Welcome to this December's newsletter...

I’m very excited to be able to announce that tickets for Ot Azoy 2015 are now on sale. So plan ahead and book your space right away for the Yiddish event of the year. Also on a Yiddish theme, this month we’re particularly looking forward to our Yiddish choir Zingt! performing their Chanukah concert at JW3. 

Other highlights this month include charismatic singer Rachel Weston’s session at Limmud on 'The Yiddish Songs of Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman' and also Raphael Wallfisch’s concert at Central Synagogue.

All best wishes

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JMI would like to welcome Naama Zohar, our newest member to the team who joined last month as our new Marketing and Creative Projects Manager. Previously, she had managed a wide range of projects, ranging from social and community to executive recruitment projects and has experience of working with a vast array of people and cultures.

We are also delighted to have been invited to entertain for the first and seventh night candles of Chanukah at JW3 with our musicians; Monooka Madas, Meg Hamilton, Susi Evans and Rachel Weston. We are also honoured to have been asked to light the candles on the seventh night.

We would like to wish a Happy Chanukah and Season's Greetings to you all.


OT AZOY! 2015  

Yiddish Language Summer School

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, the outstanding Director of The Golden Peacock (Goldene Pave), will also teach a daily session of Yiddish through song. Last summer the course was full, attracting participants from across the world, so we recommend early booking.


Date: 9 to 14 Aug 
Time: 9.30am-8pm
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £145-245


Chanukah Choral Concert  

An evening of Jewish choral music in celebration of Chanukah. Yiddish songs are deeply rooted in spiritual traditions, Cantorial and Chassidic singing. JMI’s Zingt! The People’s Yiddish Chorus explore the tradition and take it to a new dimension, introducing contemporary compositions and original music – all with attention to cultural context, history and style. Led by Polina Shepherd.

The evening also features the London Jewish Male Choir, an all male chamber choir performing a diverse range of Jewish music: Cantorial, Yiddish song, Musical theatre and modern Chanukah songs The choir, directed by Joseph Finlay, will be fresh from their performance at the Berlin international Lewandowski Festival.

In contrast, Minim Singers – the UK's young pluralist Jewish mixed choir – will also be performing. Only founded in January 2014 these young singers bring experience from many of the UK's best choirs, united by their passion for reviving the Jewish choral tradition.


Date: Tue 23 Dec 
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £15


Sing Yiddish

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 new 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 mostly accompanied by piano but also a cappella.
9th December and culminating in a concert at JW3 on
23rd December.


Date: Twice monthly Tuesdays 
Time: 6.45-8.45pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £10


Festival of learning  

The UK's largest Jewish learning conference is back and set to be as buoyant as ever. Bringing together over 2,500 people of all ages and from across the globe, Limmud Conference offers something for everyone, whether you want to debate burning contemporary issues, jam with a band, study Torah, create art, or just renew old acquaintances and make new friends.

This year JMI are proud to present Rachel Weston one the UK's best Yiddish Song leaders and member of our faculty at our Yiddish Summer Song School, The Golden Peacock. Rachel will be hosting 3 sessions, ranging from concerts, recitals and learning. 'Catch the Sounds...': The Yiddish Songs of Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman' will explore some of Beyle's original Yiddish compositions. JMI will also be present in the Shuk with a JMI stand so please come meet us, see what we have planned for the year ahead and see how you can get more involved in Jewish Music.


Date: Dec 28 to Jan 1
Venue: Warwick University 


Central Synagogue Concert Series 

From Beethoven’s Mouth to Bloch’s Ear Concert
Wednesday 17th December, 7:30pm
Featuring Raphael Wallfisch Violin and John York Piano

In this concert Raphael Wallfisch, one of the most admired cellists of our time, and the pianist John Yorke will perform: 

Three Pieces ‘From Jewish Life’ By Bloch.
An unpublished Sonate (1897)
Beethoven’s 12 Variations on a theme from Handel’s oratorio ‘Judas Maccabeus’

Schumann’s Five Pieces in Folk Idiom
and Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor Op.19.

We interviewed Chazan Steven Leas and Cellist Raphael Wallfisch about the event and that interview can be heard here.


