a programme dedicated to Yehudi Menuhin, the Menuhin Competition London 2016 calls for entries from young violinists born after 17 April 1994.

This years competition features 44 competitors drawing on an international wealth of aspiring talent. To see the two videos previewing the competition, please see here

  Events info:

Dates: 7 to 17 April
Venues: Across London


Alternative Menuhin

An all-star line-up led by JMI's Artistic Director Sophie Solomon with Tcha Limberger, John Etheridge, Dave Kelbie, Andy Crowdy, Sheema Mukherjee and others will take place on 10 April 2016 at JW3 for what is set to be a stunning concert.

Yehudi Menuhin had a life-long involvement in a wide range of musical genres. He was the most prominent classical musician of his generation to embark on cross-genre collaborations and his work with Indian musician and sitar player Ravi Shankar and jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli is legendary. The programme will be directed by British violinist, songwriter, composer and Artistic Director of JMI, Sophie Solomon. The concert will celebrate the musical diversity of the violin in a tribute to Yehudi Menuhin during the centenary year of his birthday.

Tickets for this exciting concert are now on sale at JW3 here 

Presented by the Jewish Music Institute in association with the Menuhin Competition

  Concert info: 

Date: Sun 10 April 2016
Time: 8pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £25


Michael Grade, Maureen Lipman and David Schneider 

For the fourth year running, the unique JMI JOKE LUNCH returns on Tuesday 7th June 2016 to beautiful Kent House in Knightsbridge. We are thrilled to be welcome back our Joint-President Lord Grade CBE and actress Maureen Lipman CBE to entertain us with their selection of hilarious jokes. Compere David Schneider,one of the funniest stars of UK stage and screen, will again serve as our Master of Ceremonies. All funds raised at this event are deeply appreciated and are essential for JMI's continuing and expanding programmes of Jewish Music and culture. A delicious lunch will be interspersed with seriously large quantities of mirth and merriment. Save the date and secure your place by calling our office on 020 7898 4307 or by emailing 

  Lunch info: 

Date: Tue 7 Jun
Time: 12-3pm
Venue: Kent House


Learn Yiddish

Discover JMI's famous full immersion courses in Yiddish Language, Song and Culture for people of all ages, levels and backgrounds, where complete beginners can learn to speak, read, write, sing and even dream in Yiddish in a week.

Ot Azoy Yiddish language classes are held at 5 levels and are directed by the head of Yiddish at UCL, Dr Khayele Beer with a faculty of world class Yiddish tutors and experts. As well as hands-on classroom teaching, the course also features an extensive cultural programme of music, theatre, poetry and lectures from a world of Yiddish past and present. Shura Lipovsky, the outstanding Director of The Golden Peacock (Goldene Pave), will also teach a daily session of Yiddish through song.

These courses are always sold out, attracting participants from across the world, so we recommend early booking. If you are booking before May 1st you receive £15 off the full price and if you are a returning student you receive a further £15 off making it a total of £30 off the full price. (Students/Senior receive only the early bird discount or the returning discount)

We interviewed Khayele, Sonia and Lily from the faculty. To hear the feature and to book your place please visit here

  Course info:

Date: Sun 7 - Fri 12 Aug
Venue: SOAS Vernon Sq.
Price: £250-£150


Sing Yiddish

Our annual summer song school returns this year to provide a complete immersion in Yiddish song and song culture. There will be repertoire classes, masterclasses and a Yiddish Choir for all. This year the confirmed faculty are course leader Shura Lipovsky, Berlin's Yiddish folk-bard Karsten Troyke, Rachel Weston and we are delighted to welcome back Lorin Sklamberg of Klezmatics/YIVO all the way from New York to teach on the faculty this year.

Singers will also be taught Yiddish for Singers with Helen Beer and no day will be complete without joining in the Yiddish choir. There are also social events, Yiddish theatre, film, concerts and much more, so do not delay and book your place early.