Date: Wed 17 Dec 
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Central Synagogue
Price: £20


Manchester Klezmer

An evening of klezmer and related music featuring a veritable feast of musicians including L'Chaim Kapelye, the Fermishte Klezmer Band, the Michael Kahan Kapelye and the Hard Times Kapelye. The performance will raise funds for the Museum and for the continued development of Jewish music at the university. Building on the success of previous collaborations between the Museum and The University of Manchester, this event will showcase the engagement of Manchester's music students with music originally associated with the shtetls of Eastern Europe. This Music is now enjoying a new lease of life in the capable hands of a new generation of aficionados. You can listen to a podcast with all the people involved here


Date: Sun 7 Dec
Time: 7pm
Venue: Manchester Jewish Museum
Price: £8


Michael Grade, Maureen Lipman and David Schneider

For the third year running, The JMI Joke Lunch returns on March 10th 2015 to the beautiful Kent House in Knightsbridge. We are pleased to be welcoming 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 the Master of Ceremonies. Funds raised at this event contribute towards JMI's educational fund supporting students of Jewish Music and culture of all ages. 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 emailing 


Date: Tue 10 Mar 
Time: 12-3pm
Venue: Kent House, SW7 


Bole, Harlem, Tel Aviv

“Bole, Harlem, Tel Aviv: Ethiopian-Israeli Musicians Play the Diaspora”

In popular representations of the Israeli state and its others, Ethiopian migrants are alternately deployed as a key example of institutional racism or inclusiveness, depending on the perspective of the narrator. In the past several years, though, Ethiopian-Israeli musicians like Abate Barihun and Ester Rada have quietly developed a following in Europe and back in Ethiopia. These musicians have built international careers that, in turn, bring Ethiopian musicians to Tel Aviv as a new stop on their touring routes.

In this lecture, Ilana will describe the process by which Ethiopian musicians have established Tel Aviv as a central node in the Ethiopian diaspora, and how the import of popular African musicians has earned the marginalized Ethiopian-Israeli population social capital as citizens. This is part of book project which stems from her doctoral research.


Date: Thu 5 Feb  
Time: 6.30-8.30pm
Venue: SOAS, Russell Square
Price: Various


Master Musician

JMI is proud to host the master musician Tcha Limberger for this exclusive masterclass. Come and learn gypsy violin from one of the world’s greatest living exponents of this deep and rich musical tradition. Over the last ten years multi-instrumentalist Tcha Limberger has become one of the most prominent and important figures in folk music of the Carpathian Basin. He studied the music of Kalotaszeg, Transylvania, with the legendary Neti Sandor, and the Magyar Nota style of Budapest with Horvat Bela. Born into a famous family of western European Manouche musicians he grew up surrounded by the Gypsy swing style of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli and has toured with Fapy Lafertin and Lollo Meier. At seventeen he studied modern classical composition with Belgian composer Dick Vanderharst and recently composed the music for the piece by Les ballets C de la B ‘Patchagonia’ directed by Alain Platel.

Other than his Budapest Gyspy Orchestra and the Kalotaszeg Trio his current projects include a free improvisation guitar duo with classical guitarist Herman Schamp, and his all-string swing band Les Violons de Brussels. Until now his performances with the Budapest Orchestra have earned him most notoriety, to which The Sunday Times have described him as “The polymath virtuoso Tcha Limberger is the king of Gypsy music!

All instruments welcome although strings players will benefit the most.
Grade 5 or proficient equivalent.


Date: Thu 5 Mar 
Time: 6.30-8.30pm
Venue: SOAS, Russell Sq. 
Price: £7.50-£10


Jacobs Dream

World renowned Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch, known for their intense togetherness and extreme musicality, perform Haydn, Brahms, Bruch, Achron and Mendelssohn for a special evening to raise awareness of the New Israel Fund. Come for a pre-performance drinks reception and an exclusive post-performance discussion with the artists.

'Three of the finest instrumentalists of our time' The Classical Reviewer, 2013

The program

Haydn Piano Trio in E flat, XV:31 Jacob's Dream
Brahms Piano Trio No. 2 in C, Op.87
Bruch Kol Nidrei (cello & piano)
Achron Hebrew Melody (violin & piano)
Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D, Op. 49

The Trio are:
Hagai Shaham violin
Arnon Erez piano
Raphael Wallfisch cello

We interviewed Raphael Wallfisch about the event and that interview can be heard here


Date: Tue 27 Jan 
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Kings Place
Price: Various see booking


Book and CD Launch 

Celebrated Austrian composer Hans Gal, having escaped the Nazi horrors to Britain, found himself incarcerated as an ‘Enemy Alien’ on the Isle of Man. For the first time his diaries of that experience have been translated and published in English by Toccata Press entitled ‘Music behind Barbed Wire’.

A CD set of Hans Gal's recently recorded 4 symphonies by the Swan orchestra conducted by Kenneth Wood is now out on the Avie Label and will also be launched at this event which is presented by Toccata Press and Avie Records, in association with the International Centre for Suppressed Music, the Hans Gal Society, the Jewish Music Institute and Grand Central culture programme at Central Synagogue.