We interviewed Shura Lipovsky, Karsten Troyke and Lorin Sklamberg from the faculty about their love of the music, the songs and the culture. To hear that feature and to book your place, please visit here

  Course info:

Date: Sun 7 - Fri 12 Aug
Venue: SOAS Vernon Sq.
Price: £250-£150


Learn Klezmer

We are delighted that after a very successful relaunch last August, our world famous Klezmer summer school returns for 2016. Join our music school and learn klezmer this summer at KlezFest 2016. Here is a peek into what you can expect:

• Hands-on tutoring from world leading experts.
• Traditional klezmer; history, melodies, ornamentation, dance and accompaniment
• Play music in ensembles and delve into improvisational techniques
• Interpret scores, jam and perform to the public.

Faculty confirmed so far::

Ilana Cravitz (Violin - UK)
Alan Bern (Accordion - USA/DE)
Merlin Shepherd (Clarinet - UK)
Susi Evans (Clarinet - UK)
Guy Schalom (Percussion - UK)
Francesca Ter-berg (Cello - UK)

More faculty to be announced very soon, please keep yourself updated by checking the JMI website.

Minimum instrumental proficiency: Grade 5 or equivalent. No klezmer experience necessary. All are welcome. For more information and to book please visit our website here

  Course info:

Date: Mon 15 - Fri 19 Aug
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £250-£150-£120
Early bird prices available


Jewish Book Week

Some Enchanted Evening: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein
Henry Goodman, Michael Haslam, Stuart Permutt, Issy Van Randwyck, Clive Rowe

Thursday, 18 February 2016 - 8:00pm
Location: Hall 1
Price: £39.50
Saver price: £24.50
Book here

Some Enchanted Evening Second Performance
Henry Goodman, Issy Van Randwyck, Clive Rowe, Michael Haslam, Stuart Permutt

Saturday, 20 February 2016 - 8:30pm
Location: Hall 1
Price: £39.50
Saver price: £24.50
Book here


Klezmer in the Peak District

JMI are proud to support KlezNorth, the north of England's premier Klezmer course which is run by a dedicated and talented team of Klezmoriim, song and dance leaders. KlezNorth 2015 was a resounding success with the very talented Deborah Strauss as Musical Director. KlezNorth 2016's dates are Friday 11th to Sunday 13th March. This year Kleznorth are delighted to announce that the Musical Director will be Ilana Cravitz, with a wonderful team of tutors including Andreas Schmitges, Susi Evans and Indira Buraczewska, as well as the Kleznorth Team.

This is a calendar highlight for Klezmer devotees. Attendees of KlezNorth 2016 receive a discount for JMI's summer schools, a strong incentive to attend both KlezNorth and JMI summer schools. More details on KlezNorth can be found at their website here

In 2014 we interviewed artistic director Christian David and Kleznorth's very own Phil Tomlinson to find out more about the festival and that can be heard here

  Kleznorth info: 

Date: 11-13 March 2016 
Venue: Derbyshire
Price: See website


Leading the congregation

EAJL'S T’filla Leaders European Retreat is for people who are hungry to learn, people who lead or who want to lead prayer, people who sing in tune & use their natural voice, people who have fluency in reading Siddur Hebrew and people who have a love of community.  4th UK Retreat for a very special learning experience for all prayer leaders.

For 2016, the retreat will be led by four inspirational teachers from all over the world - Joey Weisenberg from the USA, Rabbi Dr. James Jacobson-Maisels from Israel, Chazan Jalda Rebling from Germany and Chazan Jaclyn Chernett from UK.

We interviewed Jaclyn and Joey. That featured can be heard here

  Retreat info: 

Date: 7 - 10 July
Venue: Charney Manor, Wantage, Oxon


The Great Yiddish Parade

All are invited to the third round of the Great Yiddish Parade - chorus and band. This is a big band of players and singers, bringing Yiddish onto the streets. They have 2 confirmed gigs next summer. All newcomers are welcome whether experienced or not and players who can sight read brass and percussion are welcome.



£10-20 sliding scale. Includes a steaming bowl of soup. Bring nibbles to

Email for venue details.

Yiddish Choir Concert

Polina Shepherd (outstanding pianist and singer) with her London Yiddish
Choir will perform a very special concert at Richmond Synagogue

Sunday February 21st 7:00pm
Tickets £12 per person to include interval refreshments
by cheque to Richmond Synagogue, Lichfield Gardens, TW9 1AP
or tel 020 8940 3526



(Picture: Lahav Shani)

Lahav Shani conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra 
Thursday 4th Feb
Royal Festival Hall
More details here

LPO plays Gershwin
Friday 5th Feb
Royal Festival Hall
More details here

Friday 5th Feb
More details here

Don Kipper
Friday 5th Feb
Green Note, London
More details here

Friday 5th Feb
Tatreez Cafe
More details here

London Klezmer Session
Sunday 7th Feb
The Harrison
Kings Cross, London
More details here

Manchester Klezmer Session
Monday 8th Feb
Ducie Arms
More details here 

Baladi Blues Ensemble
Saturday 13th February
More details here

Music of Josef Tal
Tuesday 15th Feb
Royal College of Music
More details here

Avi Avital plays Ben-Haim
Thursday 18th Feb
Wigmore Hall
More details here

Don Kipper
Thursday 18th Feb
More details here

Saturday 20th February
Jamboree, London
More details here

Saturday 27th February
Centenary Centre, Isle of Man
More details here

Saturday 27th February
More details here

Sunday 28th February
Artsdepot, London
More details here

Sunday 28th Feb
Upstairs at the Ritzy
More details here


Shye Ben-Tzur & Jonny Greenwood

A powerful coming together of Eastern and Western musical traditions, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur present the first full UK performance of their new project Junun.

Recorded in a makeshift studio inside a 15th-century fort in the Indian state of Rajasthan with Radiohead Producer Nigel Godrich, Junun comprises compositions by Ben Tzur. Performed here by Ben Tzur and the 19-piece Rajasthan Express band, with Greenwood adding electronic textures to the rolling percussion, horns and vocal chants, together they create music that is rousing and celebratory one moment, swirling and spiritual the next.

‘Joyous and hypnotic’ Guardian

‘Never has Qawwali been so radio(head)-friendly’ Songlines Magazine

Having previously debuted the event at Southbank Centre in 2014, we interviewed Shye Ben Tzur for an interview and that feature cn be heard here

  Concert info:

Date: 11 March
Time: 8pm
Venue: Barbican Main Hall
Price: £17.50-25


Celebration of Spring

Spring  Concert 2016
Sunday 13 March 2016 5.00pm
Bob Chilcott’s Song’s and Cries of London Town with works by Alyth Choral Society composer in residence Julian Dawes and Kelvin Thomson ACS with the Alyth Children’s Chorus Conductor Vivienne Bellos
Please note the early start time for this concert 5.00pm.

  Concert info:

Date: 13 March
Time: 5pm
Venue: North Western Reform Synagogue, Finchley
Price: £12


Achinoam Nini (also known as Noa) is Israel’s leading singer-songwriter. She has released over 15 albums which have sold millions the world over and has shared the stage with a wide range of artists including Sting, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Andrea Bocelli and many more.

18 March - JW3 London
20 March - Arts Theatre London
20 March - Arts Theatre London
21 March - Academy 2 Manchester

Tour info:

Dates: 18-20-21 March 
Venues: Across UK



Alex Knapp and Idan Raichel

This month JMI's radio series continues with two features for you to enjoy.

The first is a feature celebrating the 70th birthday of our first Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music at SOAS, Alexander Knapp. There is a forthcoming concert at Belsize Square Synagogue on 7th February which will be led by Benjamin Wolf. We interviewed both Alex and Ben. That feature can be heard here

The second is a feature on the forthcoming concert at Barbican by Israeli music superstar Idan Raichel. His cross cultural mix has come to define modern Israeli music with the commonwealth of its ethnic fusions. We interviewed Idan about his music and the latest release "At the Edge of the Beginning" and you can hear that feature here

All our other radio shows and features since 2012 can be found archived for your listening pleasure at our radio page here

Marketing and Creative Projects Manager
(Maternity Cover)

We are looking for a 'people person' with experience of working closely with performers and creatives. A background in, and passion for, the arts and/or culture is necessary as are strong administrative skills.

Applicants will also have experience of developing on and off line marketing materials, writing copy and a thorough knowledge of the Jewish cultural world.

You will be required to create and implement marketing strategies to promote JMI and the work it does. Skills include the ability to manage, facilitate and administer events, projects and relationships with JMI's partner organisations and artists.

If you also have experience in nurturing relationships with the press and are diligent, organised and have a good eye for detail, please send JMI your CV accompanied by a personal statement. Apply here