We interviewed Hans Gal's Daughter Eva Fox-Gal and Martin Anderson of Toccata classics and that interview can be heard here


Date: Mon 19 Jan
Time: 6.30-8.30pm
Venue: Central Synagogue
Price: Free



The restitution of art is a subject that now employs entire provenance departments in auction houses, but what about ‘stolen music’? This lecture intends to address the following questions: Can music be stolen and if so, how can it be restored to its original owner? Careers of composers and performers were interrupted, but who was the victim? The people deprived of their livelihoods, or their public? Once in exile, who has the responsibility of restoring these legacies and should these musical estates be repatriated, or should they remain in the countries where they found refuge?

At this event Michael Haas, Director of Research of the International Centre for Suppressed Music and also serves as Deputy Chair of based at Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts. He is also the author of the acclaimed book "Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers Banned by the Nazis". Drawing on his work, Michael Haas will explore the question of whether or not music can be stolen and subsequently restored.


Date: Tue 3 Feb
Time: 6.15pm
Venue: Royal Holloway


From Queen Ester to Zadok the Priest

The Alyth Choral Society, conducted by Robin Osterley with the Alyth Chamber Orchestra and Soloists will perform Handel's Ester and Coronation Anthem. This is one of Handel's most powerful and popular works and can be enjoyed at North West Reform Synagogue, Alyth Gardens on Sunday 7th December.


Date: Sun 7 Dec
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: NW Reform Synagogue
Price: £15


Events by date: 

Klezmer Jam at The Harrison

Sun 7 Dec
Kings Cross, London
Klezmer session at The Harrison
Bring an instrument and a tune to share, or just come along to listen.
Every first Sunday of the month.
Free entry
The Harrison, 28 Harrison Street, London WC1H 8JF

An evening with Nicky Chinn, Don Black and Graham Gouldman
Date: Wed 10th Dec
Location: JW3
Tickets here

Avishai Cohen's Triveni
Date: Wed 10 Dec
Location: Vortex Jazz Club
Tickets here

Reinventing Ritual
Date: Sat 13 Dec
Location: JW3
Tickets here

Kairos 4tet
Date: Wed 17 Dec
Location: Vortex Jazz Club
Tickets here

Chanukah on Ice and on the Dancefloor
Date: Sat 20 Dec
Location: JW3 
Tickets here

Band events by group:

Don Kipper
Date: Wed 17th Dec
Location, Jamoree, Cable Street, East London
Details here

Guy Schalom
Saturday 6th December 2014 - Hexham, Northumberland
Party with live music and dance workshop to live music - exploring another unique subject - led by Guy Schalom.
For info call: Jay 07887 527 586 or Ruth 01434 673762 / or email:
Joglaresa UK Tour 
Various Dates in December   - UK
Pena Flamenca
Guy Schalom's first tour with UK Medieval music specialists Joglaresa.

Fantasia Festival, London
Sun 14th December 2014   - Kentish Town, London
Guy Schalom and band accompany the Fantasia dance competition.

More information here

London Klezmer Quartet
Tue 2 Dec
LKQ Concert at Benslow
Benslow Music, Little Benslow Hills, Benslow Lane, Hitchin SG4 9RB

Fri 12 Dec
Southbank Centre, London
Central Bar, Royal Festival Hall 

Mon 15 Dec
Hackney, London
Winter Warmer at Pages of Hackney

Sat 20 Dec
Chanukah klezmer ceilidh
To book call 020 8950 0208; 07956 312719 or
Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue (NPLS), Oaklands Gate, Northwood HA6 3AA

All details can be found here

Date: Wed 17th Dec
Location: Café Also
Details here

Date: Sun 21st Dec
Chanukah Live at FRS
Location and contact here

Tue 30th Dec
Shir at Limmud for 3 sessions 
1) Interactive Session
2) Shir In Concert 
3) Shir with Cantor Zoe Jacobs 

Date : Thu 11 Dec
Location: London, LJCC,
Tickets here:

Date: Thu 18 Dec
Location: Maidenhead, Norden Farm Arts Centre
Tickets here

Date: Fri 5th Dec
Location: London, Islington Metal Works
Details here

Date: Sat 6th Dec
Location: Leeds, The Wardrobe
Details here


December on our airwaves

This month we have three features for you to enjoy. We interview the daughter of the Austrian émigré composer Hans Gal, Eva Fox-Gal and also Martin Anderson of Toccata Classics about the launch of the book "Music behind the Barbed Wire." We also interview Central Synagogue Chazan Steven Leas about the International Concert Series at Central Synagogue and we interview Cellist Raphael Wallfisch about his forthcoming concert with Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch at Kings Place early next year. All these podcasts can be heard here